Sunday, October 24, 2021

'Otter than July'

 After a great morning at WT Teifi Marshes myself and good friend Dave Gilbert thought we'd walk the path from the reserve along the River Teifi as far as the Castle Street old stone bridge in the centre of Cardigan in the hope of seeing an Otter.

As luck would have it an elderly gentleman on a pushbike upon seeing our cameras stopped to tell us that he had just seen a large 'dog' Otter fishing near the aforementioned bridge, "I nearly fell off my bike when I saw it" he exclaimed !!

After thanking him him for the info we quickened our step arriving at the bridge within minutes, we scanned for 10 minutes and the Otter was nowhere to be seen, suddenly I spied a movement in the water near the opposite bank, it was the creature busily fishing !!

We dashed across the bridge only to find that the Otter had crossed over the river to where we had just come from.

We returned across the footbridge and took up a position in one of the 'niches' on the old bridge from where we had great views watching and photographing what Otters do best, catching fish.

Our excitement and activity interested some passers by and a young couple stopped in their car to enquire what we were doing, the young lady jumped out of the car exclaiming that she had never had the luck to see an Otter and was sending her husband to park their car !!

Like us she was amazed to see the creature at such close quarters and it was not at all phased by our presence, I guess that occupying a stretch of prime river in the middle of a busy town has made the Otters very much used to traffic and pedestrians.

We 'filled our boots' watching and taking photos of the amazing creature for almost an hour until it disappeared as mysteriously as it had turned up.

Only my second good opportunity of photographing Otters after the first at Llangors Lake, Brecon back about 8 years ago when a pair of youngsters appeared from nowhere in front of me, a 'lifer' for my very excited friend Dave.

Here are a few images from our amazing encounter..........

Ring-necked Duck : Teifi Marshes, Cardigan, 'Return Visit'

 Having 'twitched' the newly arrived Ring-necked Duck on Friday 22.October I was hoping that the bird would still be there yesterday and so made an early start arriving at the Mallard Hide at 8.10am, my friend and fellow birder/togger Dave Gilbert had expressed an interest in visiting for the day as the duck would be a 'lifer' for him.

Dave duly rocked up at the hide at about 8.30am and ourselves together with other observers present enjoyed superb views and we all 'filled our boots' with a great photographic opportunity.

We were even treated to a rare window of great light for a brief period, a massive improvement on the previous day.

It was nice to bump into Stuart Hall again and especially nice to finally meet up with Richard Dobbins and Shane Jones, Shane does a sterling job of running the Ceredigion Birds and Wildlife Facebook page.

A great morning was bolstered by lovely views of a normally skulking Water Rail which was a real treat and after several visits a female Common Kingfisher finally perched up momentarily although a little distant on the small tree on the island in front of the hide.

Myself and Dave both came away with some photos that we were more than pleased with......... 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Ring-necked Duck : WT Teifi Marshes, Cardigan

Despite the inconsistent weather myself and Teresa have been spending this week at our caravan at Poppit Sands, this morning I checked BirdGuides on my iPhone to find that only minutes before checking an American Ring-necked Duck had been found at Teifi Marshes which has now become one of my favourite haunts.

I jumped into the car with my camera gear and soon arrived at the parking area that I use within 10 minutes, a brisk walk along the track through the marsh soon had me arriving at the Mallard Hide overlooking the pool where the bird was located.

There were a few people in the hide including Stuart Hall a local birder/togger who I have got to know, the bird was showing quite well although a little distant and despite the poor light I came away with a few images that were better than I expected.......


Although not a 'lifer' as this was the seventh that I've seen it was a nice bird to get and be able to photograph.

I'm hopeful that the bird will still be there tomorrow and it shows a little closer with better light.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

'A Twitching We Will Go'

Last Sunday myself, Dave Gilbert and his fab 10 year old grandson Jenson decided to 'twitch' the Wryneck found at Mewslade Bay, Gower and also the American Golden Plover at Dale Airfield, Pembrokeshire if time permitted.

Dave and Jenson rocked up at my place at 7.50am and off we set in my X-Trail calling first at Crymlyn Burrows hoping to catch some waders on the high tide roost, unfortunately there was not a wader to be seen, perhaps they've got fed up of being harassed by dogs and their owners !!

We next called at Blackpill with the same result and probably for the same reason.

We pushed on to Mewslade and after passing through the gate at the end of the woodland path bumped into Richard Cleobury who was responsible for finding the recent summer plumage LB Dowitcher at WWT Llanelli.

Richard was very helpful and gave us the heads up on the Wryneck and AG Plover which he had already seen.

The Wryneck showed after about 10-15 minutes in it's favoured rocky area to the right of the path and gave decent if distant views before it flew off over the scrub and down the valley, here are some record shots...........

Having found the Wryneck pretty quickly we headed for Dale which took us about 2 hours and following Richard's directions we managed to find a few birders in the vast airfield area that were watching the bird.

In such a large area if it was not for other birders being present it is doubtful whether we would have found the AGP especially given the rocky terrain.

The bird was associating with another European Golden Plover and 2 Grey Plovers and there was also a Snow Bunting present, the plovers were distant and flighty so I only managed distant heavily cropped 'record shots'..........

Although tiring, a cracking day out in great company and fine weather, a few 'lifers' for Jenson and the American Golden Plover was a 'lifer' for both Dave and myself, it's an American wader that has eluded  me for far too long.


Saturday, October 09, 2021

Little Owl : Vale of Glamorgan

 Checked out a couple of Little Owl territories in the Vale of Glamorgan this afternoon, the first one that I checked looks as if it has now been abandoned but the second appears to still hold a pair although only one bird was seen. 

The bird put in the briefest of appearances and I only managed three frames resulting in one image.....

Friday, October 01, 2021

Teifiside Birding (again !!)

 A few more images from last weekend from another visit to WT Teifi Marshes and St Dogmaels, nothing different from my last visit but some nice birds......