Friday, 13 January 2012

Chasing the sun

The forecast was excellent - clear skies all day.  I awoke to thick fog and this accompanied me for the first hour of my day until I drove past St.Clears and cleared it did with sudden superb sun.  I was heading for Telpyn Point right on the Western Carmarthenshire border with Pembrokeshire. It is a favourite spot for me with opportunities to look for birds sometimes difficult to see in the county.  It is one of the few spots with sizeable cliffs


As soon as I reached the sea I could see lots of Common Scoters in rafts quite close in.  I reckoned there were at least 2,000 birds in all.  As I made my way east along the path a large dog Red Fox walked up the hill ahead of me apparently unconcerned at my presence.  A couple of Rock Pipits fed on the grassy sward until I found a good place to put up my telescope.  Beryl's birthday present to me of a Mulebag to enable easy carrying of the scope and tripod was never more useful than on this walk.  I scanned the sea ducks but could only find Common Scoters but also 2 Red-throated Divers and 3 Shags.  A Fulmar was flying in and out of the cliff below me and I could hear the unmistakable noise of displaying birds.  These birds may nest and I asked myself whether Fulmars had ever bred in Carmarthenshire.  By now the sun was warm and I was predictably over dressed.  Reaching a concrete based bridge I watched a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly sunning itself and then fly off.  Surreal on January 13th.

Small Tortoiseshell pictured at a more usual season

After a cup of coffee I set off back to try and see the Firecrest at Kidwelly Quay.  Passing St.Clears again I was soon back in thick fog all the way to Carmarthen.  Luckily by the time I reached Kidwelly there was no fog there and nor was there any view of the Firecrest for me.  The Long-billed Dowitcher was still there viewed from the local nature reserve.


Fog was pouring out of the mouth of the Tywi but even so by the time I reached Ferryside waders could be seen.  I immediately got on to the lone Avocet and only just in time as some idiot with a totally uncontrolled dog put all the birds up time and time again.  Do these people not realise the neccesity of letting these birds feed undisturbed when the tide allows them?  This becomes more critical when temperatures drop.  I did manage to see 8 Bar-tailed and about 40 Black-tailed Godwits, c200 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plovers.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Finally back in fog again long the Tywi Valley until upon reaching Cilsan Bridge it miraculously lifted.  There was plenty to see on the meadows. Swans included 80 Mutes and 18 Whoopers and they were accompanied by 130 Greylag Geese and 60 Canada Geese.  Now home to get warm.

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