Viewing entries tagged
Peregrine Falcon

Gwent Uplands

Another unbelievable sunny day today, perfect for Reptiles and it would seem Butterflies too with Brimstone, Peacock, Red-Admiral, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell all on the wing. I spent most of my time today in search for an Adder but still can’t find one. I think I need to change the method, try and approach it a little differently. Either that, or focus on a new sight instead, maybe somewhere that’s a little less vast.

I only got the camera out once after spotting what I first thought to be a Cuckoo, but luckily it landed on a post and it turned out to be a beautiful Male Merlin! My first adult Male bird and my first on my local moorland. I’ve only seen Merlin a hand full of times, but they’ve all been distant, hunting on the wing or perched a mile off, so it was nice to get one full frame in the scope in beautiful sunshine. A single Peregrine was hunting low to the moors too, flushing all the Skylarks but no catch this time.

In other news, I may have secured a deal with a new distributer for my photography prints. This company offers much better prices than my current dealer which means I can bring down my sale price to something a little more competitive. It also allows me to sell a lot more stuff, like Pillows, T-Shirts, Mugs, Hats, Beanbags, Prints, Canvas’, phone cases and much more. There is a catch however and I’m not sure whether I’ll get around it but the dealer is based in the US / EU. This wouldn’t be an issue but with Brexit coming up, this option may not work out for me as there’s no telling yet if we’ll continue to have free import charges from the EU to the UK. I very much doubt that will be the case, so this might all be a complete waste of time.

Either way the company offer great free mockups and I’ve updated my canvas’ in my store so you can see the difference. Check it out

Also, if you missed Sundays blog, I’m now offering some design services for new local businesses. Read more about it via my new Design Page

Frosty Morning!

Averaging around 0ºc this morning and the birds were really showing a difference in behaviour. On the way to my feeding station I watched a poor Jackdaw getting malled by another Jackdaw and a few Magpies. Birds only really have one thing worth fighting for in the Winter and that's food. Same sort of behaviour at the feeding station also with Blue Tits fighting, rolling on the floor like Dogs! 

Another good morning though and todays surprise visitors came with attitude. Both Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch were jealously competing for the peanuts before I ran out. 

Had lunch at the visitors centre @ Llandegfedd afterwards and the cold weather had brought in a lot more wildfowl that usual. Red / Fieldfare numbers were quite high too, especially at the north end. The annual Peregrine Falcon's are still using the Osprey Pole as a look out along the mud flats. 

Peregrines?.. Not quite

Peregrine Falcons have been nesting at Symonds Yat Rock for many years now and as a result of a fantastic view point, their activities have been studied there for a long time too. We know everything from where the likely nest places are and also where they store their food. The hole in which they store their food is called a larder and it's usually the right hole in the cliff which you can see in the picture... What you may have already seen though is something very strange inside... It is in-fact.. a Canada Goose! I was shocked when someone pointed this out to me, I honestly thought it was just a kill or something but cropping in closer you can see the Canada Goose sat on her eggs! What will happen to the chicks when they hatch you say? Well, they will have to jump! and fall all the way down where hopefully they will have a few obstacles to break their fall. This is actually common for certain species of Geese, especially Barnacle Geese, but this is the first time I've ever seen a Canadian Goose nest this high. Any day now, they'll hatch and will have to endure the drop. Good luck Goose, you're braver than I am. Why nest so high? well, believe it or not, this is actually much safer than nesting on the ground where the eggs will be vulnerable to predators like Foxes, Rats, Badgers and much more on the forest floor or river banks. 

The bird that the Canada Geese may have to deal with at some point is the Peregrine Falcon who is probably pretty annoyed that their larder is occupied by a grumpy goose. This was 1 of the 2 female birds I saw flying around the cliffs but the male also showed for a little while, landing on the cliff for a rest and flying back out to hunt. Their activities should pick up soon when their own chicks hatch. 

Below is a telephoto landscape of one of the iconic views from Yat Rock. I've tried to make it look like a Tilt Shift effect to add a little depth of field. Below that is a picture of a Song Thrush which was happily picking for worms around peoples feet at Goytre Warf to feed his/her young. 

Llandegfedd Reservoir Caddis Fly Larvae / Teal

Spent the morning with great company at the feeding station today in what ended up being a fabulous sunny day! It really felt like spring and sounded like it too with Greater Spotted Woodpeckers drilling away in the trees and plenty of birds in full song. Below I've included a short video of 2 of my favourite sightings from todays visit. 1 of which I've never seen before and that was a huge gathering of Caddis Fly Larvae, like to be Limnephilus marmoratus but not entirely sure just yet. Another great gathering at Green Pool Hide with 100+ Teal 10 Wigeon and 2 Snipe. The local Peregrine Falcones were showing well today also along with a single Male Goosander. Lots of plants emerging with Celandine popping up everywhere and plenty of Snowdrops too. Particular favourite for me is seeing the Lords and Ladies plant emerge in their spiral fashion as the leaves unfold in what's quite an interesting plant. 

Coastal Walk

So far the trip has been full of Kestrels, Plain Swifts, Canary Island Chiffchaffs, African Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Sardinian Warblers, Blackcaps and of course, Canaries (in the millions) and that is just outside the hotel.. I did however take a walk along the coastal path today to find a little more variety, including this iconic Juvi Peregrine Flacon checking out all the pigeons 150ft below on a cactus cliff. It's a shot that I've been hoping I would get and it doesn't quite feel real. 

As if that wasn't enough, it was later being mobbed by a Kestrel and I just about managed to get the both of them in the same shot! 

Teal & Wigeon Magic

For many hours I have sat inside Green Poole Hide at Llandegfedd during every season but by far the most amazing experience I've had has been during winter when the wintering Teal and Wigeon arrive. The sound of Teal is just magical, it just doesn't sound like a Duck! It sounds even more incredible when you get 200+ birds gather in a small pool. I ran back to the car in the rain to get my recording gear as they all of a sudden started to perform mating rituals in the centre of the pool having spent most of the time around the edge resting. Suddenly the place came alive with sound. I've done the best I could to record this experience for you but it was taken inside a hide so you will hear a few creaks and cracks from the wood work. I hope you enjoy the recording. 

Is that an Osprey on the Osprey Platform?! no.. It's 'just' a Peregrine Falcon! No biggy! 

Llandegfedd Chaos & Early trip to Forest of Dean

During a buzz of spotting my first Bewicks Swans (Later ID'd to be Whoopers!**) for Llandegfedd, I noticed that there was something going on at the visitors centre car park. Looks like a car may have had their handbreak fail or something as there was 2 fire engines and lots of police trying to attend someone in the lower car that might have been hit by the falling car.  (speculation) I hope nobody was hurt. 

Feeding station is doing really well! Lots of activity with the added addition of a Nuthatch amongst the typicals. In other news, 2 Peregrines were on the banks of the North end having been hunting along the waters edge. Male and Female! Beautiful birds. 

Really early trip to Symonds Yat Rock this morning with good friend Ian Howells to see a Marsh Tit and a stop off on the way home at Cefn Ila where we saw a Red Admiral feeding on an ivy bush along with lots of Honey Bees! Making the most of the sun while it was out!. 

Symonds Yat Rock / Peregrine Falcons

It's never a dull day at Symonds Yat! We had several views of a distant Goshawk hunting through the woodland and even chasing a Sparrowhawk at one point. The Gos didn't fly within camera range but no worries! Because our Peregrines put on a fairly decent show today! Both Female and Male were present all day and we even had a Juvi Male which the Female spotted way before we did and seen it off just after I managed to get a photo. The Juvi Male is in the bottom right corner and the local female is up top. They are possibly nesting in a different spot this year compared to previous years on a part of the cliff that you wouldn't really expect but it really does show how good that cliff actually is for them that they can change the location every year a pick various different spots. The Ravens stole the photography show however and it was nice to get to see the Deer, even if it was from 300ft up.