Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Short-eared Owl - Ginst Point, Laugharne, Carms : 24th March 2024

I visited Ginst Point near Laugharne a few times in November + December 2023 for the Short-eared Owls that were there in numbers and showing well but had not visited in 2024.

The numbers are now well down on what they were in the recent Winter period and I believe that there are now only two present and they will probably move on to their breeding grounds shortly.

Teresa had her own car with her so made her own way home whilst I did a detour to our normal route by heading down the A478 to St Clears and on to Laugharne.

Upon arrival at the dilapidated Corran buildings I was greeted by Tommy and Jen Evans who I have got to know and who had arrived there about an hour earlier than myself, there were also another couple there that I did not recognise but they were not particularly talkative.

I parked up in a favourable position and watched the hunting field from the comfort of my car, the light was starting to fail and at 5.50pm I glanced in my rear view mirror to see a 'Shortie' heading towards the hunting field.

I leapt out of the car and headed further down the lane and proceeded to get some shots of the bird quartering the rough pasture field.

It then disappeared around the corner of a large stone wall and out of view, as I walked further down the lane I saw that it had landed on a fencepost and it let me advance to within 40m taking shots 'on the go'.

I tweeked my settings and lowered my shutter speed to decrease the ISO in the hope of getting less 'noisy' images and luckily this worked to great effect although the minimum ISO was still 3,200,

I am a huge fan of DXO Pure Raw noise reduction software and currently use Version 3 although on this occasion I used Version 4 which has just been released and I have on a 14 day free trial period.

After seeing the results I shall definitely be upgrading, the flight shots were taken at ISOs 12,800 and 16,000 and the way that they have been transformed by DXO is incredible.

I stayed until almost dark (6.50pm) hoping that a local Barn Owl would show which it didn't although the 'Shortie' put in another appearance but by this time it was way too dark for photography anyway.

I did go home though with some 'portrait' shots that I was more than pleased with..........

Teifi Marshes - Cardigan : 23rd March 2024

My self and Teresa had a lovely time at our caravan in Poppit Sands last week and the weather was kind to us with very little rain.

I made a couple more visits to Teifi Marshes and the River Teifi at St Dgmaels during the week and although I failed to connect with the Jack Snipe again there were a few nice birds around, here are a few images from my visits.......

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Green-winged Teal - Iron Bridge, Newport

Following the good news from Lyndon Lomax that the GWT was still present I made a quick dash to Newport before dusk set in, the journey taking only 20 minutes.

Parking in the lay-by I crossed the road and the American duck was in plain sight only 40 yards away, firstly on the water and then on the mud before it flew with a couple of Eurasian Teal behind an island and out of sight.

It did give me enough time to get some images that given the gloom I was quite pleased with, this had to have been my easiest 'twitch' ever.

I've seen a number of the species over the years and although I have some photos in my archives this bird probably gave me my best opportunity........

Teifi Marshes - Cardigan : 19th March 2024

I made a return visit to Teifi Marshes yesterday 19th March hoping to see and photograph the Jack Snipe again but had no luck at the Mallard Hide.

It was nice to bump into Ken Filkins again and also old friend Lyndon Lomax from St Davids who I had not seen since a boat trip out of Newquay last summer.

It was also nice to meet Pembrokeshire County Recorder Jon Green for the first time who was also visiting.

I visited the four regular hides I frequent and from the Curlew Hide overlooking the River Teifi I got some photos of a passage summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit which looked simply stunning with it's chestnut neck and breast.

At the Mallard Hide the Jack Snipe failed to show but on the pool was a 1stW Pochard which is something of a scarcity for Ceredigion.

At the Creek Hide a Curlew showed with a few Teal and a Common Kingfisher put in a brief but distant appearance.

I finished my visit at the Kingfisher Hide where a male Common Kingfisher visited but kept it's distance and a confiding Little Egret hunted in the shallows of the pool.

Before I left I asked Lyndon if he knew if the recent Green-winged Teal that had been present on the River Severn was still present but he was unsure. He did however say that he would check on his way back to St Davids and let me know.

He phoned a little later to tell me that that the bird was still present with Eurasian Teal and gave me an approximate location.

Here are a few images from my visit to Teifi Marshes.......

Jack Snipe - Teifi Marshes : 18th March 2024

Myself and Teresa decided to make our first visit to the caravan at Poppit Sands commencing Monday 18th March and after setting up and sorting out things I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours late afternoon to make my first visit of the year to Teifi Marshes.

A wintering Jack Snipe had been around for a few days and I was hoping that it was still present.

Upon entering the Mallard Hide the Jack Snipe was on show albeit not easy to see in the cut down reeds and grass.

Local birder/togger Ken Filkins from Cardigan was present and as the bird moved around for about 15-20mins it showed a little better and we were both able to get some images, it was really amusing with it's continuous 'bobbing' action.

It disappeared into the reeds as quickly as it had emerged and although I stayed on for another half hour it didn't reappear.

Although I've seen Jack Snipe several times over the years this was the first opportunity that I've had to photograph one which was something of a thrill........