Monday, 29 August 2011

north wales day 2

Not a pleasant day! It rained when we woke up and it rained whilst we walked round the local town of Carnarfon, with its historic castle and seafront. Its a place we have been to many times before, and so we knew what to expect, with the bird life consisting of a few swans, a couple of ravens on the castle and a cormorant on a buoy on the sea.

After a morning walking round in the rain, we decided to drive round to the nearby estuary nature reserve, which could have quite a few birds on it. luckily it was high tide so if there were any birds they would be quite close to shore, and we were in luck, as no sooner had we parked the car my mum spotted a large flock of turnstones at the top of the beach. I was reluctant to go down to try and get some more photos because of other birders potentially, though I hardly needed to.


there were other waders too, including a large bird that I assumed to be a curlew, but after looking through the binoculars and seeing a definite eye-stripe, I decided was a whimbrel, my first in a long time. This was the best view that I have ever got of one, so I decided to go down to try and get a few better photos. It didn't really work as the beach background blurred the bird in, but when it flew away you could clearly see the white mark on the back that defines it as a whimbrel!


Whilst we sat eating lunch the tide continued to recede and as it did a few more birds flew in. the first wader that was a bit miscellaneous was a small grey form, that could have been one of many waders. it was a long way off and i was unable to get any decent photos, but I got enough to i.d it as a knot when I got home. This struck me as being a rather early bird, as most knots occur in winter but then it was the beginning of the passage season. As you'll notice from the last photo however, it flew away before I could get any defining shots.


The tide continued to go out, and as it went out a few more birds came in. A largish wader flew in and after some photo analysis I decided that it was a godwit. It was only when it flew away that it became apparent that it was a black tailed godwit. Once more I decided not to risk the wrath of angry birdwatchers so stayed put at the top of the beach, which is why there is a lack of photos.

-Black-tailed godwit
After we had finished lunch and were wrapping up another small grey wader flew in, at the time I was oblivious to knot identity so I decided to go down to try and get some better photos. I made it half way down the beach when it flew away, leaving me still clueless about its true I.d once I tore my attention away from the waters edge however I noticed turnstones no less than 2m away from me rooting in the seaweed. I hadn't noticed them and they hadn't noticed me, so I got down to take some closer photos. They flew away after about 10mins, but not because i spooked them as it was another close group behind me that flew away for no reason that I could see. I hadn't realised how well they were camouflaged in the seaweed, there could have been a lot more hidden for all I knew.


After we had finished lunch it began to clear up, but we headed to a to a remove train station, where there was nothing wildlife wise, and then we went back, where it began to rain again. overall it was a good day, summed up in about 1 hour for lunch!

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