Thursday, December 30, 2010

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings and wishing all our readers a great birding 2011 from Jeff,Dan,Wayne,Tim,Kevin and "The Twitchmeister".
Snowman by "The Twitchmeister":Image by Dan.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Big Freeze

Had a few hours out on my own today with the camera calling into Parc Slip,Kenfig Pool and Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir before heading for home.
Robin on reeds:Parc Slip NR
Water Rail through the reeds:Parc Slip NR
Greater Scaup:Eglwys Nunydd
Goldeneye:Eglwys Nunydd

Monday, December 20, 2010

Birds in the Garden

It's a little difficult to get nice crisp shots through the kitchen window when its chucking it down with snow, but here's proof that I get birds in my garden. Goldfinch on Purple Loosestrife

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Llanishen "Berryfest"

After taking Teresa to M&S at Culverhouse Cross I couldn't resist the temptation of calling over to Llanishen and caught up with 50-60 Waxwings and literally hundreds of Redwings in Fishguard Road this afternoon,almost got my head knocked off as well by a marauding Sparrowhawk !!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ogmore Estuary

After a bit of a lay-in this morning and with the main road down the valley just about passable in places after the heavy snow I headed out at mid-day down to Ogmore-By-Sea,I phoned Peter Morgan on the way down and met him at Broadlands in Bridgend where he was having a stroll around looking for Waxwings.
We soon arrived at a snowy Ogmore and the river was teeming with birds all trying to find some food in the harsh conditions.
Common Teal were plentiful and the usual group of Goldeneye were also around,plenty of gulls and a few waders including Ringed Plover,Dunlin,Lapwing (there were several hundred down river),Snipe and Redshank.There was also a female Goosander further down river,one of several that have been wintering for the past couple of months.

We moved on towards Southerndown parking at West Farm and walked across towards the car park in the hope of finding the topically named Snow Bunting that had recently been reported from there.

Plenty of Meadow Pipits,Skylarks,winter thrushes and in the distance over the fields a good size flock of Lapwings and another of Curlew with a lone Grey Heron passing through.

A fly through Peregrine was a fine sight but try as we did we couldn't locate the Snow Bunting.

With the light starting to fade I dropped Peter in Bridgend and got home in time to see the Ospreys put one over on Munster in their Heineken Cup pool match with an awesome scrummaging display !!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bittern by the bug !!

I must admit that I can't wait for the weekends to come around to get out with the camera and today after bumping into each other down at Kenfig last Sunday myself and fellow bird photographer Peter Morgan from Bridgend joined forces for a day out with the cameras.
We met up at Kenfig at first light on a mission to firstly photograph the Bitterns that have been putting on a good performance in the reed channels in front of the South pool hide.
We didn't have to wait for long as the first Bittern put in an appearance after about 10 minutes.
We watched and fired off shots until the first bird had disappeared into the reeds when from our left another bird arrived and started performing equally well on the iced over water.
As the second bird stolled up the middle channel it was met with the first bird coming out of the reeds and a bit of a spat occurred with one of the birds not fancying the aggro and flying off !!
Not long after the second bird flew off and within a short time yet another bird popped out of the reedbed to give superb views,unfortunately the weather wasn't performing as well as the Bitterns and with plenty of cloud cover the light was poor to say the least.

The third bird disappeared and the action quietenned down considerably and so we decided to push on and head for Monknash to see if we could relocate and photograph the Glossy Ibis.

We dropped off Peter's car in Bridgend and called in on the way to Ogmore By Sea only to find a high tide and not an awful lot of interest,we called in to a couple of locations hoping for Little Owl but were out of luck.

Next stop was Dunraven where we hoped we may come across a Black Redstart but the only bird of note was an obliging Kestrel perched on a fence post at the side of the road down to the car park.

We pushed on to Monknash and bumped into Paul Denning who confirmed he hadn't come across the Ibis,we soon found the stream it had been feeding in and walked the length of three fields but to no avail.

We came across a Green Sandpiper,Water Rail,a fly over Little Egret and a couple of Grey Wagtails plus a selection of the more common birds.

We bumped into another birder who had walked the entire length of the stream as far as the beach and he confirmed that the Ibis was no longer around.

We moved on to have a look for possible Black Redstart and Snow Bunting at Nash Point but a pleasant walk over past the lighthouse and back failed to locate either species.

With the light starting to fade we made a fruitless visit to the rocks adjacent the car park at Ogmore in the hope of Purple Sandpiper but both they and the usual Turnstones had by the look of it popped over to feed on Tusker Rocks.

A final call in to Portobello Island gave good views of plenty of Teal,lots of gulls,a Goosander and a nice group of twenty or so Goldeneye on the river.

With the light fading we called it a day and after dropping Peter off at his home in Bridgend I "headed for the hills",we had both enjoyed a good day out,it could have turned out better if the Ibis had still been around as well as our other target birds,with the benefit of hindsight we may have been better off going for the now large number of Waxwings in and around Cardiff,but that's birding for you !!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It's cold out there.......!!

With Dan working this a.m and both Wayne and Kev struggling to get out of their iced up streets in the Rhondda I went it alone (again !!) and headed first thing for the Heath area of Cardiff where a flock of two dozen plus Waxwings had been seen yesterday.
There haven't been the vast numbers (yet !!) that were seen in 2004/2005 but they are steadily inceasing as the invasion spreads south and west and my mission this weekend was to try and photograph these very photogenic and approachable birds.
I found my way to St Ina Road in the Heath area of Cardiff and pulled up at the same time as an arriving John Wilson.
We were soon joined by Gary Welsby and Maurice Chown and whilst we did a circuit of the neighbouring streets Phil Bristow joined us.
At the end of St Isan Road a male Sparrowhawk perched obligingly on a chimney scanning the area for prey and I managed a half decent shot.

As we walked on Mike Powell arrived and informed us that Phil had seen a few Waxwings fly over into St Dennis Road which we quickly found,the birds were perching in a Eucalyptus tree in the rear garden of a house in St Isan Road and we soon discovered that the birds were visiting a white berried Rowan Tree in the front garden of 13,St Isan Road.

Although the tree was on the shady side of the street so the light wasn't brilliant the birds offered themselves up for some reasonable record images.

The light wasn't going to improve and following a phone call from Richard Smith who had managed to get some "crippling" images of Bittern at Kenfig Pool I decided to give the Lesser Scaup at Cardiff Bay a miss and head west for Kenfig.

I arrived at the south pool hide at about 1.15pm to be greeted by both Richard and Peter Morgan and within minutes a flyover Bittern appeared,unfortunately I was still setting up my gear and missed it.

Shortly after a different Bittern appeared in one of the frozen channels and walked gingerly across the ice from one patch of reed to another allowing a somewhat distant and heavily cropped record shot.

After a little flurry of activity things quietenned down for an hour or so until another Bittern made a flyover and this time I managed to get on to the bird for a couple of reasonable record shots.

Unfortunately the bird was flying away instead of coming towards the hide !!

The three of us then decided as the light was fading we would finish the day by having a look over in the dunes for a Short-Eared Owl but on this occasion we were out of luck.

With the sun setting and the temperature starting to fall even further we decided to call it a day and head for home.

I'd thoroughly enjoyed my day out,I'd got some reasonable pics of Waxwings and a few record shots of Bittern which I would like another go at, if the weather stays cold I may make another visit next weekend.