Sunday, May 22, 2011

Black and White-size is everything !!

Who'd have thought that after the Whiskered Tern episode in Sept 2010 that something similar could have happened again today especially after setting out just to try and photograph summer migrants in a local wood !!
I set out this morning to visit Cwm Nant Gwyn best accessed from the track over Mynydd Ty Talwyn and soon bumped into Paul Tabor who was scanning the nearby fields and mentioned that he also was intending visiting the wood to check nestboxes.
We walked down to the wood together and I gave Paul a hand checking the boxes for an hour most of which held Blue or Great Tits with clutches of between 8-10 nestlings.
Paul then decided to move on and I decided to stay on for an hour or so in the hope of finding and photographing something more interesting.
I had just taken my camera out of it's bag when I heard Paul calling loudly from the field adjacent the wood and pointing skywards,I hurried up the slope to join him to find that he was on what he first thought was a distant Common Crane circling over the hill.
He quickly got me on to the bird and I banged away with the camera trying to get some record shots,the bird was about 1/4 mile away and then appeared to drop and land over the crest of the hill.
I reviewed the photos on the LCD screen on my camera and confirmed that I thought the bird was a stork and plumped for White Stork as one had been in the area only a few weeks ago.
I'd left my camera bag and monopod in the wood so had to backtrack to retrieve them whilst Paul pushed on ahead,within no time at all we had phoned various fellow birders and the "grapevine" had gone into overdrive.
We drove over to where we thought the bird had landed and soon bumped into Martyn Hnatiuk who had made a mad dash from a seawatching morning in Porthcawl,Simon Murray arrived and after both had looked at the photographs confirmed the bird to be a Black Stork.
The four of us searched the surrounding area and Paul "Sid" Parsons soon arrived and we all then headed for Parc Slip NR which we all agreed would be a good place for the stork to land with all it's wet areas.
Despite a good search the bird could not be relocated and whilst walking back to the car we bumped into Barry Stewart,Paul Roberts,Mike Thomas,Steve Hinton and Alex Bevan who had also been scanning the area.
Martyn and "Sid" checked some of the wetter fields in the area and then we all headed for home with the three remaining Maesteg lads revisiting MTT in the hope that the stork would be seen again close to where it had disappeared from sight.
What a bizzare morning-I'd set out in the hope of photographing a small black and white summer visitor to our oak woods and ended up with record photos of a wopping big black and white bird which is just that little bit rarer !!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tawny Owl:Llynfi Valley

Had a stroll through a couple of local woods last Thursday evening after work and came across a Tawny Owl.
First one that I've had a chance to photograph,taken well past 8.00pm in a murky canopy covered wood with ISO pushed to 3200 and shutter speed hovering around 1/20-1/30th sec,the technology of modern digital cameras is absolutely incredible.
Not the greatest but ok record shots.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

BNG-Llanilid "Return visit"

When visiting Llanilid after work last week the conditions were overcast and the light very poor,seeing the weather brightening up this morning after the overnight rain I decided to pay another visit in an attempt to get some better photgraphs.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Black-necked Grebe:Llanilid

When the belated news broke of a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe on one of the pools at Llanilid I knew that this was one bird that I wanted to attempt to photograph.
I managed to get down to the site after work this evening and Peter "Pedro" Morgan was already on the bird and clicking away with his camera.
The pool isn't very large but the bird prefered to keep it's distance sticking mainly to the middle of the water and only occasionally drifting a little closer to shore.
The weather was overcast and the light was very poor so I had to push the ISO a tad but I was pleased to get some reasonable record shots of this spectacular small grebe.
I've only seen a handful of Black-necked Grebes and all have been in winter plumage so as well as getting a few pics I got a "plumage tick" as well,happy days !!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Return of the Dotterel:Cefn Cadlan

After the disappointment of not finding any Dotterel on Sat a.m I was well pleased when news broke on Sun a.m that Martin Bevan and Phil Hill had found a pair in the same location as the birds that were found by Graham Smith in 2010.
Teresa had borrowed the Jeep to visit a local car boot sale in the morning so I birded locally and decided to go for the birds in the afternoon.
I just missed Peter Morgan who had just "ticked" another lifer but met up with Rob Mitchell who was already on the pair and clicking away with his Nikon and "Bigma".
The birds were very confiding and approached within 4-5m and although the wind had now reached hurricane like proportions I managed to get a few nice shots.

Both myself and Rob enjoyed chatting with visiting birder/photographer Dave Barnes from Worcester whose name I picked up from the images he had posted on Birdguides,Dave was shooting with a Canon 500mm f4 on a 1D body,the stuff dreams are made of,one day,one day...............

Whilst the three of us were firing away Dave and Mrs Palmer from Cardiff also turned up and we were able to get them on to the birds straight away.

What a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon,why aren't all birds so co-operative ??..........

Craig Cerrig Gleisad

On Sat 30.April myself and fellow enthusiastic bird photographer Peter "Pedro" Morgan decided to hook up with the GBC field trip to CCG and arranged with John Wilson to meet up with the rest of the paricipants at 09.45 at the reserve.
Firstly though we agreed to meet to meet each other on the road below Cefn Cadlan and walk up to the limestone pavement in search of Dotterel hoping that perhaps last year's two passage birds would make a timely return.
It was cold and cloudy at 07.00 but Peter was in buoyant mood after "ticking" the White Stork at Aberdullais en-route,by the time we had reached the ridge though we could feel the keenness of a stiff easterly breeze.
We searched for about an hour but to no avail,little did we know that Martin Bevan and Phil Hill would find a pair the next morning !! (Guess that makes us crap birders ???-were the birds there and we missed them or did they arrive later,who knows !)
We soon arrived at CCG and despite a good scan of the crag failed to connect with a Ring Ouzel although a dapper male Redstart had us stalking it along the edge of the fenced wood.
We met up with John and his fellow field trippers and after a short while John picked out two Ring Ouzels about 3/4 of the way up the left hand side of the crag which had been spooked by a passing Raven.
We enjoyed some brief 'scope views courtesy of John and Alan Rosney and Peter decided he would like to get some pics of what was a "lifer" for him,I didn't argue and so the two of us made the lung bursting trudge up the crag.
We connected with a single RO but the bird was quite wary of our presence and we ended up shooting into and across the sunlight which was far from ideal,the bird was feeding on the close cropped sheep pasture beyond the reserve and for the record we didn't pursue it onto the crag and attempt to find it's nesting location,we both got some record shots and moved on.
Whilst the others connected with Whinchat in our absence we "dipped" although we had good views of one of the resident Peregrines and a passing Red Kite.
After a well earned picnic lunch we visited the small wood across the A470 from the reserve where we soon came across the first of 5 male Pied Flycatchers which we found along the footpath,although they were all quite flighty I did manage a few reasonable record shots.
Whilst lagging behind taking photographs we missed a couple of female Redstarts that the rest picked up,such is life.
The remainder of the trip decided to call into Llwyn-on Reservoir/Garwnant on the way home so after saying our goodbyes I headed back to Llangors and Peter for home both well pleased with our excellent if "knackering" day out.