Saturday morning saw an early start for me and my son, Lee. We were at the Elan valley just before 7am. The weather was absolutely stunning although there was a biting wind. Our first sighting was a group of three Red Kite, I managed a distant shot over a hedge.
We saw quite a few Kite during the morning but none came close enough for a better shot. For those who know where the Kites normally nest in the Elan it appears that they are not this year.
The next thing we saw and heard were Skylarks, lots of them singing and one or two on the ground.
There were the usual amount of Meadow Pipits. Although they were surprisingly jittery and we couldnt get too close to them
We saw Pied Flycatcher also which was nice. Didn't get a shot though. Wheatear were seen, as was a lovely Kestrel. No Stonechat, whinchat, or Grasshopper Warbler, which is really surprising.
We decided to shoot over to Gilfach Nature reserve, its the worst kept secret in the photography world. It started with just a few photographers going there year or three ago, but now its innundated every weekend.
we got there just after 9.30 and there were already half a dozen photographists there. Amongst them was a chap I've met before called Steve Seal. I have seen Steve's pics on BG regularly and he is a great photographer. Pip and his wife were there as you would expect and even though Its been over 12 months since I've been there Pip recognised me immediately and gave me a top that I had left there on my previous visit, washed and ironed I might add. Pip was his usual informative self and was supplying mealworm for those who hadn't brought any. The redstart don't appear to have chicks yet so the visits to the food were few and far between. I didnt get a shot. I did get Pied flycatchers though at the Otter hide as well as at the centre.
I also got my best shot of a Lesser Redpoll. I am most pleased with this.
So that was the trip to Powys, very enjoyable and hopefully to be repeated again soon.
This morning I treated myself to a slight lie in, I was up at 6.30am and at the gravel pits outside of Hereford before 8.00am I was concerned by my first sight at the reserve,
This is a Mute Swans nest, the two swans were some 100 yards or so away from it and did not seem to be at all concerned about it. You cannot see it from this shot but a close up shows the eggs all wet, I presume covered in dew. Unfortunately when I walked back to my car about 2 hours later the nest was still not being sat on. I remember last week when I was there that there was another swan on the pond and two of the birds were chasing each other all over the place, I wonder if it was a take over by a rogue male?
I hope the nest has not been deserted.
Nearby was this Dunnock, have you ever listened to Dunnocks singing? Its a beautiful sound, as good as any other song bird. they take a good photo as well.
There were a large number of Sedge Warblers around also singing their heads off.
and Common Whitethroat.
The stars of the day though were these little beauties. I sat and watched these for a few minutes, cursing that there was a bramble branch casting a shadow on them.
The reserve is recovering from flooding, I saw one pair of Canada Geese on a nest, so they are trying again.
The Willow Warblers were there and flitting around all over the place.
Thanks for looking and click for bigger pics.