Wednesday, 31 August 2011

North Wales day 4

The final day of the holiday, and this required going to a national trust property, as is the tradition. The one we chose was the botanic gardens between Conway and Colwyn bay. If I ha known that going to the gardens would require driving past the Conway estuary RSPB reserve I would probably have gone there, but I did not know this, so I tagged along to the gardens. I saw on the map that there were some ornamental ponds, so that's where I headed first. I walked all the way round each of them, hoping to flush a dragonfly, but I only spotted this damselfly, that seems to have some bird poo or something on its eyes.

-Common blue damselfly
Since there were no dragonflies on the ponds I headed down to the river, to see what was about. At the first bridge I spotted a rather handsome dipper on a rock not too far away, and seemingly uncaring about me being there. Unfortunately the low light presented by the tree's shade meant that photography was not an option.

It was whilst I was watching the dipper that something mammalian began to move in the water, and emerged just in front of the bridge where it became clear that it was mink. It didn't care about the spectators on the bridge, and surprisingly the dipper didn't care about it. Its the first time I have ever seen a mink, and the first time I have got photos of one, and though it is kind of interesting, its also very scary. It moved downstream pretty sharpish, obviously in a rush to get somewhere.


I turned my attention back to the dipper on the rocks, and tried to get closer to it, whilst at the same time, getting more light. I didn't manage the latter very well, but I did get closer to the dipper, which was nice.


I headed up to the forest pond, there wasn't much there, although there was one dragonfly that must have landed somewhere out of bounds, because it certainly wasn't anywhere in bounds! By this time, it was time for lunch so headed back up to the top.

After lunch i headed back to the forest pond, and once more got fleeting glimpses of the dragonfly before it disappeared into the woods.

I walked down the river this time, and spotted a few juvenile brown trout in the river.

-Brown Trout
when I arrived at the limit of the river going downstream I met my mum and dad, who said they had seen some dragonflies on the ponds, where I had seen nothing. So I headed up there, and was rewarded with a pair of dragonflies. The female was landed and ovipositing, though she flew off and disappeared as soon as I showed up-as always happens.

The male on the other hand was very showy, were it not for the fact that it never landed. I therefore had to chance it trying to get a decent flight shot. I tried a few from distance, and then got a bit closer. And then its one of those things, I had it on focused quite close to me, and he came and flew right in front of me, slow enough to bang two shots, one was blurred, but the other-finest shot the holiday

-Southern hawker male

-Southern hawker male
but then he too disappeared into the bushes, but fortunately there were other things of interest, including a pair of ravens overhead...

-Raven pair
Whilst I was walking around the pond, hoping to re-flush a dragonfly I spotted a heron flying in to the pond on the next level. I headed up that way and was not surprised to see a small grey heron on the pond. it was quite bold, as grey herons often are, and so i had no problems getting photos like i wanted. I was a bit pushed for time, as the closing up time was 5 o'clock, but enjoy the photos.

-Grey Heron
I decided to give the bottom pond one last shot, despite time pressures, but luckily I was rewarded for my effort as the female that lands had returned to the pond and therefore I was able to get a few photos, to add to my southern hawker collection.

-Female southern hawker
I made it out of the gardens safely and then, as a family, made our way to Conway whilst we waited for the traffic to die down, whilst we were there my brother found a dead dogfish and I spotted this rock pipit I think, though I could be mistaken.

-Rock pipit

and there ends our wales holiday, what has been a very good holiday, despite being put together at such short notice.

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