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Showing posts from June, 2018

Puffin all the way to Wick

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Day 3 of our birding adventure to the Pembrokeshire coast again started very early. My intrepid birders and I were determined to get in the Skomer queue as early as possible as the wind was forecast to be considerably calmer.

Indeed when we arrived at Lockely Lodge the weather had changed. Our luck was in , the sea was like a mill pond compared to the last two days, not a breeze of wind. We had been warned that it would be busy on the weekend and it was. There was already a full boat of people queueing  in front of us at 6 am.  The first person got there at 4.45 am!

I am so glad we arrived early as the queue grew exponentially and snaked all the way to the car parks entrance- easily over 150 people.

Our excitement grew and then we got the announcement we had long anticipated the boats were running and did anyone want to go on an extra boat being put on for 9.30 am. Guess what? We raised our hands and got tickets for the boat. I am a Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales member so get…

An idyllic welsh beach and stacks of birds.

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Day two of my bird adventure to Pembrokeshire started early. With my birding pals Nicola and Paul we left the hotel just after dawn and headed along the winding, never ending roads from Haverfordwest to Martins Haven.

I think I had already made several prayers to the weathers gods for good fortune with the weather. I think they must have misheard me. On arrival at Lockley Lodge there was already a queue at
6.30 am. This time there was about 20 people waiting in front of us. The North wind remained breezy. The white horses continued to canter down across St Brides Bay and the sea was rough.

One thing I enjoy about trips away is meeting people with similar interests and it did not take long before we were chatting away with a fellow welsh photographer in the queue who shared a similar enthusiasm for wildlife. Time soon flew by and our conversation was halted when we got the bad news - boats were off again. Our plans were up in the air once more.

 Despite the wind the weather was brillia…

The North Wind blows and takes us to the edge

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You know how the saying goes "best laid plans of mice and men goes awry", well that just about sums up the start of my birding trip to Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

My birding pals Paul Joy ,Nicola Johns and me have been planning the trip for months. I had even drawn up a detailed itinerary for our three days away that involved a two night hotel stay and several excursions including a visit to Grassholm and multiple Skomer Island visits.

The weather gods however are forever fickle and had different plans in-store for us.

Since the beginning of the week I had been contacted by Pembrokeshire Islands boat trips as they were very concerned about the weather. Strong Northerly winds were forecast at the end of the week and this results in the sea being too rough for the boats to sail. Our pre-planned booked boat trips began to get pushed back day by day. Things were looking rather unpredictable and in the lap of the gods to decide despite my best efforts to organise things.

We set ou…

The Curlew calling and Piper piping

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Perhaps one of the most iconic calls of nature that inspires a feeling of wildness in the UK belongs to the Curlew. This weekend I was to have a an encounter with these birds locally, but before I start let me share some information about Curlews to give my readers some perspective.

The call of a Curlew is now unfortunately becoming a rare sound to hear, especially at this time of year when Curlews breed. The UK breeding population of Curlew's has hugely declined. There are a number of reports that discuss the cause of it and if you are interested I encourage you to read an article on the BTO website and a scientific Bird Study publication . In summary the publication (1)  found intensive farm practises, increasing predator populations, population changes and climate change were impacting Curlews in a bad way.

It appears from what I understand that these iconic waders are very sensitive to change and don't adapt to it very well at all.

My weekend started with me eager to get o…

Redshank for tea

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The weather at Goldcliff Lagoons was glorious this evening. I had the reserve to myself so settled into position at the Redshank hide. The light was a real challenge for photography. The evening sun was glaring down and I had to focus into it. Its no wonder that both predators and prey use the sun to their advantage. More of that later.

The bird residents of the lagoon were keeping their distance and I was just about able to get some views of them through the glare. It was relatively quiet. The tide was going out.

There was a small group of Black Tailed Godwits (perhaps a Bar Tailed in there somewhere). They kept to themselves. A couple of Avocets and about 70 Dunlins. The Dunlins were busy feeding around the lagoon. Every now and again, getting startled by something or bullied around by the Lapwings, they would take flight and they afforded me some nice views.A flock of Redshank was also on the far side of the island in lagoon 1.

A ripple of panic spread across the lagoon and the Dun…

Lofty and Gibble

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Lofty and Gibble made an appearance at Goldcliff Lagoons this morning. They are Common Cranes and were bred as part of the Great Crane Project.

The birds were given coloured rings as chicks and as a result you can visit the projects website and discover information such as its name, sex and date of hatching.

Lofty (male) has red blue and white rings and hatched on 21.04/2011. Gibble (female) has red blue and black rings and hatched 22/04/2012.

The Crane projects began in 2010 and its purpose was to reintroduce the Common Crane and led to birds being hand reared at WWT Slimbridge and before being taken to RSPB's West Sedgemoor Nature Reserve in Somerset where they were eventually released into the wild. Theres is a lot more information on the website which I encourage readers to visit.

I was thankful today that one of my birder friends pointed out the fact that the birds were on site. They must have been in the very long grass when I looked ;).

Fantastic birds to see. They hung ar…