Gower, Barmouth, RAW and off to Strumble Head

Thursday, September 10, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


This is a bit of a mismash of updates covering the last week or so and so must begin with an update on the ten Glossy Ibis which turned up at Old Pembrey Harbour at the end of last week. My previous post showed just how close these birds were to the road and how obliging they were in posing for photographs. I visited again late Saturday afternoon and all of the birds were still present and even closer, if you can imagine that, to the road. My parents were visiting for the weekend so this proved an added bonus as it was a life tick for both. The Ibis stayed on the field till around 6.50 am on the 7th September at which point they took flight after being scared by a dog and headed East. At the time of writing there have been no further sightings in the region so it can be presumed that they have moved on for good. If you live East of Swansea then it's probably worth keeping a good eye out just in case they decide to pop on your local patch. As for the origin of this flock, an initial report on the rings indicates that these were ringed in DoƱana, some of them this Spring. I will update with any more information as and when I get it.

Saturday saw me take a walk from Penrice castle along the coast to Three Cliffs Bay, before looping back inland along the spine of Cefn Bryn. As expected for this time of year the birds on display were rather limited and the lighting was terrible for photography anyway. We did get excellent views of a Kestrel hunting along the cliffs, as well as a couple of juvenile Stonechats and a family of Blackcaps at Three Cliffs Bay. Also of note was a single Garden Warbler of which I managed to get a record shot. Considering this is supposedly one of the most common birds in the country, this is only the second individual that I have been confident in identifying. Up on Cefn Bryn itself I finally saw my first Wheatear of the year for Wales. On Mull around Easter they were everywhere but numbers seem drastically down in my part of Wales this year. I'd be interested to see if anyone has any official statistics or details concerning whether or not this has been a bad year elsewhere. A quick visit to Mumbles delivered another five adult and one juvenile Mediterranean Gull, whilst another couple were present at Sandy Water Park near Llanelli. This was another life tick for my parents so all in all it proved to be a rather successful day.

11421 - Mediterranean Gulls at Bracelet Bay, Mumbles 11422 - Garden Warbler

From Monday to Wednesday I went to Barmouth with some old school friends to wind down a bit. Birding was obviously limited but a walk over the railway bridge did deliver numerous Oystercatchers and Meadow Pipits. Strangely I didn't see a single Red Kite for the whole of my three day stay. Buzzards were present in good numbers though and were frequently heard calling from trees or overhead. The walk also yielded a superb Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) devouring some freshly caught prey, as well as a Fox Moth caterpillar.

11440 - Garden Spider 11439 - Fox Moth Caterpillar
Garden Spider (left) and Fox Moth Caterpillar (right)

On my way back I popped into the Dyfi Osprey project near Machynlleth. However the two birds that were present have now moved on to begin their migration back to Africa.

I mentioned in the title for this post RAW. On a return trip to see the Glossy Ibis I decided to have a go at shooting RAW for the first time seeing as my camera has the capability. Taking the pictures was virtually the same apart from an extra second to store the picture onto the memory card. All good so far. However, when I came to edit them I just couldn't get the results that I was looking for. The pictures either weren't sharp enough, the colour was off or the whole thing just ended up looking a mess. I am using Silkypix to do the processing as this came bundled with the camera. I am sure that it is a very good program, but for a complete novice it is a bit daunting. I think that a lot more practice is needed. For now I will shoot in RAW + JPEG mode so that I can have a bit of a play without losing any shots due to my ineptitude with Silkypix.

And finally. At long last we have a high pressure sitting over the country for the next few days meaning good weather is on the cards. To make the most of it I am going to Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire to get a bit of sea watching in as well as walk a bit more of the coastal path. If I see even half of the species that have been seen over the last few days there then I am looking for at least five new lifers so I am rather excited. Wish me look and I will bring you all the news on my return.

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