Welcome home

Having last seen them back in November, I was delighted to spot two large familiar white shapes gliding towards me on my recent trip down into the harbour. The resident pair of Mute Swans are back for another year! Where they have spent the winter is a mystery, although both birds seemed to have returned…

A bird in the hand

Rooks are certainly not the most beautiful of birds. A black angular body and bare, scaly face with sharp beak give them a rather sinister, reptilian appearance. They do also have a unwelcome reputation due to their habit of eating other birds’ eggs and nestlings. Nevertheless I have always found these birds fascinating and charming,…

Albinism

There is a particularly recognisable and beautiful bird in the local pigeon flock, a beautiful albino male with bright white feathers and a distinctive red eye. Albinism is rarely seen in wild birds, as due to their obvious colouration and poor eyesight they usually fall victim to predators early in life. Albinism is a genetic…

Juvenile House Sparrow

A combination of the summer warmth and tidal nutrients has caused a greening of the harbour edges. the ground is carpeted in a layer of bright green algae making the rocks slippery and treacherous underfoot. This bloom of vegetation seems very attractive to the house sparrows, with a small flock hopping about foraging for food….

Wagtail reflection

There was very little to see or photograph this morning however I was able to get this rather lovely shot, as a female Pied Wagtail hunted for insects at the waters edge. By waiting patiently for her to wander into the right spot, I was also able to capture her reflection rippling in the water…

Gulls behaving badly

With their ear splitting calls, quarrelsome nature and less than savoury table manors it’s easy to see why the Herring Gull has earned a bad reputation as an urban menace, somewhat unfairly in my opinion. Gull are in fact highly opportunistic, adaptable and very intelligent birds , with complex social lives. Now that the nesting…

Corvus corone

Since moving to the harbour 18 months ago I have come to know the local avian residents quite well. There is the flock of friendly pigeons who feature in a lot of my blog posts, a family of jackdaws, mallards and not forgetting the mute swan pair, often accompanied by a canada goose. Of all…

Shades of grey

Whilst pigeons may not be everyone’s cup of tea there’s no denying that they do have a certain beauty, if you take the time to appreciate it. With iridescent necks, beady red eyes and an assortment of plumage patterns and colours what is not to like? ​This particular flock live and roost not far from…

Troglodytes troglodytes

The European wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is Britain’s second smallest bird, rivalled only by the goldcrest, and is one of our most common and widespread species. Despite this, the Wren has proved notoriously difficult for me to find and photograph. After numerous failed attempts elsewhere it was pleasant surprise when, a couple of days ago I…

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…

An enduring friendship

A familiar face has returned to Aberystwyth harbour after dissapearing shortly before the mute swan hatchlings emerged from their nest. Now that the surviving cygnet is 4 months old and almost as large as it’s parents, the lone Canada Goose has returned and has been accepted back into to his unusual flock. Quite why this…