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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

Dipping and Wagging along the river

I had a walk along my local stretch of the Afon Llwyd river today. It was a raging flow of white water as a result of all this rain we have been happening.

The skies had cleared and there was blue sky for a change. Autumn is most definitely here now and you can see the trees leaves changing into a kaleidoscope of different shades of green, yellow, brown and red. Carpets of leaves that have been shed from the trees cover the footpaths and there is that sweet natural smell of "change". Not a bad smell it's just you can sense whats going on in nature with your own nose.

It was not long before I heard the distinctive call of a Dipper as it hurtled upstream and landed on a rock in the river.  Its bright white breast easily stood out against the shadows of the river which struggles to get a lot of light at this time of day.



I watched the Dipper for a while. The torrent of fast-flowing water caused it no trouble at all as it dived under the water occasionally floating to the service and paddling before diving under again.
Every now and then it would dart out of the water to find a perch to consume a caddis fly larvae.




After a while, I left the bird to it and headed to another Dipper territory downstream to check how the Dippers were doing there. Unfortunately, I could not locate them downstream but I did find a lovely Grey Wagtail.

Wagtails and Dippers are regularly found in the same locations. The wagtail was busy feeding in amongst the rocks that border the river water. This bird looked particularly smart and was quite accommodating to watch from a distance.

I will return later in the month when I have some more time and try and get some closer pictures.





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