Monday, December 10, 2012

Waxwings 3 (Welsh Waxwings)

Regular readers already know of my love of Waxwings and this winter is turning out to be a classic one for this irregular visitor. I have already photographed a few medium sized flocks of these beautiful birds but I am still trying to find a large flock to enjoy and at the moment Wales seems to be a good bet for such an
Time has been a limiting factor on my birding trips recently and last Saturday afternoon was no exception. A brief stop in Chester where a few Waxwings had been reported in the morning proved fruitless, so I drove on to Denbigh where a flock of seventy birds had been seen earlier in the day. I had already visited the site at Brookhouse Mill two weeks earlier after photographing the Desert Wheatear at Rhyl, but there were no Waxwings to be seen on the afternoon of that day. Today, I was more fortunate as the birds could be seen feeding in bushes right on the main road as I pulled into the mill carpark. Four other birdwatchers were present when I arrived, but didn't stay long, so I had a flock of over one hundred of these fabulous birds almost to myself; apart from the friendly locals who were most interested in what I was photographing. The birds were very obliging and only flew into the high trees when surprised by a Sparrowhawk. Unfortunately, it was a dull afternoon but I still managed to take some acceptable photographs. I have no doubt that I will spend more time with these avian beauties this winter.

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Desert Wheatear

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Llanberis Path

I managed to scrounge a day off work last Thursday in order to make the most of the weather and walk up Snowdon with my friend Jane. I hadn't been to Snowdon since the mountain race in July and was keen to walk up the Llanberis Path as I had only ever run this route before.
This is often known as the tourists path and can be like Piccadilly Circus in the summer, but we only saw one other walker on the way up and only a few people at the top; bliss.
The weather was perfect, cold with bright sunshine, almost tee-shirt weather on the ascent. But what a difference near the summit; thick snow that was quite possibly eight inches deep in places. The view from the top was simply stunning. It was possible to clearly see all of the Llyn Peninsula out to Bardsey Island, and in the far distance Ireland and the peaks of the Lake District were visible.
We enjoyed a tasty picnic in the sunshine on the descent and attempted to feed the local ravens ,which were the commonest bird on the mountainside. A hot curry in Llangollen on the way home rounded off a brilliant day.

The View from the Summit.

Me with Carnedd Ugain in the background.

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