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Seasons Greetings at Ogmore

I really hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas and continues to celebrate into the new year. Whilst we all celebrate Christmas in our own way, for some it’s not a celebration at all and my heart goes out to all that are struggling in this completely failed system. Brexit couldn’t have come at a worse time!


I managed to get out with the camera yesterday, opting to go to Ogmore again after having such a great time there on the 13th. I went straight for the Purple Sandpiper, finding them in the same place as before but this time only 6 Birds present. The tide was much higher this time which I thought would be a good thing, but turned out to be a bit of a barrier as it made the rocks into more of an island, just slightly out of reach. Prior to this, I did get some shots I was happy with. For me the Rock Pipits stole the show, as they spent most of the day devouring Sea Slaters. Every-time the Rock Pipit would catch one, it would fly off with it as if they were scared I would steal it from them. Seeing the amount of insects reminded me why our coastline is so important for birds throughout the colder winter months.

I met a young local birder called Tom Wright who also took an interest in the Purple Sandpiper. It’s always a pleasure to meet others that share the same passion for wildlife / photography but even better to see these qualities in the younger generation. Here’s Tom Wrights twitter page and Flickr page.

Fox hunting

Boxing day came and this Christmas, the opposition for Fox hunting was really strong and got quite a bit of media coverage. I don’t condone any sort of violence, but it was good to see people taking a stand for what they believe is wrong. I too find it extremely barbaric to hunt Foxes with a pack of Dogs and it’s surprising just how much evidence there is online thanks to saboteurs uncovering the truth-that Fox hunting in this manner is still very much so at large, despite being illegal. To continue the tradition, Fox hunters have pledged that they will follow false Fox urine trails to prevent any Fox deaths, but the issue with this is that these trails are often set throughout the countryside where real Foxes live and it’s very easy for a pack of Dogs to catch onto a real Fox trail. Research needs to be done to find out how often this happens, and how many Foxes are still continued to be killed in this manner. Labour have caught onto this and have pledged they will enforce stricter Laws. Read more HERE. Theresa May however wants to bring Fox Hunting back because she believes a Fox being ripped apart by a pack of Dogs is more humane than being shot in the head?.. When I hear thoughts like this coming from the leader of our country, it really makes me worry. It shows that she’s in the pocket of the privileged.

Christmas Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year extremely hard. Just too many people for me. Even this Jackdaw was finding the Christmas shopping a little hard this year as Mcd’s have splashed out for the extra thick bin bags but went for the clear option so you could see what you’re missing out on. A whole new element to animal cruelty… lol.

Jackdaw Christmas Shopping

I planned on shopping today, but instead opted for a short walk along the Usk river in Newport. I hoped to see the annually returning Mediterranean Gull that winters at Newport Mcd’s but they must have been feeding elsewhere. I did however have 15 Redshank, 2 Rock Pipit, 3 Goosander and a single Oystercatcher along the Usk River.

Rock Pipit



Non-natives & Order Call

Today I took an hour to investigate reports of a Female Mandarin near the 14 Locks stretch of Canal, pictures online of which looked to actually be a Female Wood Duck. I’m not overly familiar with Wood Duck, till today anyway. After finding the bird, Wood Duck was confirmed with all the right features, with thick white eye-ring, point towards the eye at the base of bill, saturated wing tips, and upturned thin flank stripes. Not only that, the bird seemed to be quite chunky, only slightly smaller than the accompanied Mallards. Both Wood Duck and Mandarin are invasive species and spark a bit of controversy amongst naturalists as they have the potential to unbalance native populations of wildfowl by competing for similar food supplies. Personally, I’m unconvinced on this argument, and see them as a species that fit into their own category, but unlike invasive predators, it’s very difficult to assess the impact of invasive species like this. Mandarin and Wood Duck nest in holes in Trees which rules out any breeding competition with our native Ducks, but it does mean they occupy the same nesting holes as many of our Birds of Prey like Kestrels and Owls, most of which are in serious decline. As with everything in conservation, nothing is straight forward and the area of wildlife control creates even more controversy.

Here is a picture of this very Wood Duck. Likely to be an escapee from a collection rather than a wild bird, but beautiful either way.

Female Wood Duck

A call out to anyone interested in purchasing prints for Christmas. If anybody desires any of my photographs in the last couple of years for yourself or your loved ones, now is the time to get your orders in. If ordered within the next three weeks I can guarantee it will make it in time for Christmas. My most popular prints are listed below but I have many more. I’m also offering personal wildlife sound recording and photography workshops with a special featured sale on Woodland Bird Photography based at Ian Howell’s professional Bird hide setup.

Feeling Festive

You'll already know at this point if you live in the Uk that the weather has been pretty.. wet. Today being probably the worse rain we've had in a long time! It seemed pointless to go out in this but I had half day so I went straight out to the feeders. Between downpours came some really creative light which made it feel very festive. I hope the images prove this festivity. 

On that note, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!