27 October 2012


Kathy and I had spent the morning of 27th October at St Davids Hd and dropped in to Heathfield GP on our way home hoping for something interesting since having seen more ducks than usual at Penberi Reservoir. It was still and bright, ideal conditions. We viewed the pit from the south side and Kathy headed back to the gate and the car. I continued round to the west to check out that area which has been productive in the past. Nothing. On a slightly weary trudge back to the car I vaguely heard a distant disyllabic ‘too-eet’ call which I didn’t recognise. I got enough energy together to head off in that direction and from on or near  the concrete parking area a bird flew up, much closer now and calling repeatedly. I instantly recognised the now fully heard call and grilled the bird as it flew off east, taking its time about it, before disappearing from view. I did not see the bird on the ground only in flight.

The call registered as a soft disyllabic ‘too-eet’ when heard from a distance and not really concentrating. When I was closer and it called repeatedly it was a more rolling (very attractive) call which I tried to transcribe in my notebook as  I walked away. I wrote it down as: ‘tirillee-eep’. The bird rose rather vertically and did not fly off really strongly so I got time to really get a good look at it. The flight pattern was rather bouncy, rather than direct.

The wings were clearly broad and rather rounded and the tail noticeably short giving a very distinctive flight silhouette. The bird was pale below and I got a general impression of warm brown rather than colder greyish tones.
I didn't see the white tips to tail but I could see that the outer tail feathers were paler than the central ones. The impression was of a lack of uniformity.

I watched the bird for a couple of minutes I suppose, till it disappeared over trees to the east. Really, really enjoyable.

Woodlarks are less than annual in Pembs.

Woodlarks in Pembrokeshire since 2000

Strumble Hd  21st October 2002  (MYP)
Porth Clais  26th October 2003  (PKG AR OR)
Bosherston 11th December 2005 (DJA)
Skomer 1st November 2010  (DB)
Heathfield GP 27th October 2012  (MYP)
St David's Hd 24th October 2013  (MYP)

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