Not having been out birding outside my local area for several months as soon as I saw that there might be a few decent days weather coming up I decided I must go on a trip but where to go was the problem.
I didn't fancy Norfolk one of my usual haunts because of the Winter's storm damage and nor did I fancy Minsmere because friends had had a poor time there recently.So I thought to hell with it I'd go abroad.I'd go to Wales.
Left very early on Wednesday morning and after a very bendy and hilly drive through Wales I entered the RSPB car park at Ynys Hir at just after 9.00 AM.My target birds were Pied Flycatchers and Common Redstarts.When I asked the receptionist in the centre where should head for to see the Flycatchers you would have thought I'd asked her how to split the atom.She looked completely dumbfounded and said "I only started yesterday and know nothing"
Undeterred I chose the woodland path as the most likely to be the best bet.After longish walk I came across a hide.It was empty.A check out of all the windows showed nothing except a very good view of the Dovey estuary and just as I thought I'd picked the wrong route I heard bird calling nearby.What did I see singing it's heart out this cracking little chap.
For the next hour I watched it guarding it's territory and occasionally taking food into a nearby nest box.Magical. How lucky was I.Here are a few more shots.Pity it was a bit gloomy in the woods.
I then had a walk along the salt marsh trail but really didn't have much luck along the paths or in the hides.I did spot a female Stonechat in the reeds and I saw her a bit later getting directions to Domen Las.
After a spot of lunch I gleaned from another birder were he'd seen some Redstarts.Following the well marked route you have to go along a farm track for a while and you have to walk past a farmyard.In the farmyard today were about 300 sheep which were straining at the leash to get out into the fields for a bit of grazing.Just as I gone about a 100m down the track the sheep had been released and were stampeding down towards me along the track.For the first time in years I actually ran and covered the 30m to the gate of the path I had to take very quickly.
I was still panting as the farmer walked past and told me I was in no danger as they would have ran round me.Oh Yeah ! It only needs one sheep that was short sighted and I'd have been trampled.I've seen loads of Westerns and have seen the damage that can be done.Mind you I think they might have been Cattle or Bison.
The good news was that I soon found the spot where the Redstarts were but the bad news was that they had selected the gloomiest part of the reserve to be in.I struggled to get some decent shots even though they came fairly close but very nice to see and I got the second of my target birds.
I left just before 4.00 PM and drove the few miles down the road to an Osprey site ( a few miles south of Machynlleth) .Now I knew that they would be far too far off for any shots but I thought I'd have a look in any case.They'd really gone to town recently at the site having installed a long wide broadwalk that leads to a very impressive viewing centre complete with viewing screens showing the birds on the nest.They were about 200m away surprisingly pretty close to a railway line.If you want a better view catch the train.