It may have been a quiet few weeks on the blog but let me assure you that away from the interwebs things have been anything but. I’ve just returned from another fantastic fortnight on the Isle of Mull where the wildlife encounters once again managed to better anything I could have imagined. More on that across the next couple of weeks provided this heat doesn’t finish me off first. For now though just a quick update on a local rarity that popped up during our time away and which has very kindly stuck around for our return. Such politeness cannot simply be ignored so I took a couple of hours out of the chores today to pop over to the WWT Llanelli reserve and say hello. It being a new life tick for me and the prospect of unpacking and washing played no part in the making of this decision.
Initially we headed to the NRA scrapes where a sleeping Spoonbill and four Black-tailed Godwits pretty much summed up the birds present. Glancing across to the Michael Powell hide it quickly became apparent that all the action was happening there however judging from the large flock of waders gathered for its viewing pleasure. A few minutes later we’d picked our way through a sizeable gathering of 77 Redshanks to finally spot the Lesser Yellowlegs. It was quite distant and into the sun but those legs were clear to see and it was a really neat looking thing. Despite the best will in the world though I couldn’t get anything on camera worth sharing and indeed thought I never would as it took flight after about fifteen minutes of observation. Fortunately it didn’t go far and was quickly relocated on the NRA scrapes where I finally got one of my world famous record shots.
It’s at times like these when the video mode on digital cameras really comes into its own as I set about recording feeding and other general behaviour. As a record these short clips serve as a much better reminder of events than a simple photo and I now record them as a rule when encountering any new species. On more than one occasion their watching has revealed several small details that I’d missed while out in the field. This is today’s effort.
Of course a single bird in a large expanse of water is not the best way to judge size, so with much effort I managed to organise a comparison video featuring a Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit. I’ll let you be the judge as to who was trying to hog the limelight.
Another long staying visitor which I’d yet to catch up with was a male Ruff, so I was very happy to see it feeding amongst the aforementioned Redshanks. There was a fair amount of jostling going on amongst the group and I managed to capture one of the best attacks on camera. Keep an eye out around the twenty five second mark for the Ruff receiving a sharp shock. I still laugh watching it back now.
Hopefully both birds will stay around for a while longer and I may pop back again next weekend to try and improve on the photo that opened this entry. It would be nice to see the Spoonbill actually awake as well for a change as I missed its few seconds of activity today.