|This map shows the the location of the priory.|
|A Jackdaw sits outside its nest at the old priory.|
|A pair of white wagtails take a break from their courtship display. The female bird appeared to be larger than its male counterpart.|
|My destination is on the other side of this hill. Although the village goes by its Welsh name note the bi-lingual signs.|
The village of Capel-y-finn with its four small cottages even had its own red phone box, how quaint is that! Cel coverage is non-existent. The climb onward began to get steeper, the green fields were replaced by bracken ferns and gorse.
As I climbed higher I finally arrived at a spot where I had been told I might find a wheatear or if very lucky even a ring ouzel, both birds would be lifers and target birds for the day. There might even be a chance of a red kite but I didn't want to push my luck. Three lifers from the Welsh hills would really make my day.
|I was advised to check out the boulders for wheatear.|
I stopped the car, got out, zipped up my anorak, raised my bins and scoured the scree laden hillside. At first I could hear but not see any birds. Finally after trudging up the hill for a closer view I spotted a movement on a rock, a female wheatear, my first lifer since arriving in the UK. I never did get too near to any of the birds even with the Nikon 200mm-500mm. I was happy enough just watch their antics as they hawked insect after insect from the air.
One of the world's great migrants.
The entire population winters in tropical Africa but breeds in Alaska, Greenland, right across Europe and Asia
About half an hour into my climb to photograph the wheatears I realized my trouser pocket, where I normally keep the car keys was wide open. Normally I make sure it's secured. Next came an awful sinking feeling as I thrust my hand into my pocket, there was nothing. I wondered if I had left them on the dash of the car or worse had they fallen out of my pocket as I clambered over rocks and boulders. Could I jump start an automatic? How would I get home? How far is the nearest farmhouse or was this a dress rehearsal for an another episode of An Idiot Abroad!
I took a deep breath and as any good birder would do continued birding. An hour later I had arrived back at the car and as I opened the door there were the keys, still in the ignition. Phew, another crisis adverted!
|Not the type of place to loose a set of car keys.|
As I sat in the car I can't tell you how relieved I was, so much so that I almost missed the sudden appearance of a red kite soaring over the bluff. As I grabbed my camera, my cheese sandwich which I had just began to eat fell from my hands between the handbrake and seat. To make things worse the camera strap got wrapped around the gear shifter, despite it all I managed to fire off this distant ID shot. A second lifer for the day and a most welcome sight after the stressful episode with the keys.
Persecuted to near extinction in the 19th century there are now two thousand pair of red kite across the UK.
|Meadow Pipit I think?|
|Tree Pipit further along the road.|
Until the next time
"It's never too late to start birding"