Sunday, August 14, 2016

Waders : Crymlyn Burrows

Made my first visit of late Summer/Autumn to Crymlyn Burrows just west of the River Neath this afternoon in the hope of a few passage waders.
High tide was at 4.18pm and I arrived an hour before to find local birder Rob Jones scanning through the Ringed Plovers with a small supporting cast of Dunlin, there was nothing much else of interest to enthuse over and the grey overcast conditions were not exactly great for photography, the birds were always wary and difficult to get close to but I managed a few 'record' shots.
Hopefully there will be better to come over the next couple of months........

Sunday, August 07, 2016


Yesterday evening I was invited along to a "badgerwatch" with good friend and fellow "togger" Richard Smith, we had high hopes that the fine weather would hold but by the time we were in position drizzle had moved in and we were both shooting at a high ISO as the light started to fade, the badgers didn't disappoint though and the most we had out in the open at one time was eight..........

We were also fortunate to have a small group of Fallow Deer visit the badger area and although the frightened badgers retreated to their sett the visit provided a nice photo opportunity in the gloom.......

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Squacco Heron : Watermill Flood, Ogmore

Whilst having a lay-in on the morning of Sun 29th May a "grapevine" text alerted me to a Squacco Heron found at the Watermill Flood, Ogmore by Sea which has turned up some good birds over the years, 45 minutes later I was breezing into the pub car park where by now several birders were admiring the rare heron.
This was a bird that I had been longing to catch up with having missed out seeing one with Dan and Wayne several years ago down near Newton Abbot, it was a county, Wales, and UK "tick" so a bird not to be missed.
Not a "lifer" though as I had seen the species in Cyprus several years ago.
I unpacked my camera gear and took up a position at the fence at the back of the car park moving on to the fenceline along the main road a little later as the bird moved along the edge of the flood.
The bird was always a little distant and nobody feared to encroach in case they flushed it, all I and others were able to get were some "record" shots.......

I "filled my boots" with the bird as they say and headed for home with a plan to return in the evening when most who wanted to see the bird had already seen it and with less people about a close approach may be possible.
A beer festival meant that the pub was very busy but there were only a few birders/toggers present one being Martin Bailey-Wood who it was good to catch up with and chat to, I asked the remaining birders if I could make a close approach and managed to get down to the flood with the cover of the line of trees in the field.
I peered through some brambles unseen by the bird and rattled off a dozen shots before some clown with all the fieldcraft of a herd of stampeding elephants who had followed me down to the trees stepped across a gap in the trees to my left and the bird immediately took flight and backed off to the far side of the flood, furious just doesn't come in to it !!

Having got the above two shots I was convinced that I could "nail" the bird and so got up at 3.15am the following morning and under cover of darkness was perched on my stool inside a hide nestled in the trees adjacent the flood, unfortunately for me and others who had turned up on the Bank Holiday Monday the bird had decided to move on in the night and was never seen again, a typical "one dayer" !!
From my hide I would have really "nailed" the bird and was bitterly disappointed that despite my best efforts the bird had moved on, never mind, there's always next time.

A visit to the Dyfi Osprey Project.........

On the morning of Sat 14th May I attended a family funeral in Aberystwyth and so afterwards took the opportunity of making a mid-afternoon visit to see the Ospreys at their nest site in Machynlleth which was only a 25 minute drive north of Aberystwyth.
Leaving Teresa having forty winks in the car I made my way along the boardwalk to the hugely impressive observation tower.
This was my first visit having promised myself to do it for the last few years, the weather was warm and sunny if a little too sunny for photography with heat haze and the westerly aspect of the nest from the tower.
It is also too far away for meaningful photography and although I hoped that one of the birds would pass close by having caught a fish I had no such luck.
All images are therefore "record" shots of the three birds present, the breeding pair and another female........

The last photo shows the male bird bringing in a piece of tree branch to continue the process of nest maintenance.
It's a long drive on not the best of roads to get to the project site from home and given the "hit and miss" chance of getting good photos it's something I would have to seriously think about.
From a photography point of view one of the fish farms near Rutland Water is probably a better option although obviously much more costly.
Having said that the set up there is superb and the volunteer staff are so friendly and informative, it is a credit to the Montgomery Wildlife Trust.