Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Night Heron : Cosmeston CP, Penarth

Not often I miss out on news of a rarity but having decided to have a non-birding morning last Sunday 18th June followed mid afternoon and evening accompanying Teresa to see two of her favourites Michael Ball and Alfie Boe in concert at Eastnor Castle near Ledbury just over the border. There was no mobile signal for the duration so I didn't pick up the info until night time.
Luckily the bird was reported the following day on Monday and I made a mad dash after work on a very hot and sticky evening being greeted on arrival at the bridge between the east and west lakes by Steve Hinton, Colin Harvey, Wayne Strong, Matt Evans, Mark Dutfield, Nicola Johns and a few other birders that I didn't know.
The bird was present but was skulking as Night Herons do in a tree on the edge of the west lake where it stayed for most of my time there, it flew from one tree to another and then over the bridge to settle low in another tree halfway along the northern shore of the east lake opposite the cafe'.
I only managed a handful of pretty average shots but was glad just to see the bird which was a county 'tick' for me, I'm glad that I made the effort as it wasn't seen yesterday or today and may have departed.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Rose-coloured Starling : Gowerton

I was rather intrigued at the lack of reports of the adult Rose-coloured Starling that had been reported coming to feeders in a garden of a property adjacent Cedar Close in Gowerton and having spoken to a few local birders who couldn't confirm any positive news I decided to head west and check out the bird for myself late morning today.
Arriving at the close I bumped into Alan Blackley from Newport who reported that the bird was feeding in the garden of a property adjacent the rear of 16, Cedar Close and was coming up on to the fence between the properties and showing well, what a stroke of luck !!
Alan accompanied myself to the property and the young couple who owned the bungalow kindly granted us access and I managed to get a few nice shots of the stunning adult bird.....

The bird disappeared for a while and then reappeared in a large oak adjacent the garden.....

I decided to leave but first thought that I'd stroll down the main road to try and find the garden that the bird was feeding in, at the bottom of the drive the owner spotted me and without hesitation invited me into the garden, showed me the feeders and allowed me the freedom of the garden, the bird returned to feed a couple more times and I managed a few more shots.........

I've seen a few Rosy Starlings previously but never had such great views, one happy 'togger' !!

Grasshopper Warbler : Maesteg Golf Course

Whilst out walking Pearl my dog late Thursday evening across Maesteg Golf Course I came across a very vocal and unusually showy Grasshopper Warbler so being heading west to Gowerton for the Rose - coloured Starling today I thought I'd check out the site and found that the bird was still holding territory and showing well.
Dodging golf balls I managed to get a few shots that I was really pleased with......

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nightjars : Cwm Kenfig, Llangynwyd

After a fruitless wait for the Purple Heron earlier in the day at Kenfig NNR I decided to make a late evening first visit of Spring to my local Nightjar site in the hope that the birds are still using the site.
I was a little dubious as since last year the sapling firs have now grown to 5 - 6' and a lot of Willow scrub has grown around the margins.
Nevertheless I managed to see and just about photograph a male and female bird and may have had a third bird on the way back to the car, don't be fooled by the brightness of the images as the first bird didn't appear until 9.40pm and most of the shots were taken at 10,000 - 16,000 ISO the camera being barely able to auto-focus..........

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Red - Footed Falcon : Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire

 A bird that has eluded me for many years is Red - Footed Falcon mainly because I've not been prepared to travel for one, so when a stonking full adult male bird unexpectedly turned up at Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire a couple of days ago I just had to go for it.
A phone call to Kevin Hughes on Friday evening had us arranging to meet at Junc 36 Sarn Services on the M4 at 6.00am this morning and with myself at the wheel and very little traffic on the roads we rocked up at Strumble Head at 7.30am.
The first birder we came across was local Richard Stonier who told us that he had been there since 5.00am with no sign of the bird, our hearts sunk !!
We drove a little further and came across Simon and Peter Murray from my part of the world who were trying to attract Richard's attention having found the bird sat in the hedgerow at the side of the narrow access lane, result !!!
We parked up in the small car park near the sea watching shelter and made our way back to the bird's location, the five of us got great views of the fabulous small falcon showing down to 25' allowing me to come away with images that I was 'over the moon' with................

We had expected a bigger crowd for a Saturday morning and a steady trickle of birders started to arrive including Adrian Meredith, Alan Cripps and fellow 'togger' Colin Harvey.
Just before the lads arrived the bird had flown to the next field and having been airborne for a few minutes disappeared behind a hedge.
We walked down with the lads to where the bird had disappeared and despite a thorough search the bird hasn't been seen again today since 9.20am, we were so lucky that we got there at the time we did !!
We left the others searching and headed for Fishguard Harbour hoping to connect with Black Guillemot, we bumped into old friend Cliff Benson near his beloved Ocean Lab and he offered us a lift over to the ferry terminal to which he has access and we found one bird on the water, nice one Cliff !!
With mission accomplished we headed for home arriving back at Sarn at about 1.00pm, a 'lifer' for me with some great photos and two year 'ticks' for Kevin, happy days as they say.