Sunday, March 08, 2015

"Portraits" from the last couple of weekends (aka stuff that got too close and more than filled the frame)

Little Bunting at Forest Farm, Cardiff
Jay and Water Rail at Parc Slip NR, Tondu, Bridgend

Gulls Galore !!

After a weekend off for the rugby last week I was hoping that the juvenile Glaucous Gull found recently at Porthcawl would still be around and popped down early yesterday Sat 7th March hoping to get some photos of the bird on a sunny and mild spring morning.
It took me a while to find the bird and after checking the gulls on Salt Lake car park and at the harbour I eventually found the bird on the beach, it had probably been loafing with a large group of gulls on the sea but it was difficult to scan them with only bins looking straight into the bright sunlight.
The bird allowed a reasonable approach and I managed a few nice shots......
I moved on then to Cardiff Bay meeting friend and fellow "togger" Richard Smith on the way and after parking at the Ice Rink we walked the western bank of the River Taff in search of the Bonaparte's and Little Gull and also the three Goosanders which have been giving great views.
We found the Little Gull about 200m up from the road bridge and although always a little distant we both managed to get some "record" shots......
The Goosanders were a little more obliging and came in reasonably close to the river bank allowing Richard and myself to get some shots that we were both pleased with........
Although the Bonaparte's Gull eluded us it was great to be out on such a beautiful Spring day and the other birds seen and photographed made up for our "dip".

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Little Bunting : Forest Farm NR, Cardiff

A Little Bunting was found at Forest Farm on Thurs 5th February 2015 by Mike Powell and Dave "Jake" Gilmore (great find lads) checking out the site following a report of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker visiting the feeders near the old farm buildings, this as you can imagine caused a lot of local excitement and in the couple of days since being discovered has been well visited by birders and "toggers".
I had hoped that the bird would stay until the weekend giving me the chance to get some photographs and the bird duly obliged !!
I had arranged to meet up with fellow birder and "togger" friend Steve Wilce from Bwlch, Nr Brecon yesterday morning and we both arrived at the hide at 07.20 and found the bird quickly at 07.30 feeding in the grassy well seeded area in front of the hide, the bird was showing as closely as 10' allowing us both to get some pleasing images..........

As time went on the hide started to fill, fellow "Maestegi" Paul Parsons, Matyn Hnatiuk, Colin Gittins and Paul Tabor arrived followed by Mike Cram and fellow "Boxers" Dan and Gethin J-J, Adrian Hopkins could also not resist the temptation.

We filled our boots for a couple of hours and after an abortive visit to the "Kingfisher" hide where the pool was frozen and the only birds to show were a Common Snipe and a distant Water Rail we decided to pop up to nearby Forest Ganol hoping to catch up with the wintering Hawfinches.
No sooner had we arrived about 15 birds flew over in small groups of 2-4 but they were always high in the trees and we both only managed a couple of "record" shots against the horrible white/grey sky which is almost impossible to expose against........

Richard Smith caught up with us and after Steve had decided to head back North to home myself and "Smudger" decided to have another look at the Little Bunting this after a quick bite at the local McDonalds for myself, I was hoping to get a shot of the bunting perched up and fair play to the bird it performed as requested.........

Whilst watching the bunting a Treecreeper flew on to a close tree allowing a couple of shots......

Myself and Richard managed a few more shots and then decided to call it a day, what a stunning little bird and a great find by Mike and "Jake".


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Firecrest : Ogmore - by - Sea

Thought I'd get out this morning and attempt to photograph the Firecrest found on Friday near the sewage works.
My plan was to find it quickly and then move on to Sker and catch up with the recently arrived Glaucous Gull, how wrong can you get it !!
I parked up at Candleston car park and begrudgingly emptied my loose change into the pay and display machine and arrived just up from the bridge where the bird had been previously seen after a 10 minute walk through the dunes.
I scanned the brambles and the trees behind for a distance of about 100m up from the bridge having been told that the bird was quite mobile and elusive and after about 15 mins two other birders turned up who just happened to be Steve Hinton and Alun Hughes.
We split up and searched for a couple of hours before Alun had to leave and Steve eventually found the bird in trees about 300m up from the bridge and about 100m up from where I was searching.
To say that the bird was difficult to photograph would be an enormous understatement, it's continuous flitting between the shade and bright light made things really tricky.
We both managed a few shots before the bird disappeared and we decided to call it a day, I had arrived at Ogmore at 9.30am and now it was 2.30pm, where had the time gone ?
We had both put in a "good shift" but it was worth it to get some images even if they weren't quite up to the standard I had hoped for.
My plan of quickly getting the Firecrest and then moving on for the Glaucous Gull had gone up in smoke, hopefully the gull may hang around for a while and provide me with another chance.
Then again I may have another go for the Firecrest, us "toggers" are never satisfied !!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Out and about" in Cardiff......

Myself and fellow "togger" Peter "Pedro" Morgan enjoyed a day out around Cardiff today starting off mid-morning at Fforest Ganol where we "dipped" on the Hawfinches (found shortly after by John Wilson), we then called in to Forest Farm where a female Kingfisher performed superbly for us.
We finished off the day at Cardiff Bay where the male Black Redstart showed well at Penarth Marina and then moved on to the barrage where we were lucky to find the Great Northern Diver which also showed well before moving out further into the bay.....