Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Courser and Forest Cameo

Birders at Bradnor Hill - the Courser was still in view on the ground as I took this picture.  As I walked towards them it took flight.

I have been looking at the stunning images of the Cream-coloured Courser at Bradnor Hill in Hereford and knowing I had to go and liaise with a friend in the Forest of Dean decided to go for the bird first.  We found the very attractive if demanding golf course quite easily and arrived at 11.20am.  Right away we noted a male Yellowhammer singing from a nearby tree not something we see often since moving west.  All the faces coming down the hill were grinning so we remained confident and set off.  Kindly golf course staff pointed us in the right direction and warned us to watch out for stray golf balls.  We soon saw the assembled horde with lenses pointed west.  We had to give way to two golfers but finally made it across the fairway.  Suddenly all bins went up and I picked up a beige bird with black wing tips flying up, circling higher then rapidly disappear to the west.  It was great to catch a glimpse but sadly I would be adding no new pictures to any gallery.  I was glad I had seen this species many times before. What was difficult was the walk back meeting expectant faces that found the news hard to take.  That's birding I guess.  A final tribute to the wonderfully friendly and helpful golf course staff and to the golfers for being so positive.

Mandarin at Cannop Ponds

We then headed down via Hereford and Symonds Yat to meet my good friend and neighbour in France Ken Phelps.  He had driven back to UK and handed over 5 boxes of wine which he had transported for us.  We just had time for a stop in the Forest of Dean before heading home.  Cannop Ponds is a favourite venue and I got the chance to photograph one of three spectacular drake Mandarins swimming on the ponds whilst their females sat on eggs in a hole in some tree.  A pair of Mute Swans had three very small cygnets and Beryl's eagle eyes picked out 3 Red Kites high up in the clouds.  Are they nesting here?

Wild Boar in the bluebells

Finally as we left a shape caught my eye in the woods and reversing carefully I discovered a Wild Boar feeding amongst some bluebells.  The animal was quite approachable and I managed a couple of shots.  My first ever Wild Boar in the UK and obviously the first I have photographed here.  What a wonderful hour in this great site.

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