Shapeshifters

My final ‘starling watch’ of the season looked like it was going to be a rather underwhelming one despite an almost perfect golden sunset. Numbers were still impressive but certainly down from the previous weeks and the starlings flew unhurriedly, swirling slowly around the pier until they began to drop from the sky into the…

Sighting: Otter

The otter has always been one of my favourite creatures, but being such an elusive animals and still relatively rare here in the UK, I never expected to see one in the wild. That was until reports began to surface on local wildlife groups of a new resident on the nearby waterways. As more and…

Flowerscapes

Despite in now being late September a walk outside and you’d be forgiven for we were back in mid summer! Temperatures all week have been hovering over 20 degrees, unusually warm for this time of year. A walk along the promenade today and I was pleasantly surprised to find the flower beds we planted many…

Aberystwyth in bloom: Part 1

Whilst lockdown has been an awful and difficult time, there have also been several positives which have emerged from this bleak situation. I like many others around the country have found absorbing myself in nature a great distraction and a way to stay positive and uplifted over the past 10 weeks or so. I’ve particularly…

Winter waders

Winter is a great time to see migrant birds here on the coast of Aberystwyth. Birds such as turnstones who arrive here from their homes in the northern Canada and Greenland, to enjoy the relative warmth of our shores until spring returns to the Arctic Circle. A turnstone in winter/non-breeding plumage I don’t have to…

Deja vu

Bird photography often requires a lot of patience and many hours of sitting in silence, hardly moving, sometimes in the freezing cold or in some pretty uncomfortable situations and even then you are rewarded with nothing but a fleeting glimpse of your subject. Sometimes however you have a lucky break and the wildlife literally wanders…

Blending in

Rock pipits as their name suggests, inhabit rocky coastlines around the UK, their greyish brown plumage offering superb camouflage in this environment. This camouflage is also equally as effective in and around the concrete walls and sea defences here in Aberystwyth. This rock pipit had chosen a spot high on the stony sea wall in which…

Patrolling pipit

Rock pipits are a common sight on UK coastline, particularly around rocky beaches. These small birds are part of the Motacillidae family which also includes other species of pipit and the wagtails. Rock pipits are streaky brown/grey in appearance and have distinctive long hind claws as seen here. These birds are insectivores, their long thin beaks…

Turn of the tide

As the tide retreats twice a day here in the Aberystwyth harbour, a small expanse of mud flat is revealed, attracting a variety of bird species to this rich feeding ground. One of the most frequent visitors are the Turnstones, small stocky wading birds found all across the Uk coastline during the winter months. There…

Song and dance

There was a complete absence of birds to be found around the harbour today, aside from a pair of herring gulls wandering around the grass in search of earthworms. Despite their reputation for a love of chips and leftovers, earthworms are in fact their preferred natural diet, along with fish, molluscs, invertebrates, eggs, and occasionally…

Sighting: Pied Wagtail

After numerous failed attempts today I finally able to get close to the pied wagtails often seen hunting near the water’s edge. The males are particularly striking with their monochrome black and white plumage. The females are a duller, grey colouration. Thankfully the weather has calmed significantly since the chaos of yesterday when we were…

Sighting: Ringed Plover

Winter always attracts waders back to the coast and here in Aberystwyth the low tide mud flats are a magnet for a variety of these birds. Most commonly seen are the turnstones named for their behaviour of turning over rocks to look for invertebrates beneath. Also a fairly regular sight are the purple sandpipers, although I am…