All images © Peter Garrity


Pwll-du, Gwent - 02-11-2017

I was conveniently working in Powys on the 2nd and 3rd of November and located near Brecon. For the previous week I was watching Birdguides for news of the long-staying Rockthrush at Pwll-du and hoping that it would stay a little longer (a new UK bird for me).

I set off from Sheffield at silly o'clock (3am) and following a scary detour around the A42 made it to the site at 6.20am.

Only one fellow birder at the site but I set off alone down the track to the third quarry. I arrived at the quarry about a mile and a bit later, exhausted carrying all the gear, but excited and nervous at the same time. I set the tripod up and got myself organised as dawn arrived, turned around and amazingly the bird was 15 feet away from me feeding on the ground.

Panorama above shows the track in both directions looking away from the quarry

I had this bird around me, on and off, for around two hours all alone except for the other birder who made a short visit and left me alone. Sunshine appeared for about 15 minutes and I got some acceptable shots. I was so close, I had to use a very small aperture (up to F22) to get a larger DOF. I was astounded with the amount of dust on my sensor which I could see on the images later. I used a range of apertures so below are the resulting images (got to get the sensor cleaned now though !!!).

Trying a selfie - bird just in the background and I was alone in the quarry

The bird was feeding on earthworms while I was there but also some residual mealworms. I thought it was calling and you can hear it on the video, however I was later informed it may have been sneezing. It looked healthy enough but was last seen the morning of the 3rd.


03-10-2017 - Dale of Walls, Shetland

A strange encounter when this bird had been seen earlier in the day but we couldn't get close to it. On leaving the area Andy shouted out "GGS" which had just dropped prey at the side of the roadside fence. All photos were taken from the back seat of the car, hanging out through the rear window!!


30/09/2017 - 07/10/2017 SHETLAND ISLANDS

Our fourth consecutive visit to the autumn extravaganza in the Shetland Islands. Not the best for the weather as we had a significant amount of rain and the winds were strong and after a time annoying. We did however get some birding done in between the rain storms and we actually had a couple of reasonably dry days. Nevertheless, Roy, Andy, Tony and myself had a good time, ate out three times at the Scalloway Hotel (as we were based in Papil to the SW of mainland) and spent many occasions having healthy debate!!

For the first time we did not island hop up to Unst as nothing mega turned up that could not be seen on mainland. We dipped on a couple of nice birds but below are the highlights. We all had a tick in relation to the PGTIPS at Collafirth but I had another two new birds (Rustic Bunting and Buff-bellied Pipit). Great thanks to my pals for the usual fine company and especially to Roy and Andy for doing all the driving and cooking (they looked after me as Id not been too well recently).

For more pictures of individual species look at my chronological posts (i.e. Great Grey Shrike - many shots at Dale of Walls).

Roy Twigg, me, Andy Deighton & Tony Morris

Reed Warbler @ Grutness quarry (originally thought to be BRW)

Common Redstart @ Sumburgh Hotel

Wryneck @ Toab

Rustic Bunting @ Melby

PGTIPS @ Collafirth (Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler)

Parrot Crossbill @ Sand

Spotted Flycatcher @ Dale of Walls

Red-breasted Flycatcher @ Dale of Walls

Great Grey Shrike - Dale of Walls

Parrot Crossbill @ Lerwick

Oystercatcher (putative longipes) @ Sandwick

Hen Harrier @ Sandwick

Buff-bellied Pipit @ Grutness

Little Bunting @ Grutness quarry

Slavonian Grebe @ Boddam

Buff-bellied Pipit @ Grutness

Common Crane @ Loch of Brow

Red-flanked Bluetail @ Isbister

Sisken @ Voe