Monday, 31 May 2010

Birds of the Western Forests

Lake Vyrnwy

Had what can only be described as a "stonking" day with Dan Trim on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday Weekend. Not only was it the only day of the weekend that had decent weather but I was also treated to seeing some of Wales, a country i have never seen much of before and i had my best ever views of such birds as Pied Flycatcher, Raven, Red Kite and Redstart. We began at the ungodly hour of 4.30am arriving at Lake Vyrnwy at 7.30am which wasn't bad going. What a stunning location to look around! We quickly found ourselves sitting in a hide and watching a pair of Pied Flycatcher zipping in and out, these were both mine and Dan's first ever UK Pied Flycatchers so was great to see....but they weren't really photographable due to distance and shady light conditions. However, pleased with our views we left and went for some food. The hide next to the cafe at Lake Vyrnwy gave great views of Siskin, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker amongst others and Trim even saw a Sparrowhawk dive bomb at the birds....great stuff, all watched with a bacon and sausage sarnie in hand!

After taking some nice scenery shots we left and headed for Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve hearing a Wood Warbler as we drove off, Gilfach is around 1 hour from LV. Trim's "muddy" coffee and HUGE stash of pasta kept him going as did the lovely scenery and winding country lanes, it was a lovely drive! Gilfach has had plenty of visitors of late as it's Pied Flycatchers are extremely photographable but when we got there on a lovely sunny sunday we only met a couple of other people! The farm and reserve is run by some lovely people who offered us tips on where best to go so we headed straight for the hide and then spent 2 hours watching and photographing a gorgeous pair of Pied Fly's who were constantly bringing food back to their nest, truly wonderful birds!

The hide allows amazing views of these guys and i recommend anyone to go and have a look, the river that runs beneath it also has a resident pair of Dipper that we glimpsed flying up and down, occasionally stopping under the bridge (posssibly re-setting up a nest?!). Back near the visitor centre mealworms were being placed out in a small dish hear a wall luring down Great and Blue Tits as well as Nuthatch. We'd already glimpsed a female Redstart 'running' along the roof of the visitor centre but when this stonking male popped up and came down to feed i was blown away, my first ever good view of a Redstart in full summer plumage and what a bird! Shame he didn't come much closer but i'm not complaining as it seems they do spent quite alot of time high up so i felt lucky to see him!

Pip, the guy who runs the reserve/farm wondered out as were photographing the Redstart with the promise of showing us the resident Tawny Owls, the pair had fledged 3 young recently all watched on their nest box camera which must've been amazing. After 5 minutes he came back and told us he'd found 1 of the adults quite high up, always lovely to see this guys sleeping during the daytime and Trim's first ever daytime roosting Tawny.
It was around 2.30pm by this point but the day didn't end there, we couldn't come all this way not drive the 15 minutes to Gigrin Farm to watch the Red Kites feeding, so that's exactly what we did! My next post with bombard you with Red Kite photos....once i've trawled through them!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tasty Terns!

The river that runs along Biggleswade Common near where i live has it's resident Terns back and frequenting it to fish, this has got to be one of the best places around to observe and photograph them around and recently i have made the most of doing so! Enjoy!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Red Footed Falcon

Here are just some of the images i obtained whilst viewing the 2 Red Footed Falcons with Adam last night at Wilston Resevoir, Herts. Both birds were performing well in the air and over the reedbeds catching insects although my lens doesn't really do them justice as they were fairly distant....hence the images not be great! Still, amazing bird to see and a nice evening! Enjoy...

The 2 birds together, the only time i managed to get this!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunny Sunday

Erin and myself decided to have a day out on Sunday, the "seaside" was mentioned and we finally settled on Norfolk and Hunstanton which suited me fine! Arriving at 9.30am it was fairly quiet but was already 25 degrees! Hunstanton was really nice, a real highlight apart from Ice Cream, sun and sea was the Fulmar's that nest along the cliffs there, this allowed for many many photos, as well as some nice Oystercatcher pics....

Around midday Hunstaton was absolutely rammed with punters, shirtless men strolled about, donkeys paced up n' down with kids on their back and the sound of the fun fair was blaring out....all great but time for us to go! We decided to spend the rest of the day at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Wildfowl Park, the venue for this years Springwatch and a great place to see wildlife and also view captive waterfowl. We saw plenty of tame captive birds such as Smew, Black Winged Stilt, Bearded Tit, Ruff, Avocet and Turtle Dove...all allowing amazing photographic opportunities! The next set of photos are all of wild birds from the reserve, i may blog the captive birds at a later date!

Common Toad crossing a path

Bathing Mallard

Common Blue Damselfly

Broad Bodied Chaser (i think!)

Female Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly

The extremely photogenic and very cute Goose chicks!

Just as we were about to leave the House Sparrow family were really active and allowed for some nice behaviour, this chick was begging for food...

....but the female was busy!

Pensthorpe is a really top place and really allows people to get close to things they wouldn't normally be able to. Really looking forward to Springwatch now!