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Wales Day 4

Friday 1st July 2022

Wales - Day 3

Sunday 26th June 2022

Wales - Day 2

Friday 24th June 2022

Wales - Day 1

Friday 17th June 2022

Some new garden visitors

Monday 13th June 2022

Colin

Friday 20th May 2022

A more interesting week.

Monday 16th May 2022

Not much to report

Monday 2nd May 2022

Frampton Marsh RSPB - again

Wednesday 20th April 2022

Cley Marshes NWT Norfolk

Thursday 31st March 2022

A trip to the Brecks

Tuesday 15th March 2022

A lifer

Monday 28th February 2022

Back to the Norfolk coast

Friday 18th February 2022

West Suffolk for a change

Thursday 17th February 2022

Failure followed by success.

Saturday 5th February 2022

What a week for good weather.

Saturday 22nd January 2022

The beginning of a new year

Friday 14th January 2022

Final post for 2021

Friday 31st December 2021

Lakenheath Fen RSPB Suffolk

Monday 13th December 2021

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Friday 1st July 2022

Wales Day 4

Sunday 5th June, still in the Rhayader area, starting off back at Gilfach Farm NR but the Wood Warblers just did not play ball. Weather was cloudy and showery so not surprising.

Just one photo from there was a Song Thrush singing it's heart out in the rain - distant but worth a shot anyway.

We drove to the Elan valley but nothing was really showing and it was rarther too dark for comfort among the trees anyway.

We had booked a session in the tower hide at Gigrin Farm, the Red Kite feeding station, for the afternoon. Choosing the tower hide was an inspiration as it was still cloudy and dull although not raining. Any lower hide would have meant shooting upwards into a grey sky - one of my real dislikes but at the height we were, we could keep the field and surrounding trees in the background - much more attractive.

After they dive down to pick the food from the ground, they feed on the wing.

One of the highlights was a leucistic bird - one that has no colour in the plumage - but still a very attractive bird and the first of this species I have seen.

Sorting out the 2500 or so shots has been a real challenge but, overall, I was pleased with them.

After that, it was all downhill. We left Rhayader to  drive to Cwmbran for some sessions in a woodland hide and night-time shots of Tawny Owls. Not to be. The first night there were few visits by the Owls and I did not manage one successful shot.

During the night, I could feel an infection coming on so we had to drive home early for me to urgently get some antibiotics. What a disappointment for us both.

Still, come the Autumn, we intend to go back to Cwmbran and hope that it will be more successful.

 

 

Sunday 26th June 2022

Wales - Day 3

Now the 4th June - my birthday. Was there anything that will make a good present?

First a trip back to South Stack RSPB to see if the Choughs would be any more amenable. No!!! only possiblity were long distant flight shots over the sea.

It soon got very busy again - well it was a bank holiday Saturday - so we started the journey south to Rhayader in mid Wales. This is where the BMW satnav got too clever for itself. The normal and direct route would be through Snowdonia but it picked up heavy traffic so redirected us off to the west. What a round about route that was - it took us 41/2 hours to do a 21/2 hour journey. The comments we made are unrepeatable here!!!

Anyway, approaching Rhayader, we realised that we were about to pass Gilfach Farm NR so we called in. This was one of our target sites for Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Wood Warbler, all species that are rare in Cambridgeshire.

We stopped at the hide and found a very pale-looking Nuthatch feeding young in the nestbox opposite. Not one of the target species but who can resist an opportunity for something different.

and even bringing in to the nestling a very odd insect - no idea what it was but it seemd too large for the chick but it successfully took it.

There were Dippers nesting under the bridge but too dark for a shot.

So we moved up to the top car park and started to unpack our tripods. A local then informed us that they were not allowed on the reserve because, a few years earlier, a child on a school trip tripped over a tripod, grazed her knees with damages awarded against the trust. Unbelievable? Most certainly.

Also, at my last visit several years ago, people were putting out mealworms to attract the birds with excellent photographic results. Artificial feeding has also been banned because, we were informed, some years ago, some Dutch photographers fed the birds with dried mealworms, not live ones. They were fed by the parents to the nestlings that died due to dehydration. That is understandable but I cannot help but think that whoever made that decision missed a trick by insisting that only live food bought on the premises could be used - control and revenue for the Trust but that is thinking outside the box.

Anyway, the local was amazing. He took us to an area off the beaten track and sat us down near a nestbox occupied by Pied Flycatchers. The male was very active

with just the odd appearance by the female.

He then showed us where Redstarts can appear - not as successful but still a couple of shots.

He also told us where to find Wood Warblers so we resolved to return in the morning.

We then left to check into our B & B for the nest two nights.

Friday 24th June 2022

Wales - Day 2

Since day 1 at South Stack RSPB was not entirely successful due to the hoards of people, we started off day 2 at 8.30 am in the car park, hoping for more luck. Weather was cloudy with occasional breaks of sunshine so with nothing showing around the car park we walked to Ellin's Tower which was closer to the cliffs.

Loads of Guillemots and Razorbills but too distant to photograph but there was good views of the lighthouse. A pro photographer once said that you should envisage an image and then try your best to get it. My image was a gull floating over the lighthouse, all in sharp focus - patience finally rewarded.

So it is only a Herring Gull but you get the idea!!!

We then moved round to the lighthouse steps - all 400 of them if we had gone to the bottom (which we didn't but still most of them). The only reward was a distant Chough with young.

By mid morning it was getting very busy again, so we moved further along the coast to Cemlyn Bay. This was amazing with a wide shingle spit into the sea enclosing a lagoon with a couple of islands and a colony of nesting Terns. The weather continued from the morning but with a strong off-sea breeze to add to the problems.

The birds were slightly too distant for comfort so  a 2x conveter was required for the islands, not ideal with a strong breeze. There was the odd Arctic tern flying past to feed in the bay behind us

but the main colony was Sandwich Terns - hundreds of them, flying past us to the bay and then returning to feed the mates sitting on the nest in the foliage.

They were slower flying out into the wind but keeping very low to the ground and the sea but returning at speed with the wind behind them - a real test of my reaction speed.

Once, something spooked them, putting most into the air.

and other were quietly bathing

and then drying out.

Anyway, a very enjoyable afternoon - more photos in the Recent Additions section.

Friday 17th June 2022

Wales - Day 1

Three weeks without a posting but I have an excuse. A long weekend in Munich for family reasons and shortly after, a weeks' trip to Wales that was unfortunately cut short as I had an infection so had to come home early for some antibiotics. A common problem for me up to three years ago bit not since so very odd.

Anyway, Thursday 2nd June and a friend and I headed towards Anglesey in North Wales with the main aim being to photograph Choughs. We went there pre-Covid and the north of the island was covered in fog so not very successful and that was the only time for me.

The day we went was the first day of the Jubilee bank holiday and the whole area was overrun with people, cars, dogs, you name it. Weather was cloudy but the first to show was a Herring Gull - common enough but worth excercising the trigger finger for after such a long drive.

Before the target birds appeared, there were a couple of Ravens quartering the cliffs around the lighthouse

and then a fly-by Chough.

Then, around the RSPB car park, after it had thinned out a little, we found a more approachable bird, apparently named Ivan by the local wardens.

Not the best photos I have ever taken but sometimes we have to be grateful for small mercies!!!

Then to Holyhead to check in at the Premier Inn for a couple of nights.

Monday 13th June 2022

Some new garden visitors

It has been a while since my last post . Having been away for some days during the last three weeks, I walked into our sunlounge around 07:30am to see a pair of Stock Doves under my garden feeders.

In my experience, Stock Doves are very shy birds. Very difficult to approach, even in the countryside, so it would be a total surprise if I was able to open my patio doors to try to get a decent shot without shooting through double glazed windows.

Anyway, I got the camera and carefully opened the doors. They looked at me and carried on feeding. What a bonus so I managed a good number of shots before they departed. Early morning light superb.

I have lived in this house since 1985 and have never had Stock Doves visiting. A real delight.