A new era dawns
|A new era dawns.|
Today marked my first visit to Goldcliff Lagoons since the sad death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. She was a great and very respected monarch throughout the world. Her passing marked the end of the modern Elizabethan era and the dawn of a new one. King Charles III has now ascended to the throne - "God save the King".
The new era will be called the Carolean age under King Charles III. I thought his first speech was very touching and I believe he will be a great King like his mother. We also now have a new Prince of Wales with Prince William taking on his father's previous titles.
Every time I now take picture of the second Severn crossing - namely the Prince of Wales bridge there will be a different face that now pops up in my head.
|The Prince of Wales Bridge|
I've had a very stressful and busy week myself and I was in real need of some bird therapy today for a few hours to take my mind off things.
A visit to Goldcliff Lagoons always helps to sort my head out and makes me feel better. I was glad to bump into my good friend Neville Davies and have a chat whilst watching the birds.
There were significant numbers of waders today on Priors Lagoon - the only one with water.
|Part of wader flock on Priors|
Nev and I spent most of our time in the Snipe and Marsh Platforms. The Black-Tailed Godwit flock was quite large and there were noticeably more Knots mingled in with them. In amongst the flock observed from the Snipe Platform, we saw a solitary Greenshank and two maybe three Curlew Sandpipers. A small number of Dunlins turned up, a couple of Bar-Tailed Godwits and then Redshanks made the numbers up.
|Priors Lagoon - some of the waders that were present. Redshanks, Knot and Curlew Sandpipers|
From the Marsh Platform, we spotted two Ruff and three Bar-Tailed Godwits ( in the top left-hand corner of Priors). Later a Grey Plover dropped into the lagoon and showed very well in front of the viewing platform.
|A Ruff in the early morning sunshine|
We checked the Seawall Hide and found another Grey Plover roosting on the sun-baked mud of the dried-up Becs Lagoon.
On the fence line, a solitary Wheatear was perched up on the fence. It then ducked down quickly when two Kestrels came flying across Becs heading towards Monks and the second hide. On our walk back through the reserve, we saw another Wheater near the Marsh Platform that posed a lot closer to me.
We also heard a Kingfisher piping from the direction of the farm's pond and Nev later saw it flying over Priors Lagoon.
Later after taking some time out in my own company I spotted one of the Kestrels perched up on a post so decided to quietly sneak up on it out of sight. My efforts were rewarded as I had the opportunity to watch the female Kestrel quite close up and get some nice photos. She spotted me eventually and look over her back straight at me.
Then she carried on doing her thing and was not in the slightest bothered by me taking photographs. Then from nowhere came a Sparrowhawk which dived at the Kestrel and she bristled her feathers and angrily screamed at it as it flew past.
|Mobbed by a Sparrowhawk|
The Kestrel waited a while longer on the post and then flew off to go hunting.
I picked her up again on the fenceline and the falcon appeared to be diving off the post into the nearby undergrowth and taking insects - I suspect crickets or grasshoppers.
Watching this magnificent bird of prey was a great way to finish my morning at the reserve.
Goldcliff never fails to deliver and make me feel better. The Kestrel gave me a really good boost :)
|My dose of bird therapy in a picture.|