Storm Bronagh brings more than just wind and rain.
A review of the tides schedule and weather predictions on Monday made Friday evening look like it was going to be a good bet for seeing some birds at Goldcliff Lagoons at high tide.
All it meant was that I would have to wait out the week and keep my fingers and toes crossed.
It was a long wait.
By Friday afternoon I was getting excited and when my social media feeds lit up with sightings of two Grey Phalarope at Goldcliff Lagoons I was foaming at the bit.
At the end of work I was out of the door in a flash and shot off to the lagoons.
I arranged to meet up with my birder friend Steve and hoped the Phalaropes would remain in view.
On arrival I bumped into a few birders as I marched in my wellies to the seawall hide. I was reassured the pair of the Phalaropes were showing well but at a distance.
In the seawall hide after a little help from some fellow birders I got to see my first Grey Phalarope. I think the description is a bit of a misnomer. They look more white than grey in the their "winter" plumage from a distance. Apparently they are Red in their summer plumage and according to the bird books often described as Red Phalarope.
The Phalaropes spend their summers in the Arctic tundra and winter in the North Atlantic ocean around West and Southern Africa.
The birds are generally rare in the UK and most often seen during the months of September and October when autumnal gales cause them to come inshore around the UK.
They are little, Dunlin sized birds that look like a cross between a small wader and a small gull.
I was only able to takes pictures at a distance. Getting any closer to them was impossible - one of the challenges of bird photography at Goldcliff which can be a little frustrating at times.
It was pretty quiet other than the Phalaropes with not a great deal of bird activity. Highlights were a couple of Avocets and a nice flock of Teal Ducks that went airborne and flashed their green wing bars at me as they flew past.
Steve and I finished the visit off with some spectacular views of the setting sun.
It was not perfect. A big bank of clouds rolled in to obscure the best of it but what the clouds did do was create some cool affects and the wind also drive the waves along so the scene looked quite spectacular nevertheless.
|A pair of Grey Phalarope|
|Startled Teal - love the green wing bars|
|Multi picture composite of the setting sun|
|The wind whipped up the waves at high tide|
|A screen of clouds occluded the setting sun|
|Some cool cloud affects|