It’s that time of the year again when we see birds migrating south. The weather at Severn Beach suggested it was a very sensible thing to be doing. We saw a couple of wheatears. The name wheatear is derived from the Old English for ‘white’ (wheat) and ‘arse’ (ear) referring to their white rump which was very visible.
The starlings and house sparrows all had a fright when a kestrel appeared but unfortunately I did not manage a photo.
I had seen reports of whinchat in Stoke Park this morning and popped across to see if I could see them. I had no luck but was very pleased to see a common sandpiper fly across Duchess Pond but wasn’t quick enough to get a photo. Fortunately, when we moved to the other side of the pond it flew back again and gave me a second chance. It stayed around for a while even though it was harassed by a moorhen.
Just as exciting was the joy of two young girls with binoculars who clearly appreciated having the sandpiper pointed out to them.
Our visit to the Welsh Wildlife Centre at the Teifi Marshes Reserve was not the happy experience we had enjoyed last year when we saw an otter. The first hide (Kingfisher hide) had been raised to the ground by arsonists and the only bird in sight was a mallard.
At the Creek hide all we saw was a crow.
At the Mallard hide the three occupants clearly decided that extreme social distancing was necessary and made no attempt to move cameras and/or camera bags to allow us to sit down. However, I did manage a photo of a little grebe from the back of the hide but that was all we could see.
Appropriately at the Curlew hide looking out on to the River Teifi we did see a solitary curlew. (I am sure the canoeists on the river had frightened anything else away.)
There was then a moment of joy when we saw a kingfisher fly across a pool on the marshes side of the path.
At the Heron hide there were just two wood pigeons and at the last hide on the Wetland Trail, the Otter Hide, there was absolutely nothing. I would be surprised to see an otter here as there was no water in sight.
Disappointing yes, but a pleasant walk and thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we had arrived at the reserve.
On returning to our holiday cottage we had a walk along the road to the Ty Glyn Davis walled garden which is set in a beautiful woodland alongside the River Aeron. This sensory walled garden has been developed specifically for people with special needs – there is a holiday centre for people with special needs nearby.
Despite the unseasonably cold weather (14 degrees C) there was one Red Admiral butterfly. Along the river we saw a grey wagtail.
Yesterday the weather was so poor that I only managed a handful of photos, taken at our holiday cottage, of a buzzard and a small tortoiseshell butterfly.
We explored a bit of the Ceredigion coast paths near Cymtydu (south of Newquay) and a nature reserve NNR Rhos Llawr Cwrt, where it was so wet and boggy that we didn’t even get out of the car.
Today we headed north to Ynyslas (north of Borth) and had a good walk around the salt marshes and sand dunes on the Dyfi estuary. However, the light was so poor that all I managed to photograph was a pair of sanderlings on the shore line.
After our walk we headed to Cors Dyfi (still on the Dyfi estuary) to the osprey project where we were lucky enough to see ospreys before they head south to Africa. In the visitor centre we could see on camera two very mature chicks on the nest. When we went out to the observation tower we could see a female osprey near the nest. A male then returned with a fish. Again the light was so dismal that I only achieved very poor photos which I publish just for the record.
A combination of poor weather, very good weather, other activity holidays and golf has restricted my opportunity for nature photography but we have returned to Wales on holiday full of optimism for the week ahead. However, the first two days have presented little opportunity as the weather has been poor.
Yesterday we took a deviation on our journey to our holiday cottage in Ciliau Aeron (south of Aberaeron) to visit the Llyn Brianne reservoir. We saw red kites, buzzards, ravens, kestrels and a meadow pipit but all quite distant and in very poor light. However, the scenery (even on a dull day) was well worth the detour.
Today it has rained for most of the day and so we visited Jane Beck Welsh Blanket shop at Ty Zinc, Llwyn-y-Groes near Tregaron and enjoyed the blankets and, as a keen birder and entomologist, her advice on where to visit locally. Luckily on the way home we stopped at a lay-by and I had the opportunity to photograph a red kite being mobbed by a corvid.