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Purple on the rocks

  I have the real pleasure of writing my first blog post of 2022 about a trip to Battery Point, Portishead, Bristol to photograph Purple Sandpipers (Calidris Maritima). As many of my readers will know I love waders probably above all bird species and so when I had the opportunity to get some pictures with my good friend Paul Joy of this rare, specially protected and very confiding wader species that winters in the UK coastland I was really excited. Up until this point I had never seen a Purple Sandpiper. They are small waders, bigger than a Dunlin but slightly smaller and less robust than a Turnstone.  They migrate to the UK in the winter from as far away places as Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia and Russia. They then spend their time along the coasts roosting and feeding on various rocky outcrops. They have a preference for rocks covered with seaweeds where they forage for insects, molluscs and crustaceans. They get their names because of a Purple sheen that can be seen in t

A journey north to see red

I journeyed north on Sunday to Pwll Ddu planning to set up and watch the Red Arrows flying across from summit of the Blorenge. I marched up to the top of the tips with all my kit and waited. I had been following some websites online that had predicted the time, direction of travel and mapped it all out on Google Earth.

At around 12.49 pm I waited expectantly for them to come screaming in formation doing a loop back to the airshow in Swansea.

They didn't turn up! On about disapointed. I found out via Facebook they had taken a detour in Blackwoods directions.

I looked like a right so and so standing there scanning the skies. I had even told a few folks of what I was going to photograph so was a little embarrased.

But, when your out and about in one of your favourite wildlife places with fantastic views who cares. I laughed it off and concentrated on other flying things.

I did get to see something red at least. Whilst walking through a trail that winds through ferns and borders the steeply sided forested slopes I heard Redstarts calling.

Male Redstart

The males are really colourful and I watched a pair hunting above the ferns for insects catching them often in flight.

One thing I noticed was the abundant numbers of Linnets. Large flocks of 15 to 20 birds were flying around gathering feeding together and then flying to the tops of the Hawthorn trees on my approach.

Linnets

High above, hovering on the hot rising thermals were a pair Buzzards. I can watch these fantastic raptors all day long. They almost effortlessly soar along hardly making a wing beat.

Buzzard

Other species of note were Wheatears on the track leading to the masts and Stonechats perched on various posts. Quite a lot of young fledglings around now.

Most birds I saw were at a distance today. It was too hot for me to do my usual camouflaged stalking through the grass or sitting up in my hide.

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