Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Margam Park Deer

This afternoon, I made a trip to Margam Park, a large country park near Port Talbot. The most prominent building in the park is Margam Castle:

I was hoping to spot a few rutting deer, and hopefully capture some of the action. However, four hours of wandering the fields revealed no sign of rutting at all. Either I was in the wrong place, or I was too late. Oh well! Anyway, I managed a few pics. The most unusual of the three species of deer in the park is the Chinese native, Pere David's Deer. Here are a couple of shots of stags:

And one of a female:

In their native land, they are said to prefer marshland, and they certainly seem to favour the damper areas of the park. Here are a couple wallowing in the mud:

And a youngster of the same species:

There were large numbers of Fallow Deer roaming the grassland:

The third species present is the native Red Deer. Here is a young stag:

And two young chaps looking curiously in my direction:

And a group of nervous-looking hinds, some watching me, and others watching a man with a dog to my left:

Finally, one of the larger stags I saw today - peeing in the rain:

So, not the action shots I was hoping for, but - there's always next year!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Langland Bay

This evening, I went round to Langland Bay, via the smaller Rotherslade Bay, where I spotted this couple on the beach, with a stormy sky beyond:

I continued past Langland Bay to Langland Point, where I took this shot looking westwards along the coast:

And this one, as the sun began to break through the clouds:

Here's the coastal path, with Pwll Du Head and Oxwich Point in the distance:

I clambered up the hillside on to Langland Bay Golf Course, from where I was rewarded with this view of Caswell Bay:

I walked back along the edge of the golf course, and arrived back at Langland as the sun's last rays were casting their yellowish light onto the bay and its buildings:

I decided to put on my 500mm lens, and zero in on some distant headlands:

Looking west from Langland Point, I was able to capture the sun just as it dipped over the horizon:

With a long exposure and two or three filters (polariser, neutral density, neutral density graduated), I captured some strange pink hues:

A final shot of the sunset:

And a picture of the moon over Langland Bay:

Before heading for home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Walk Home

On Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk down to my local beach. The weather was rather grey and dreary, so I kept my camera in its case. Then, just before the sun set, some late sunshine shone through the clouds, so out came the camera! I looked across Swansea Bay towards Mumbles Head:

I was attracted to the way the evening sun illuminated these grass seedheads:

Then, as I walked up through Singleton Park, a colourful sunset developed:

I made a slight detour across the road to Brynmill Park to capture the reflections in the lake:

I walked round to the other side of the water, and looked back towards the rising moon:

Finally, another picture of the moon, glimpsed through some palm fronds:

Then into Tesco, and home for some supper!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grey Phalarope

Unfortunately, my golfing partner cried off our game today (fed up with me thrashing him, no doubt!), so I had to find something else to do with my afternoon. I had heard that a Grey Phalarope, a bird I hadn't seen before, had been seen for the last few days at Sandy Water Park, a place near Llanelli. So, there I went!
Not long after I arrived, I met two fellows out looking for the bird. Neither had seen it, so I was not too hopeful. I walked anti-clockwise round the northern shore of the lake, spotting a couple of Kingfishers (or one Kingfisher twice!) as I went. As I came towards the far north-west corner, I spotted a distant bird floating on the water in front of a small reedbed about a hundred yards away across the lake. It looked a little like the numerous Black-headed Gulls that were drifting about on the pond, but a lot smaller. A look through the binoculars revealed it to be the sought-after Grey Phalarope. The nearest place to view the bird was a wooden fishing platform, which was being used by two people to watch it. Once they had moved on, I took their place, and was able to get a few distant shots. Soon enough, the bird moved further along the shore, and I was able to approach very closely to this notoriously tame species, and obtain a few photographs:

When it took flight, it seemed to reveal it had only one leg:

At one point, the phalarope tucked its head under its wing for a few minutes, presumably sleeping, but still seemed to be keeping a beady eye on the world, and all the while on the move, drifting about this way and that with the tide:

After I'd had my fill of the phalarope, I headed across the road for a quick look at 'Peoples Park', where I was told there was another small lake. There, I spotted this non-native Carolina- or Wood-Duck:

Plus, this male Shoveler, with his outsized bill:

And his equally well-endowed female companion:

So, a new species seen, and a new place discovered. Not sure it's better than golf, though! 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Some Landscape Shots

A few shots from a walk around Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula this afternoon. The day's outing began in sunshine, and was unusually warm for the time of year. However, naturally enough, as soon as I arrived in the area, the clouds rolled over, the wind blew, and it became quite murky and cool for a time. Anyway, I tried to make the most of the conditions, and managed a few pictures. The first picture was taken as I approached the beach, looking across the saltmarsh into the hazy sun; two of the three cliffs which give the beach its name are visible in the top left:

This shot was taken looking across the Pennard Pill - a small stream which flows into the sea here - towards the distant Oxwich Point. One of the three cliffs can be seen in the top left:

I then pointed my camera along the Pill towards the three cliffs themselves:

Very soon, the tide began coming in, engulfing the stream as it did so, so I climbed up some nearby cliffs to safety, and a better vantage point for viewing the whole bay:

As the sun started to set, a few gaps appeared in the clouds, allowing some subtle hues to colour the clouds and the water below:

Always a pleasant place for a walk, and a little light photography!