Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Which do you prefer,Stork or butter"

Showing my age with that title !!
Had a week off work over the Whitsun Bank Holiday and couldn't have picked a worse one for weather unless I fancied sea-watching in driving rain which I didn't.
The foul weather prevented us from going up to the caravan until Friday 8.June and I thought that I would make a bit of a detour on our way and try to catch up with the four White Storks that had shown up a couple of days previously in Dingestow,Gwent just off the A40 following their tour of various parts of the UK over several weeks.
Although I've seen hundreds on the continent White Stork is a species that I hadn't caught up with in the UK despite a couple of attempts including the bird just north of Neath last year.
I got directions from Mark Hipkin who had visited in the morning and after a few phone calls including one to Steve "The Wader" Hinton eventually found the field that the birds had been favouring for feeding.
There were no other birders around and the birds were also conspicuous by their absence,I drove the back lanes around the surrounding fields and spent time scanning but to no avail.
An hour and a half had passed and I was just about to call it a day when I caught sight of the birds in flight and they appeared to land in one of the fields across the main road from their "regular" field.
I set off (foolishly without my camera !) in pursuit and found the four storks in a small field at the side of the turn off from the main road into Dingestow village,whilst they were tolerant of passing vehicles as soon as they glimpsed me they took to the air and landed again in the opposite field but luckily only about 35m from the boundary hedge which would give me some cover.
I retrieved my camera from the Jeep and leaving Teresa having a snooze I sidled into one of the small gaps in the hedgerow and just managed a brief burst of shots before the birds sensed me again and took flight.
The birds seemed reluctant to land again and circled for around 20 mins before disappearing out of view in an easterly direction.
I'd briefly by the skin of my teeth managed a couple of ground shots and then spent the time that the birds were still in range getting a selection of flight shots some of which I was quite pleased with.
After a very slow start the afternoon had finally come together,a UK "tick" and some reasonably decent photos in the can,I was one happy "togger" as I drove the remainder of the trip up to the caravan.
I had been contemplating giving Friday afternoon a miss and going for the birds on Saturday morning,glad I didn't as they had disappeared by early morning and were seen in flight over the M4/M5 junction near Bristol mid-morning and have since visited North Wales and settled again briefly on the Somerset Levels.


Dan said...

Great series of shots Jeff. I missed them because we were 'stuck' in mid-Wales during 'that storm'. Would have been a Wales tick for me an a lifer for Geth.

Congratulations on getting two of these images on BirdGuides' Review of the Week!

Jeff said...

Cheers Dan,we could always pop over to Somerset for them and get the breeding GWE at the same time ??!!.........
It was a superb sight seeing four together.

Wayne said...

Definitely not white white bin liner or scarecrow, Dan!