Sunday dawned drab and dreary so after a very nice cooked breakfast at the B&B we returned to Ynyslas hoping for another crack at those Scoters. Although the sea was a bit calmer the Common Scoter rafts were still too far away for me to be happy at distinguishing the two species apart. I turned my attention back to the car park where I was happy to see the Snow Buntings were still feeding in the same position as yesterday. One seemed to have departed overnight however as there were now only four birds present. A word of warning that if you visit the Ynyslas Turn car park watch out for the golfers! One took a shot directly at my car as I drove in which fortunately just missed.
The main location for the day was the RSPB reserve at Ynys Hir. The center feeders were busy with six Coal Tits as well as a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, a single Nuthtach, Greenfich, Chaffinch and Siskin. The visit was a massive success as we got to see over two hundred Barnacle Geese feeding on the estuary. Other geese species included Greylag and Canada but unfortunately we couldn’t find the small flock of Greenland White Fronted Geese that are out there somewhere. Other notable species included a hundred or so Wigeon, a male Goosander, Common Snipe, Oystercatcher, Redshank and another Kingfisher. Two Reed Buntings were a nice addition although they gave me a good run around as I tried to photograph them. A Goldcrest up in the forest added some nice colour to the day. The award for best moment of the day though has to go to the male Hen Harrier that swept past us in the Breakwater Hide. We had noticed a flock of Starlings take to the air before he glided past just the other side of the railway line. A few moments later and back he came, this time on our side of the railway embankment and as close as I could ever have hoped for with his dangling yellow legs showing brilliantly.
A final stop at Ynyslas in the evening couldn’t relocate the Snow Buntings but a Great Crested Grebe off shore was a nice find, as was the mixed group of Ringed Plovers and Sanderling that briefly landed on the sand.
Back at Aberystwyth and the BBC Autumnwatch activities had kicked up another gear. A small group of people on the end of the pier looked to have some familiar silhouettes and quickly turned out to be Chris Packham and Kate Humble preparing to present a piece to camera. While waiting for the Starlings to arrive the Kingfisher was once again on the rocks but this time actually fishing. We saw it successfully return with a catch on a number of occasions after diving into the rock pools. One dive looked to have been a bit ambitious as the awkwardness suggested that the Kingfisher had somewhat overestimated the depth of the water!
Who is that standing on the end of Aberystwyth Pier?
It’s Chris Packham and Kate Humble!
With a rather nice sunset developing the Starlings arrived, though they were considerably later than the previous evening and went to roost much quicker and with less aerial acrobatics. I believe that the late evening sun had probably encouraged them to stay out on their feeding grounds for a bit longer than normal hence the rather hurried arrival. Usually I photograph the flock from a good distance in order to avoid the droppings but this time I tried out a location much closer and from a lower vantage point. I like the different perspective that I was able to capture and even managed to avoid being plopped on.
I recommend watching Autumnwatch this Thursday to see the finished results. I certainly will be and will have my finger over the pause button trying to spot myself in the background. Sad I know but they say everyone gets their two minutes of fame.
Sunset at the end of filming and a perfect weekend
I have also submitted this post for a new meme World Bird Wednesday hosted by Springman over at Pine River Review so please check it out and join in the fun.