Saturday, September 24, 2022

Afon Teifi Osprey

 Whilst we were home from the caravan a juvenile Osprey had been frequenting the St Dogmaels section of the River Teifi on a feeding 'stopover' during it's Autumn migration to West Africa.

I had hoped that it would still be around for our most recent visit and I was not to be disappointed, I saw it fly up river from the watchpoint at The Graig footpath just north of the Ferry Inn and decided to check to the river from the slipway near the Fiat car dealership just off the main road.

On going back to my car I bumped into Stuart Hall and Tommy + Jen Evans who had been searching near The Moorings, we soon made it to the slipway and were joined by Karen Leah and her friend.

The bird had landed in the trees on the far bank of the river but was always out of sight, eventually after about 30-40mins it was harassed by some gulls and flew right over us enabling all to get great views and pleasing shots............

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Black Terns : Lamby Lake, Cardiff

 I'd been keeping my eye the sightings pages confirming the presence of firstly one and then two Black Terns using Lamby Lake in Cardiff as a stopover on their migration but with other commitments and having been away at our caravan I was struggling to make a visit.

However, with a concert in Cardiff booked for last Friday evening I persuaded Mrs S that we needed to call into the lake in the hope of me getting some photos.

We managed to get there at about 4.30pm and both birds were busy feeding over the water, after taking about 300 images it was soon time to return to the car where Teresa had spent an hour reading.

I took my new Canon RF 100-500mm IS f4.5-7.1 zoom lens with me which really showed it's worth for birds in flight and shot continuously at 500mm, considering the birds are extremely erratic in flight I managed a good percentage of 'keepers'............

Friday, September 09, 2022

The Afon Perris outfall, Llansantffraid Beach, Llanon

 I was not familiar with this location but on seeing some nice photos on Facebook of several waders including Little Stint + Curlew Sandpiper I thought that I would give it a go.

So last Wednesday 7th September I made the 1 hour journey north along the A487 to Llanon on the northern side of Aberaeron.

I found the location after missing a turning at first and parked in the small church car park and made my way down the track which was only a few minutes walk to the beach.

Upon arrival I was met by Tommy + Jen Evans who were sat on the pebbles with their cameras taking advantage of the good numbers of waders present.

The beach is mainly pebbles and rocks interspersed with small areas of sand and present were many Ringed Plovers and Dunlin, gulls and Canada Geese, a Knot, a couple of Curlew Sandpipers, a Ruff a Bar-tailed Godwit, and a Little Stint.

 I was too busy admiring the B-tG and Ruff through my bins to get some photos of them before they were flushed by a gull, a moral there, photos first and admire second, doh !!

I did manage some nice photos of the other waders but my time was cut short by a torrential shower which I just got back in time to the car to avoid.

It's a fabulous spot, teeming with waders and one I intend to visit again next week when we return to the caravan, this time hopefully putting in several hours.

Here are a few of the images I managed to obtain in my short time there on this occasion........

A long awaited return to Llys-Y-Fran Reservoir

 It's been a while since I visited Llys-Y-Fran Reservoir/Country Park, February 2007 to be exact when I 'twitched' Wales' first Pacific Diver with Kevin Hughes the day after it was found and the ID confirmed.

We were in Kidwelly from memory searching for a Rose-coloured Starling when the news of ID confirmation came through.

Anyway, back to 2022 with some nice waders being reported from there feeding on the exposed mud at the far end of the reservoir.

So last Monday 5th September I made the 45 min journey from the caravan turning up there early afternoon, after speaking to a very helpful ranger I was advised that the birds that I was interested in were seen the previous day at the far end of the reservoir.

This was a 1.75 mile walk which took me about 30mins and I soon found 3 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and 2 juvenile Dunlin near the bank, I was able to get within 10m of these birds which were very confiding and get some nice photos.

There was however no sign of the Little Stint which had been reported the previous day which I was hoping to see and photograph.

Another birder joined me who introduced himself as Huw Lewis from Haverfordwest and using his 'scope he was able to pick up the Little Stint accompanied by a Ruff and 3 Curlew Sandpipers about 70m away from us feeding on the mud, I would never have picked them up in my bins, nice one Huw !

I quickly changed my 1.4x extender for my 2x and although distant managed to get some half decent 'record shots' of the waders, I didn't think of changing my in camera setting from 'full frame' to 1.6x 'crop factor' which would have given me a focal length of 1600mm although the reduction in pixels would probably not have produced any sharper images.

The sky started to darken and on checking my Rain Today app on my phone I could see that heavy was was due to start in 10 mins so made my way quickly to the bird hide which was only a few minute's walk.

Huw on the other hand made his way back to his car which was parked at the far end of the reservoir, whether or not he got a soaking I don't know.

I sat it out in the hide for 30mins, the heavy downpour finally subsided and I made my way back to the car park.

Due to the national shortage of rain the reservoir looks to be 2.5-3m below it's usual level and at the top end a huge area of mud is exposed, as it's probably not been exposed for many years I would guess that it is full of nutrients and food so will be worth keeping an eye on in September and October.

It would not surprise me if a rare American sandpiper turned up there, I'll keep checking the sightings pages.........