Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kittiwakes, etc.

Marram Grass growing in the dunes, with the late evening sun shining onto the beach beyond:

The Swansea to Cork ferry leaving Wales and heading off to Ireland at dusk:

A Herring Gull in flight:

I paid a visit to the Kittiwake colony on Mumbles Pier on Sunday. No sign of any hatchlings yet, but plenty of birds on eggs. A few pictures from the visit:

Here's a short video of some squabbling in the colony:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fox Meets Cat

Not done much photography lately, but last night I looked out of my window after dark, and spotted this Fox investigating a cat outside a neighbour's house across the road. Neither seemed too bothered by the presence of the other, and both soon resumed their normal nighttime activities:

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Yesterday's Wanderings

A few pictures from a walk around my local area yesterday, carrying nothing but my Canon 40D and a Tamron 90mm macro lens.
One of the commonest plants growing in the sandy soils bordering my local beach is the Burnet Rose. The typical plants have whitish-yellow flowers:

However, there is a large clump with these pinkish flowers, which is apparantly a rare variant:

This flower had attracted this green beetle (if anyone knows the species, please let me know):

Ox-eye Daisies were growing by the beach:

This tallish plant was growing en masse in the dunes at the top of the beach. (Is it Mouse-ear Hawkweed?):

Here's a close-up of one of the flower heads:

I walked up into Clyne Gardens, where these Orange Hawkweeds were growing in the wildflower meadow with their commoner cousins:

There was still plenty of Germander Speedwell in flower in the grassland:

This exotic primula:

had flowers quite similar to the native Red Campion:

Also growing in the wildflower area were these orchids (anyone know the species?):

No, not Niagara Falls, but part of a small waterfall that flows from a pond into a stream which runs through Clyne Gardens:

The brilliant blue of this iris caught my eye:

As did the striking colour combination of yellow primulas and blue irises:

I thought a 'Monet' treatment might suit the subject:

Back to the dunes, where I saw this broomrape species growing:

As I walked back through the suburban streets, I noticed the naturalised Red Valerian decorating the garden walls:

To end on a romantic note (!), this single red rose was drawing attention to itself in the Botanic Gardens of Singleton Park:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Yesterday, I went round to Mumbles Pier at the western end of Swansea Bay; to check on how the Kittiwake colony was getting on, and to see if my newly-purchased Canon 40D would fare any better on birds-in-flight than my previous efforts with the 7D. I certainly got more sharp flight shots than with the 7D (using a Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens), but I'm still not entirely happy with the percentage of sharp shots. Anyway, here are a few of the pictures:

This bird was bringing seaweed to its nest-site:

The town of Swansea can be seen in the background here:

Almost every possible nesting site seems to be occupied:

So much so, that this pair seem to have started a nest-site in isolation on the probably less-than-ideal sloping edge of the lifeboat station that adjoins the pier:

Perhaps one of this pioneering pair flying in front of the lifeboat station:

The following two shots show the potential dangers of the birds sharing their world with careless fishermen, who don't dispose of their used hooks and line responsibly (in previous years, I've seen birds with hooks stuck in their beaks):

Here's a shot of a bird tending to its eggs on the nest:

Finally, here are a couple of videos of the colony:

I hope to return to the colony later in the year, and document the chicks as they grow.