Monday, 15 August 2011

Lleyn Peninsular

We took a weeks family break at Hafan-Y-Mor on the southern Lleyn Peninsular last week and apart from it being a truly family orientated holiday (Horseriding, boating, Steam trains, archery............) I managed to find loads of goodies in the area, the benefit of getting up early!

At the holiday park where we were staying I happened to meet a couple of chaps undertaking some environmental consultancy work on site, monitoring the pipistrelle bat population, after giving them a helping hand one night trying to locate roosting locations, they showed me a Lesser Horseshoe Bat roost site, this is a first for me, and I managed to get brilliant views of them around the park and the boating lake; one particular night we saw two or three at really close range moving in and out of their roosting site and fluttering around us under the street lights, and a couple of times dropping to the ground to catch moths! Apart from the Lesser Horseshoes and the Common Pipistrelles, Noctules could be seen at dusk along the coast at the same site.

There was a steady stream of migrants moving through Hafan-Y-Mor during the week; Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge warbler, Swift, nothing incredibly rare yet good to see. During the evening good numbers of Manx Shearwater (up to 200 one evening)could be seen gathering in the bay as well as regular Gannets, Shags, and up to 200 Sandwich Terns feeding young.

I managed to catch a glimpse of a couple of Adders over the week near the headland on the site, but being well into the afternoon they didn't hang around and disappeared into the Bracken covered slopes; judging by the amount of numbered roofing felt mats commonly used for surveying work in the area there must be a decent local population.

Also nearby I was lucky enough to find Otter Straints (nearest I got to the real thing on the trip). There is a good local population now but are still almost totally nocturnal, but as I was informed they do now venture out from nearby rivers to scavenge and hunt along this popular stretch of coastline under the cover of darkness.

In the cliffs above the beach on the site Sand Martins where still breeding, definitely a second brood maybe even a third, and Eels where feeding on bread in the boating lake........very strange indeed!

Lastly I found good numbers of Broad Leaved Helleborine in the woodland on the site, and one other Helleborine which I am struggling to ID, which was flowering with the Broad Leaves yet was very different ...... check out the photos below......any ideas? Something different or just a very strange Broad Leaved Helleborine?

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