This afternoon promised little but came up trumps – no competition-winning pics but a couple of great birds.
It started at the Spinnies. The roadside hide proved to be a big disappointment with only Blue Tits and Mallard on show. The car park at the end was different. Immediately obvious were 72 Mute Swans, drifting long only 10 feet from the shore in a line that was over 100m long.
I had heard that there were Eider around and it’s definitely true, they were everywhere. Small groups were dotted around on the water along with a pair who were proudly guarding their single fluffball duckling.
Moving on to Llanfairfechan I caught sight of a couple of Manx Shearwaters, one of my favourite birds. I love their mastery of the air as they graze the wave crests. At one point they even came in to investigate as a windsurfer briefly parted company with his board. Fantastic birds! (click on any pic for a larger image)
The windsurfer survived his ducking. I just hope that he cherished that view of the Manxie. I would!
A couple of weeks ago a nice lady at Conwy RSPB asked me if I had any photos of Six-Spotted Burnet Moths on Ragwort, as she was working on an information board about Ragwort. When I got home I checked my stock and found that I had photos of Burnet Moths – but always on thistles. At Conwy today I made amends.
Settling into Benarth hide I soon realised that there was a melee of moths right in front of me – and settling on the Ragwort too! No excuse then!
Bird-wise I have started setting myself a target bird – today it was to be Common Sandpiper. Well there were lots of birds around including distant Common Sandpipers on all the islands but much too far away for photos. It was high tide and the Oystercatchers had come in for their daily bathe – as if they weren’t smart enough already…..
A Magpie was sifting through the long grass after insects. It was unusually close to the hide, giving me a chance to get what was almost a macro shot of that murderous bill. I, for one, wouldn’t fancy being pecked by that!
Other birds kept their distance. The Great Crested Grebes were taking their stripy youngsters for an outing and a single Redshank and Dunlin stayed annoying out of camera range. A couple of Black-Tailed Godwits were slightly more obliging.
and then, just as I was about to leave, a Common Sandpiper appeared from nowhere, right in front of me. Mission accomplished!