Sunday, 28 June 2009

Tales of Ghosts.

South Stack on the Island of Anglesey is another location featured on Spring watch this year. Famous for two reasons, firstly the colony of seabirds such as Guillemots that line the cliffs around the RSPB centre, and secondly for it's haunted lighthouse, rumoured to be the most haunted in the country. I didn't pay the three pounds required to walk out to it to find out.

I did however spend quite a while on the cliffs. I wanted to try and photograph the Chough that use the cliffs to raise their young. I spent a while chasing up and down, exactly as Chris had done in Pembrokeshire, trying to photograph the adults feeding the young. Then I realised that the adults were tending to feed the fledged young in one or two of the more difficult places to capture due to the light. So I decided to sit where the adults were collecting food and see what I could get.

I think that this picture justifies my efforts. There were other species to be seen of course, in addition to the Guillemots and puffins. Stonechat, Linnet, Shore Pipit, Meadow Pipit, All the Gulls, Jackdaw, and Peregrine just to name a few.
Whilst on Anglesey I had spent the previous night on a campsite nearby. It was the Valley of the Rocks at Treaddur bay. It was within a few miles of South Stack and was set on some lovely grounds. A very large site which was unfortunately let down by the condition of the Toilet and shower facilities. They were dirty and in poor repair. Fortunately it was only ten pounds fifty a night including electric hook up. What the site did provide for me however was the best opportunity for sedge warbler I've had to date.

This is just one of a great many shots I took of a pair that were collecting food for chicks nearby. I will be putting other shots onto my website in due course (check out my links for the website).
After a spell at South Stack I headed to RAF Valley still on the Island. RAF Valley is the home of the 208 Reserve squadron flying Hawk mk1/1a aircraft. it is a training squadron that trains newly qualified pilots in their final advance training. There is, surprisingly in this day and age, a viewing area at the end of the runway where members of the public can watch the planes. I had a very enjoyable time watching the aircraft buzz over our heads.

The above is a full frame (camera cropping excluded) shot reduced to fit on this blog, the full picture is much more impressive. Taken on the 300mm lens without a convertor.
I left Anglesey and headed towards Chester and a visit to my mother. On route though I called in at the RSPB reserve at Conwy. The reserve is easily found just off the A55 clearly marked on the approach in both directions. I had never been before. I am saddened to say that when you consider how close it is to my home city of Chester. I should have been on many occasions. I will certainly pay a return visit or two. It was fabulous, a great shop and cafe and a great reserve with an absolute abundance of birds both on the reserve and on the river bank immediately adjacent to the reserve which is walked along to access one of the hides. I saw, Godwit, Oystercatcher, Geese, Merganser, Gulls, Spotted Redshank ( I think, I've yet to confirm identity), Heron, Mallard duck, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Greenfinch, and Long tailed tit. There may have been others.
Unfortunately I arrived late and the light was against me. Also the best hide for photography according to a member of staff was just about to be shut for the night, It encourages vandalism if left open so it is now fitted with a very secure lock. Take note Teifi Marsh!

With the exception of the oystercatcher these pics were a bit rushed. The light was also against me. I was finding it extremely difficult to get the exposure right. I will return early one morning this coming week.
The weekend at mums has so far been filled with jobs and shopping. I am staying at a Caravan Club certified location in the village of Mickle Trafford, it is called Beech Farm. It is very nice. It has a toilet block and shower and facilities for fresh water and waste water disposal. It costs Twelve pounds a night with electric hook up.
I am envious. It was my initial intention to travel straight to Scotland when I got my motorhome, but plans change and the Welsh coast seemed a better place to start. I have no regrets about this decision but I am envious of Chris G who has been to Scotland this week and has apparently captured some great shots of Pine Marten. I look forward to seeing them on his website (see links). I will get up there soon.
I'm going to do Martin mere and have another crack at the Black necked grebe this week. A days fishing back on Anglesey with my brother is also scheduled.
I hope for good weather and will of course keep you up dated as often as possible.

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