Monday, 18 January 2016

Crazy Couple of Days

I got up early to do my Webs on Saturday morning and found it very icy and dangerous. On arriving at Tir Founder Fields I found that all the ponds were frozen and pretty much free of wildfowl apart from a couple Grey Herons, 2 Water Rail and 4 Common Snipe, it was so quiet I was starting to wish I had stayed in bed. But I always try and to make the most of the visit. I dropped down to the edge of the reedbeds too look for Water Rail and see if I could find anymore Snipe when I heard a noise which always gets me, it was a tack and a noise I  have got used to over the years and it belongs to a Cetti Warbler. I thought it had moved on with the cold snap and was very surprised to hear a second bird calling very close by and the icing on the cake was when one bird jumped up onto a sedge and showed very briefly, it made my day. Could this be the year when we get breeding Cetti's in the valley. As I followed the river up I found my first wildfowl two Teal and two Mallard. Little did I know that was it for ducks and on getting too the Ynys I found a Tit lock and in the flock was one Willow Tit which finished my Webs on a high .

On Sunday got up early again and meet with three other members of the Blog to travel down to the Gower and visit Whitford Point. We all felt like we need the Exercise for our up coming trip to Thailand and it did the trick. We walked down to the marsh and starting to look for Snipe, it was very slow and in places hard work but eventually we got a flock of six common Snipe and could hear a curlew calling in the back ground. On we went and just as I stopped to call too call to Phil I found a Jack Snipe very close to me and within minutes we had two more and great views were had by all. We carried on along the path which was flooded in parts so we took a couple of detours and skirted along the forest edge until we got to the beach and walked along towards the Lighthouse looking for the Snow Buntings that had been reported the day before. We walked a long way up the beach and saw lots of Waders, big flocks of Oystercatcher and Turnstones and a small group of Sandling racing along the beach. It was great to see big numbers of Brent Geese and 5 Great Northern Divers very close to the shore and our only Red Breasted Merganser and a cracking male too. We also got our first Eiders, all female apart from a fly by drake and has we walked the tide line we found lots of cuttlefish and a few dead sea birds like 2 Gannets, 2 Razorbills and a Shag. Martin Bell found some Goose Barnacles which were new to most of us and great too see. We got to a point where we thought there is no sign of the buntings so we had better go back to the hide and meet with the bird club which were down on a club trip. As we got to the hide we got Grey Plover, Dunlin and a nice close flock of Eiders, all drakes and only one female. It was great to meet up with the club and nice too see Alan Rosney and Gareth Jenkins also to hear news that the Snow Buntings had been seen up the beach where we had just come from. We all felt we had to try again. We heard Jeff Slocombe and Peter Morgan were the lucky finders and and they said they were going back for a better look so we joined them for the walk. We felt like we had checked every clump of seaweed for miles and got to a point where we felt we needed a brew and sat on a log and had some of Mike Hogan cracking chocolate. After resting on we went and just as we thought they had gone I spotted the pair of Snow Bunting feeding on the edge of the dunes. They obliged with brilliant views, the male was stunning, best bird of the day and made the walk seem worth it. Has we watched them getting a buzz of seeing them feed the birds took of and I watched them going higher and higher in the sky and flying towards the club coming up the beach and felt sick they had missed them. Later we heard that due to Jeff's fast thinking, he had phoned them and the club managed to get them through the scope, I bet they were happy. On getting back to the car it was decided we would try the local Harrier roost at Llanrhidian marshes. We got there and set up ready for the birds coming in and while we were waitting we got great views of two Great White Egrets, lots of Litttle Egrets, some big flocks of Lapwing and our first Golden Plover of the day. I got onto a Merlin chasing a bird through the sky, it was going up and up before the Merlin caught the the bird which looked like a Snipe. it then dropped like a stone and landed to eat his meal but sadly out of view. The birds came up again and this time it was a Peregrine but it was not lucky and missed its prey and flew off low over the floor and away. The light was starting to go and Martin spotted a Ringtail coming from our right which turned out to be a Hen Harrier and give great views has it passed by. We then decided it was time to head for the hills and call it a day and a great day it was too.  


  1. Three of us posting from the same day out, must be a record. Can Mike make a complete set?

  2. Yes Phil i was thinking no one was going too post so i thought i better had whoops.