Mediterranean Gull Red YHE8
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012 Adam Tilt 8 Comments
09.05.2009. Palić lake,Subotica,Vojvodina(RS78),Serbia 46º04'29"N ; 019º43'09"E A.Žuljević & N.Spremo
13.10.2009. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W B. Stewart
19.10.2009. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W B. Stewart
16.07.2010. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W B. Stewart
02.07.2011. Csaj-to,Tömörkény,Csongrád(HG43),Hungary 46°34'29"N ; 020°04'41"E A. Mórocz
16.07.2011. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W A. John
23.07.2011. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W A. John
24.07.2011. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W B. Stewart
25.09.2011. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W A. John
25.10.2011. Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 004.00W A. John
16.03.2012. Csaj-to,Tömörkény,Csongrád(HG43),Hungary 46°34'29"N ; 020°04'41"E G. Hajas
21.08.2012. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W A. John
22.08.2012. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W D. & M. Sawyer
29.09.2012. Bracelet Bay, Swansea ,(GBW?), Wales , UK 51.34N 003.59W A. Tilt
Midlands Fungi Forage
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Adam Tilt 8 Comments
Our arrival was greeted by the calls of a large Long Tailed Tit flock so we paused to await their appearance. Listening to them approach was like waiting for a jet to pass overhead. Volume and intensity steadily increased with nothing visible through the still thick vegetation, until all of a sudden they were upon us. What had been a tranquil scene was suddenly a chaotic mass of swirling wings as the tiny birds moved rapidly from tree to tree, passing through within a matter of moments. Amongst them we glimpsed an occasional Goldcrest, Blue Tit and Great Tit whilst Robins and Wrens struggled to make themselves heard above the din. Out in the open and once again enjoying the peace we were pleased to see a Buzzard and a pair of Sparrowhawks above the trees. Their presence here no doubt explains my sightings of the latter species in and around a couple of local gardens. Other birds seen included a Goldfinch and Song Thrush, but still no sign of my first autumn Redwing. With a visit to Norfolk on the cards soon however it can only be a matter of time.
There was even more interest to be found on the ground where a fascinating array of Fungi were thriving in the damp conditions. Regular readers will know that this is an area where I have been trying to increase my knowledge recently so I set about photographing as many as I could. I've spent the best part of this evening trying to identify each in turn and these are the results.
Artist's Fungus (Ganoderma applanatum)
Common Funnel (Clitocybe gibba)
Common Bonnet (Mycena galericulata)
Cinnamon Webcap (Cortinarius cinnamomeus)
Yellow Knight (Tricholoma equestre)
As always the above names are correct to the best of my abilities, but please let me know if I've got anything wrong.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012 Adam Tilt 4 Comments
Burry Port High Tide
Friday, October 19, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012 Adam Tilt 2 Comments
The Coastguard soon joined us to keep an eye on proceedings, their flashing blue lights only adding to the party atmosphere. Indeed if it wasn't for various people illuminating the water with their car headlights we wouldn't have been able to see much at all as it's almost pitch black there at night. Surprisingly the sea was at its highest for only a few minutes before dropping back down to a less invasive level. Even so there is a lot of clearing up to do over the coming days but recent improvements to the defences seem to have done a good job. We can probably consider ourselves lucky however as the wind was not as strong as first forecast and didn't coincide with the very highest tide. It would have been interesting to see the results if they had.
Port Eynon to Oxwich Point
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Adam Tilt 9 Comments
Fast forward to Saturday and it was round two between me and Port Eynon. Thankfully this time I had the weather on my side and set off along the beach towards Oxwich. Six Ringed Plovers and a calling Dunlin were doing their best to find a quiet stretch of sand near the lifeguard hut, whilst a Shore Crab was definitely regretting its discovery by one of the marauding Herring Gulls. All kept their distance until we spotted this Wheatear on the rocks.
As with other migrants at this time of year I'm constantly aware that each one I see could very well be my last until next spring. This applies even more so to our aerial visitors which made the presence of several small flocks of Swallows and a single movement of 26 House Martins that much more gratifying. It was a particularly nice surprise to see the latter as I don't think I'd seen any up to that point for at least a month. At ground level the sound of Robins defending their territory served as an ever present audio backdrop, but the hoped for first Redwing of the autumn failed to materialise. There were certain compensations though including this male Stonechat at Horton. For a species that I used to struggle to photograph it seems I can do no wrong at present.
The days star birds were to be found midway towards Oxwich Point and came in the shape of a pair of Kestrels. They were both hunting along the footpath and afforded us superb views both in flight and as they perched in an adjoining field. Better was to come though when one of the birds made a successful kill and started to devour its prey on a nearby fence post. With that position clearly not to its liking it instead took to the air and continued its meal on the wing. I've seen this behaviour before but never at such close quarters and it was spectacular to say the least.
By the time we finally reached the Point we'd added a couple of Curlew, a Grey Heron and six Oystercatchers to our list, along with a surprisingly large number of Wood Pigeons. Whether or not it was the same flock we kept seeing I can't be sure, but there were certainly more than I have ever seen there before.
A surprise was waiting in store for us at the top of the cliffs where a tumbledown wall and a chance stop found us face to face with a Weasel! It darted back between the stones before popping its head above the parapets again moments later. This went on for a good few minutes before it finally ran into a hole not to return, no doubt encouraged into hiding by the calls of a Buzzard drifting ever nearer. I last saw a Weasel on Gower well over two years ago and on that occasion didn't have my camera to hand. Thankfully this time I was a lot better prepared.
Our return route took us inland towards Oxwich castle where a Chiffchaff and probable (although very late) Garden Warbler were skulking through the trees. A Mistle Thrush could be heard calling from the other side of a hedgerow but remained out of sight. From that point on it was more of the same with a fly over Great Spotted Woodpecker rounding the day off nicely.
Mewslade - Stonechats, Lesser Whitethroats and more
Friday, October 12, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012 Adam Tilt 8 Comments
Other than a couple of distant Choughs that pretty much rounded out our weekend on the bird front. However there was one more nice find in the shape of this Harvestman Spider. I've not been able to pin it down to an exact species yet but it was a real beauty to behold.
As the shots above show, we found it hiding in a crack amongst the exposed limestone above Mewslade Bay. It would only emerge when one or other of our hands got a little too close, behaviour which I'd rather attribute to a defence than an attack instinct. Either way a great looking thing and I'd be grateful if anyone could let me know the exact species.
Strumble - Wryneck, Dartford Warbler and Seals
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 Adam Tilt 12 Comments
Other adult Seals were also in the vicinity with at least one paying a visit to another of the pups. A frosty reception was quickly on hand for the large individual who happened to stray too close to our friend above however. A steely stare and a loud grunt seemed to get the message across and the intruder was sent packing. Further Grey Seals were seen all along the coast until we turned back at Pwll Deri, with the rocky beach at Porth Maenmelyn being a particular favourite. There we saw at least another six pups with as many adults dozing away the afternoon sunshine. If I'd thought about it at the time I would have recorded a few of their vocalisations as they really are an extraordinary sound.
On the bird front a steady trickle of the common species including Stonechat, Wren and Meadow Pipit kept things ticking along, but I think we can all guess what happened next. The northern slopes of Porth Maenmelyn was the location and a family group of Stonechats the trigger. We'd understandably stopped to watch them go about their business when Emma piped up that there was a Dartford Warbler in amongst them. I obviously kept a cool exterior as my eyes darted frantically across the vegetation seeing nothing other than Stonechats. After what seemed like an age I finally spotted the immature Dartford in a Gorse bush. It was quick moving but I fired off a few distant shots from the footpath to at least get a record having never photographed the species previously.
At this point the inevitably large group of walkers talking at the tops of their voices emerged around the corner from a landscape that we'd had to ourselves for much of the last hour. Even standing with camera to eye offered no hint that a degree of discretion may have been in order, and of course the Dartford did one of their famous vanishing acts. Once the coast was clear I retraced my steps back the way we'd come a little and somehow managed to flush what I initially thought was a large Thrush. My general impression was of something with much more barred plumage however as I turned to Emma and said "I don't think you're going to believe this". The irony is that only a few minutes ago I'd joked that a Wryneck was definitely on the cards for the day, and here we were with one at our fingertips. But what if we couldn't find it for that conclusive id? I needn't have worried as I relocated it straight away on a nearby fence post.
As my previous entry has shown, the alarm calls of a Dartford Warbler indicated that the Wryneck was not a welcome visitor. It was with some surprise however that a male bird popped up to defend itself, taking our Dartford count to two. And no, I still can't believe our good fortune. That was not the end of our encounter with the Wryneck however as almost an hour later on the opposite side of the cove we were astounded to see it flying straight for us. It briefly alighted on the ground, decided that it had clearly made an error of judgement and headed straight back in the direction that it had come. Even a pair of Ravens dive bombing us and a quartet of Choughs couldn't better that. In fact the only thing that could was finding the Wryneck again on our return route in almost exactly the same place and this time even closer.
Simply outstanding and a day that will live long in my memory.
Wryneck vs Dartford Warbler in Pembrokeshire
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Saturday, October 06, 2012 Adam Tilt 7 Comments
I found this Wryneck in an area of Gorse just off the main path and couldn't contain my excitement as it hopped through the vegetation and from fence post to fence post. It proved to be incredibly approachable and is by far the best bird I have ever self found. Things were about to get even better though as one of two Dartford Warblers who were also in the vicinity took a distinct dislike to our migrant visitor. It got closer and closer until finally they came face to face.
To see either of these species is always a treat, but to get them both together in the same photograph? That must be almost unheard of and I'm still buzzing now.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Thursday, October 04, 2012 Adam Tilt 5 Comments
I've used the same locations several times now and am planning on trying out a few new sites in the near future. As I've mentioned previously the Bulwark on Llanmadoc Hill is definitely top of my list, but Port Eynon and even the Helvetia shipwreck are opportunities that I have yet to fully explore. Who knows, I may even attempt a sunrise sometime soon if I can just convince myself to get up early enough!
Hermit Crab Battle Royale
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Tuesday, October 02, 2012 Adam Tilt 4 Comments
In the same small pool a flash of movement beneath the water alerted me to the presence of a Rock Goby, which then rather handily paused out in the open and in a well lit spot. Normally they are off into cover at the merest hint of something approaching so this was a rare opportunity to get a good look at one.
The real action was provided by the Hermit Crabs however, of which there must have been hundreds across the pools we studied. The shallow water was absolutely teaming with them, large and small, but it was this individual attacking a partially opened Mussel that I decided to stay with.
At one point another larger Hermit Crab turned up on the scene and proceeded to try and claim dominance over the clearly valuable food source. They went hammer and tongs at each other for a good few minutes, and I'm still not sure who finished up victorious. All I can say is there wasn't much left of the Mussel afterwards.
Fortunately I remembered the video mode on my camera and took a few clips as the action above was unfolding. Together they portray the scene far better than a series of photographs ever could, and even feature a couple of other creatures joining in from the sidelines. Battle commences at the 1:47 mark, with a brief appearance from the Rock Goby a few seconds later.
Crymlyn Bog and Bracelet Bay
Monday, October 01, 2012
Monday, October 01, 2012 Adam Tilt 6 Comments
We got a small taster of how special this place can be within minutes of leaving the car, when beneath a decent passage of Swallows a very healthy looking Fox ambled across the hill below us. It was by far the biggest and bushiest individual I have seen which must mean there is a decent food supply nearby (maybe that rubbish dump isn't a total disaster after all). Buzzards, Green Woodpeckers, Reed Buntings, Jays, a Sparrowhawk, Song Thrush and yet more Swallows were all seen in quick succession as we continued around the reserve, but it was a dragonfly that first fell under the gaze of my lens. This male Migrant Hawker was posing beautifully in the early morning sun and represents a new species for me.
Back to the birds and a special mention should go to the numerous Great Spotted Woodpeckers who seemed to be flitting through every small copse of trees we passed. Apart from the individual we had in our garden a few weeks ago I've really not seen very many this year, so it was a real treat. One even posed out in the open just long enough for me to grab a shot.
From Crymlyn Bog we headed over to Brunel Dock where there was lots and lots of mud. And a Redshank. But that was about it. From there it was over to Bracelet Bay in what is rapidly becoming our destination of choice when we have a few hours to kill. It was good to see that work is progressing well on the restoration of Mumbles Pier and that the works aren't having any discernible impact on the surrounding environment. In fact the rock pools out towards Mumble Head were filled with more life than I have ever seen, including a spectacular array of Hermit Crabs. I'll save those for a future post though. My real aim was to try and photograph the Turnstones that have been evading me ever since I upgraded my camera. Again they were pretty flighty due to the number of people present but I did manage to creep up on a pair that were very accommodating.
The shot above was the best of the bunch but I think I'll have to wait until later in the year to get some better results. Unusually there was also a Red Admiral butterfly on the foreshore. I guess everything likes to spend a bit of time by the sea.
Back in Bracelet Bay itself and I was very pleased to see that there has been a sharp increase in the number of Mediterranean Gulls present. I counted at least nine individuals but it is likely that there were many more. Their favoured position, as always, was on the grass opposite the car park which is an absolute pig to photograph against. If you aren't dodging the road then they're off before you can get close. I did spot a few up by the coastguard station however which proved to be much more approachable.
I also got a shot of one bird wearing a red ring that read YHE8. I shall send the details off to the relevant ringing body and will report back once I have its history.
- Hello! I'm a thirty something blogger based in Wales with an avid interest in birds, nature, wildlife photography, walking, mountain climbing and kayaking. I love anything that involves the natural world and being outside, though rain and I just don't get along. We regularly find ourselves venturing to the Isle of Mull and harbour dreams to move there one day soon. This blog aims to share our adventures and, who knows, hopefully inspire a few people along the way.
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