Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bank Holiday in Brecon

Feeling well gutted at having to withdraw from the Birders in Boxers annual May Day Bank Holiday "jolly boys outing" to another bird rich part of the U.K (Norfolk this year) due to work committments I tried to console myself with a weekend with Teresa at our caravan at Llangors Lake near Brecon.
The weather forecast wasn't exactly inspiring and the only bird of note was a drake Garganey on the lake.
We travelled up Friday evening and after a damp start to Saturday the weather perked up in the afternoon and I ventured down to the lake setting myself a target of photographing some Reed and Sedge Warblers,easier said than done as they flit about in the reeds.
Although over-run with numpties the small area of reeds between the boat launch/feral duck area and the Crannog held a small number of singing Reed Warblers which now and again grudgingly gave themselves up to the camera and I managed a few shots.
A distant rumble of thunder from the direction of Pen Y Fan heralded the arrival of heavy rain and after about an hour with the camera I had to take refuge in the Crannog to eventually be rescued by Teresa in the car on her way back from Brecon,that was the end of that for the day.
My life long friend Neil came to visit on Sunday and Neil being a keen walker tempted me out on the Beacons and after just short of 4 hours we had completed "The Horseshoe" starting and finishing at the Lower Neuadd reservoir and taking in the three highest peaks Pen Y fan,Corn Du and Y Gribyn,the rest of the day was spent recovering "nuff said" !!
The forecast for Bank Holiday Monday was encouraging and although concious of the pair of Dotterel found on Sunday at Cwm Cadlan I decided to start my day at Llandefaelog Wood just west of Brecon hoping to photograph Pied Flycatcher and Redstart.
One flyover Redstart which I couldn't locate and no Pied Flycatchers wasn't a great start to the day,I was too slow to get on to a quite close Treecreeper and after a while you get fed up of the obligatory Willow Warblers,Chiffchaffs and Nuthatches although I did manage to get on to a fairly distant Goldcrest as it flitted about.
I checked my mobile and the Dotterel were still at Cwm Cadlan,time to hit the road !!
I'd forgotten my map but after checking directions on my phone pulled up at what I thought had to be the right cattle grid where two other cars were parked.
As I trudged across the moor I met two other birders who turned out to be Mark Hipkin and his dad Charles who pointed me in the right direction and advised that there was still one birder at the site.We hadn't met before and it was good to put faces to the names I recognised from various blogs and sightings pages postings.
The birder turned out to be Rob Mitchell and we watched the Dotterel togethor for about 20 mins before Rob who had already packed away his camera gear decided to move on.
The birds were very confiding and after getting as close as I dare they scuttled to within about 20' of me enabling me to get what turned out to be a few "cracking shots".
I'd never witnessed Dotterel to be so confiding before and in previous years had only been able to "digi-scope" birds from a distance,I had heard that they can be very approachable and now I can believe it.
I hung around for another 20 mins after Rob had departed and then decided to move on to Craig Cerrig Gleissad in the what turned out to be the futile hope of seeing a Ring Ouzel,it was eriely quiet there and having had an early start decided to head back to the caravan.
What started and finished on a quiet note had a real "purple patch" with the Dotterel in between and it's an encounter that I shall long remember.


Dan said...

You realy 'nailed these images' Jeff. That's the correct termnology is it ;-)?

The Dotterel we had at Choseley in in Norfolk over the weekend were nowhere near as good looking as these two. Took Geth up to see this pair last night - yet another lifer for him - and I'll post my crippling photographs for comparison! Bet tyou can't wait!I'm offline at home at the moment, so bear with me.

Wayne said...

Crackers, Jeff. Much better than our pair. Hope its not too long before we see DJJs effort ;-).

Jeff said...

Cheers lads,thanks for your kind comments,they really are confiding birds and a better example of male +female Dotterel you could not wish to see.Congrats Geth on yet another "lifer",the 300 club beckons !!
Glamorgan "tick" for me as well I think(rightly or wrongly I've always assumed Garreg Llwyd is in Powys which is the only other place that I've seen the species).
I can't wait to see Dan's crippling pics(sorry I mean "images") either Wayne !!

Bluebird said...


I just found your blog and clicked mainly because I was intrigued by the name!! But your photographs are amazing - I'm going to spend a couple of hours going through the old posts. A nice way to spend a Saturday morning.