The Calm Before The Storm

Sunday, February 01, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


With the weather forecast looking decidedly dodgy for the forthcoming week, last weekend saw us head back to Rhossili in the hope that the Fulmars would still be around so that I could get some photographs. Unfortunately this was not to be and the reason soon became apparent. A male Peregrine Falcon swooped down and landed on the cliffs in the exact spot that the Fulmars had been using a week before. We had excellent views that were only interrupted by a dark Robin shaped bird hopping around the cliffs not far away. Low and behold it was a Black Redstart. This is a bird that I have tried to see on a number of occasions but I have always turned up on the wrong day. I would never have expected to see one at Rhossili so it came as an excellent surprise. Thinking that would be the highlight of the day we decided to go for a walk across the tidal strip of land to Worms Head. We didn't get far.

At the far edge of the landward side of the causeway my eyes were drawn to a single Ringed Plover combing the shore. Whilst watching nothing less than a Water Pipit flew into my telescopes vision. Considering I had never seen one of these until the end of last year this was something like my fourth individual. I can only assume that there has been a considerable influx this winter or I have just got better at picking up on the subtle differences when compared to the Rock Pipit. No sooner had I identified the Pipit than a group of four waders walked onto the scene. And blow me if they weren't Purple Sandpipers. My only previous sighting of these birds was a single individual on Port Eynon beach last winter. This time I was much better prepared. For a start I actually knew what the birds were (always helps), and I also had my camera with me. For some reason the Sandpipers are incredibly tolerant of people and I was able to get within five meters or so. Unfortunately it was rather dark and blowing a gale so the quality of the pictures did suffer a bit. Even so I got a couple that I am proud of and those can be seen in this post.

On Sunday we went to the WWT at Llanelli. The highlights were two Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank feeding very close in to the Michael Powell hide. Elsewhere on the reserve there was reported to be a Scaup but we had no luck in tracking it down. It was however nice to see a Little Grebe back on the site for the first time in a couple of months.

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