News and Pictures - Gwent & Glocs - to 30th June 2011
22nd June. Really exciting! Working from home for the morning and while saying bye to the kids, noticed a Rook sat hapily on our roof in nice light. Nipped in, got the camera, took some shots, came back in and carried on working! Bit of an ornithological come down after Birding in the US? Never!
26th June. It was going to be a hot one and finally with some time of my own I decided on visiting Slimbridge which had been excellent the previous day. I arrived just after 9 and it was already humid, I was thinking jeans wasn't a good idea! Still, I headed straight to the Rushy where a Common Tern was showing well on and off and a fairly large Oystercatcher chick was ambling through the eclipse Mallards. Moving on to the Martin Smith hide, I learnt that the Spoonbill had been showing well half an hour earlier but had flown off. Oh well, there was always a few other things to catch up with so I popped over to South Lake which was more of the same as the Rushy other than having a cute Oystercatcher family right in front of the hide. The two chicks were pretty small and had proportionally much smaller bills than the bird seen earlier. I grabbed a few shots and then headed over to the Zeiss hide where around a dozen birders were present, unfortunately more interested in who was walking into the hide than what was outside it - never a good sign. Surely enough the hoped for female Red-necked Phalarope wasn't around and even my backup pair of Ruddy Shelduck could barely be seen as a rusty smudge behind some distant tussock grass. It was at this point I realised that yesterday would have been a much better option but not being in a position to do much about time travel, stuck with what I had. A few busy Reed Warblers were singing and chasing each other around the phragmities in front of the hide, whilst a single Mute Swan, Grey Heron, a few Tufted Ducks and the odd Common Tern passed the time. I gave it an hour or so before my optimism faded, working my way back via the hides I'd visited previously. I was resigned to getting nothing out of the ordinary so started snapping Moorhen, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon and even Feral Pigeon as I remembered I'd only a single shot before today and the two I found (sat on the path in front of my nose) were actually very smart birds! So with the major success being Feral Pigeon, it was obviously time to see if I could make it home in time for the European Grand Prix which turned into a hugely less exciting event than the birding! At least I did make some good use of the day as intertwined with doing various chores and watching Glastonbury, I set up the camera to photograph the birds in the back garden trying to get some decent shots of the many juvenile birds present. The Great Spotted Woodpecker didn't come down while I was waiting but one of our three male Siskins popped in briefly as did young Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit alongside numerous Goldfinch & House Sparrows. At least I managed to get some birding done for June after the inevitable lull after America. Even though it was a cracking evening late on I didn't manage to drag my bones out once more to go looking for Nightjars. Hopefully soon!