|Dunlin roosts on the shingle of the beach|
It has been a while since I last wrote a blog post. I have been suffering from writer's block since my father passed away. A great deal has been happening and I just have not been able to "put pen to paper" so to speak.
Whilst I have been not up to doing much blogging my photography hobby has really been good therapy. I have enjoyed wonderful sunrises, magnificent sunrises, and starry skies and had great company with my friends who have been great support whilst I have been dealing with some difficult times.
On the bird front, I have been focused on waders this year and spent quite a bit of time in the Trecco Bay area of Porthcawl. I love a trip to the seaside and I really enjoy getting close to waders when the opportunity arises as usually at my local reserve at Goldcliff wader birds tend to be quite distant at the best of times.
|Ringed Plovers line up on the shingle beach|
Several trips to Trecco have resulted in thousands of pictures for me to wade through and choose to put in this post. I really don't help myself as I get so excited I ended up taking so many it becomes quite a chore later to go through them all. I only edit a fraction of those that I take and I am sure I am in danger of developing repetitive strain syndrome from pressing the delete button so many times.
I've posted previously concerning my love of Newton Point and the Trecoo Bay area and once again I must say it's a real gem of a place despite the numerous dogs running amok on the beach and the occasional walker who is completely oblivious to the birds and walks through a high tide wader roost or a surfer that chooses to run into sea with his board on a practically deserted beach right next to where I am quiet minding my own business photographing the birds roosting - it's a great place to go birding.
| A lovely welcome to Porthcawl|
|Newton Point aerial view|
It's also a place I visit with my friend Paul Joy and we have shared lots of great moments watching the waders together and enjoying plenty of Greggs breakfast rolls and Fish and Chips in Porthcawl to keep us going for a serious birding day out.
What I like about Trecco is that there are endless opportunities for photography and plenty of wildlife. There is lovely sea air. Sunshine - certainly in the summer and if you are lucky on a good day, in the winter as well. A nice sandy beach. A rocky Newton Point, that attracts the birds for high tide roosts and also has some lovely rock pools. It's also easily accessible and there is somewhere you can park the car.
The place has lots going for landscape photography. I've had some wonderful sunrises and sunsets all from Newton Point. It's also somewhere I can fly my drones when it's not too busy.
So there is no wonder I have been spending a fair bit of time there.
|What an amazingly coloured sky at sunrise|
|The sun rises above Ogmore|
|The view from Newton Point at sunrise|
There have been good numbers of waders in recent months. The most numerous species have been Sanderlings. There has often been a flock of between 40 - 80 birds ( perhaps sometimes a few more).
I absolutely love Sanderlings and they can be quite accommodating to photography if you have a bit of patience with them and let them come to you rather than chasing them around the beach and rocks. Paul Joy and I have got pretty good on the field craft side of things and have learned to sit up and wait for the birds to come to us.
|Mr Joy perched up|
When the Sanderlings eventually take to the beach when the tide goes out they really entertain when they start feeding along the shoreline.
I decided to try and get some low-perspective pictures and lay down on the beach which turned out to be like quicksand and I started to sink into the sand and got rather wet. The little waders were quite happy to run around in front of me, not at all bothered by the photographer who looked a bit like. a stranded whale lying on the beach next to them.
|Getting down at eye level with the waders|
|On an angle - Sanderlings dance around the shoreline|
|They are always just ahead of the waves|
|Dipping the beak into the sand feeling for prey to eat|
|Sprinting along the beach |
Sanderlings I find entrancing to watch. They run along like little clockwork toys dancing back and forth in front of the shoreline as it rises and falls up the beach. They are really busy birds and constantly feeding pushing their beaks into the sand and finding various invertebrates.
I am amazed at how malleable their beaks are. Up close you can see how flexible the end of their beak is and I suspect is full of sense giving them an incredible sense of touch.
|A very sensitive beak|
|Feeding on small invertebrates. The ultimate little beachcombers.|
I could watch them all day long but unfortunately, as the tide starts to go out more people and dogs turn up on the beach and eventually they get disturbed and fly off.
When they do get disturbed it does give me an opportunity to try and grab some flight shots. Not always easy to do as it requires some quick reactions and also ensuring you change some of the camera settings to increase the shutter speeds.
|Startled they take to the air|
|A quick grab shot of a Sanderling in flight|
As we now head into winter there should be a lot fewer holidaymakers and a lot more birds.
I am looking forward to seeing some Grey Plovers and Purple Sandpipers as they like to spend their winters along the shores of Porthcawl. I believe a few of them may have already started showing their "beaks" already.
|Contemplating the meaning of life - actually discussing what we are going to have from Greggs for breakfast.|
Big Thanks to Paul Joy for his company and support over the last few months - been a big help.
Birds to look out for during a visit
- Black Headed Gull
- Mediterranean Gull
- Herring Gull
- Lesser Balck Backed Gull
- Rock Pipit
- Pied Wagtail
- Purple Sandpiper
- Grey Plover
- Ringed Plover
Always keep an eye out for ringed gulls and report any sightings.
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