Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grey Phalarope:Eglwys Nunnydd

On the evening of Mon 13.Sept a Grey Phalarope was found by George Morgan which if it stayed the following day would be a great photo opportunity,unfortunately the forecast for Tuesday was a total washout and so it proved until late in the day.
It stopped raining in Maesteg at about 17.00 and upon leaving work the skies were brightenning from the west,would I have enough time to get over to Eglwys and was the bird even there,it hadn't been reported during the day ? (that's another story and we won't go there !!)
The light wasn't too bad as I arrived but it was a little on the windy side with a stiff westerley breeze,I "kerb-crawled" in the Jeep as close to the barrier as I could but couldn't see the bird where it had been previously reported from and so I drove down as far as the locked gate and scanned down towards the jetties,still no sign.
Rob Taylor arrived shortly after I did and whilst I scanned down past the jetties he decided to double back and recheck.
There were some terns over the water and I picked out some Blacks and Commons and just as I passed the jetties walking back one surprized me by landing on the concrete apron of the reservoir.
I used the barrier for cover and managed a few shots,the bird appeared settled and so I thought I'd push my luck and leg it over the barrier,I was amazed how confiding the bird was and it let me approach to about 12' enabling me to get some lovely shots before taking to the air.

I thought initially that it was a Common Tern but it turned out to be an Arctic Tern,must be more critical with my ID in future (we won't go there either !!)

I was well pleased with the performance of the tern and drove back up to the first bay where the phalarope had re-appeared and Rob was happily snapping away with his big Canon 500mm.

The bird was picking it's way along the concrete apron and I managed a few shots from the road,with these birds having a reputation for being so tame I thought I'd give it a go legging it over the barrier again and down on to the concrete apron.

The tiny bird was not in the least bothered and both myself and Rob were able to get plenty of good shots,at one time it came within 3' of me and for a lot of the time it was too close to focus !!

The bird picked it's way along the shore until it came to a family of Mute Swans when it turned and took to the water enabling us to get a couple of "swim" shots.
What a way to end a totally miserable day,one of the best hour and a quarter's birding I've had and I'm certainly glad I made the effort.


Rob said...

Nice shots Jeff,look forward to the Lapland Bunting pics!

Jeff said...

Cheers Rob,nice to have your's and Phil's company for an hour yesterday,just posted the bunting pics.

Wayne said...

Nice shots again. Light is interesting on Phalarope. Looks ginger in a few.