Saturday, January 28, 2012's still there.....!!

The 2ndW Iceland Gull was sat on the roof of the converted chapel at Pen Y Bryn when I drove past at 10.00am this morning but apparently had disappeared by 10.30am.
A text from Dave Rich informed me that it had returned late this afternoon so myself and Peter "Pedro" Morgan called back there from Parc Slip where we had spent some time.
Bit of a difference in the quality of the light from a "blue sky" morning to a slightly overcast afternoon !

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Another White Winger"

Few shots of the Iceland Gull which was the only bird in the field alongside the chapel as I drove past mid-morning on the way to Kenfig.
I txtd Mark Hipkin who put the word out and was soon joined by Port Talbot birders Dave Sharps and Phil Routliffe,Kevin turned up a little later as he had the same idea as me of going to Kenfig and we all enjoyed superb views of the "white-winged" beauty which had been found by fellow "Maestegi" last Tuesday.
A phonecall to Dan soon had him and "The Twitchmeister" on the road and Geth quickly added another "lifer" to his growing list.
Alan Blackley and Paul Tabor joined us as did Graeme Powell and the bird continued to give excellent views as it "wormed" continuously feeding well.
The group dis-banded and we all headed our separate ways,Dan,Geth and myself headed to Kenfig in search of the Target Pool in the dunes hoping for Jack Snipe and we soon caught up with Kevin who was already there.
We found the pool but unfortunately no Jack Snipe,in fact there was very little to be seen at all,which means another visit another day,perhaps at first light on one of the next weekends.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Quiet weekend"

Having seen most of the good local birds recently myself and Peter met up down at Aberavon Beach on Saturday morning to have a look for the 1stW Iceland Gull found by fellow "Maestegi" Colin Gittins last Tuesday which showed up until Friday but was nowhere to be seen yesterday,bloomin' typical ! We retreated up to the town centre in the hope of catching up with the Goosanders wintering on the River Afan,the male showed briefly but the two females that I had photographed on a previous visit were conspicuous by their absence. We called it a day at 11.00am as I had family business to attend to. With no paticular plans for Sunday I decided to stay local and a browse around Dunraven failed to uncover a Black Redstart although a Common Kestrel hunting over the embankment at the side of the main track gave good if brief views.
On getting back to the car park a Stonechat doing a good impression of a Black Redstart flitted around on the roof of the gatehouse.
I decided to finish off at Ogmore-by-Sea and clambered about on the rocks for an hour where a small group of Turnstones with a single Purple Sandpiper gave good views in nice light despite the attendance of several fishermen and loads of "numpties" with their kids and dogs.
A brief visit to Portobello whilst passing failed to unearth any "white wings" in the gull flocks although one of a small group of three Common Redshanks posed well and enabled me to get a few shots.
I briefly scanned an empty Watermill flood from the car before heading off home to settle down in front of the tele for a couple of hours to watch Swansea win an absolute thriller against Arsenal,"come on you Swans,come on you Swans" !! What a result !!!........

Wipit, Diver & Shrike

Not a dodgy firm of solicitors, but the three star birds from a morning out at Llwyn-onn Reservoir and Garwnant.

Mike Hogan and a group of Carmarthenshire (the land of milk and honey) photographers were already on the Water Pipit when I arrived at Llwyn-onn, and, as I travelled round towards Garwnant, I renewed my aquaintance with the Great Northern Diver which was busy (cray)fishing on the millpond surface of the reservoir. Easy peasy.

Not qute as easy was the Great Grey Shrike. I went first to the 'southern clearfell', but there were some guys there planting saplings. I didn't bother hanging around and headed straight to the 'northern clearfell'. I waited there for and hour and a half and drew a blank, only managing to see a shedload of Crossbill and half a dozen Bullfinch.

Back to the 'southern clearfell' and, despite the blokes still busy planting the saplings nearby, there was the Great Grey Shrike - distant at first before it briefly landed on a tree nearby.

Slocombe - eat your heart out!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

"Return Visits"

Although I'd paid a visit to the various locations previously Peter Morgan and myself headed to the north of the county today as Willow Tit and GN Diver were both "lifers" for Peter and it was a chance for both of us to take a few photos. Two Willow Tits showed after a little while at Nelson Bog with one coming to the food which we put down on the rail of the bridge over the stream by the railway crossing. The light was once again absolutely awful but I managed a few "record" shots,I know I go on about it but a little sun makes a huge difference,it brings photos to life.
Next stop was Llwynn-Onn Reservoir for the juv Great Northern Diver which we got on fairly quickly as it headed up to the north end of the water.
We legged it to the hide and it duly obliged by swimming past the only disappointment being that it chose the far channel and not the nearest channel in front of the reedy island,if it had we'd have got some crackin' shots in the only 20mins of good light in the day. We did witness the diver having a real tussle with a crayfish which seem to be it's favoured prey and I managed to get a shot of the bird and it's meal before it got devoured. We then headed across to Garwnant hoping to catch up with Great Grey Shrike,we checked the clearfell south of the visitor centre without success although there were good numbers of Crossbills around with some Siskins and Redpoll mixed in with the flocks.
We then headed up to the other clearfell that the bird has been frequenting north of the visitor centre and this time got lucky although the shrike always kept it's distance at the far end of the clearing,we waited a while in the hope it would fly to one of the closer "perching" poles but as the light faded we gave up and headed for home.

Llangors Lake:Winter visit

Teresa and myself paid a visit up to Llangors yesterday to check out the caravan and I took the opportunity of doing a bit of birdin' hoping to catch up with the two Whooper Swans and Great White Egret that has been around for a few weeks. The Whoopers were on the severely flooded meadow to the rear of the sailing club but despite a visit over to Llangasty I didn't connect with the GWE.
Before leaving I scanned across the lake from between the reeds to check out how the replacement hide is coming along,looks well posh with a thatched roof in progress as the finishing touch,will try it out in the spring.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Great Northern Diver:Llwyn 0n Resv'r

"Few" images from a visit to Llwyn On Reservoir north of Merthyr Tydfil today in company with fellow "togger" Richard "Smudger" Smith, our target species being the juvenile Great Northern Diver found by Mike Hogan a couple of weeks ago. It gave us the runaround for a while but we finally pinned it down.
Following our success at the reservoir we then paid a visit to Garwnant Forest and managed to see but not photograph the wintering Great Grey Shrike (too far away and heavy drizzle) and last thing called into Nelson Bog where we saw Willow Tit but being quite elusive I didn't manage a photo worthy of posting.
A good excuse to visit this fantastic little nature reserve again.