A Wet Week in Wales

We’ve returned from what was probably the wettest break we’ve ever been on.  I’ve never known rain quite like it, but I suppose that this is what keeps England forever green.  Weather notwithstanding, we headed out every day for wildlife, and birds in particular.

Up towards the North for Kites, Mid Wales for Falcons, and out to the Island of Skomer for the Puffins. Skomer is a 2.92 km² island off the coast of southwest Wales, one of a chain lying within a kilometre off the Pembrokeshire coast and separated from the mainland by the treacherous waters of Jack Sound. Skomer Island measures approximately 2.4 km (1.5 mi) north-south and 3.2 km (2 mi) east-west. We visited on a wet (predicably) and very windy day, with lots of cloud, which ironically is ideal for puffin photography, and with the winds being high, it was ideal for getting them in flight.

The high winds also made landing difficult, and so some birds were forced to land where they could, and then make a frantic scurry to their holes – sometimes, as in the image above, making quite a long run before arriving home safely with their catch of fish.

If you’ve never been to Skomer, it comes highly recommended.  Get the earliest boat out that you can, so you can maximise your stay.  Ours was cut short somewhat due to the high winds, and the boat back was early afternoon to get everyone off the island before the really bad weather set in.

More on this trip in another blog post.

Wildlife – Birds at RSPB

On a very rare sunny day (and they are rare at the moment) – we made the most of it and headed out to the RSPB site at Southport – and were rewarded with some great images of Avocet, Redshank, Oystercatcher, and Godwit.  Not bad for a first visit.  Once the weather improves (if it ever does) we’ll be out there again.

We were exited to see the Avocet, on her nest, guarding four eggs… the couple swapped over every half hour or so, allowing the one  not on the nest to  stretch, preen and feed.

The Avocet is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species. Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating to see them mate, after a very short display from the female.

More images to follow once I’ve processed them……  thanks for looking, please take a moment to pass a comment…

Kite Surfing

Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard). There are a number of different styles of kiteboarding, including freestyle (most common and utilises standard kite and board) or wake-style (flatter water using board with bindings) and wave-riding which is focused on big waves using a board designed for wave riding.

A kitesurfer or kiteboarder uses a board with or without foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel the rider and the board across the water.

Although kitesurfing is an extreme sport, its safety record is improving due to advances in hybrid and bow kite designs and the ability to control the power that they provide, effective safety release systems, and wider availability of kiteboarding schools such as the IKO and BKSA and the resulting improving teaching standards as the sport matures. There are still a number of deaths every year and a much larger number of serious injuries and accidents.

What a joy to photograph though – thanks guys…..