Wildlife Group

Field Trip Report

Venue: Forest Farm, Cardiff

Date:   28th January 2018

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Third time lucky to this venue.  It’s been rained off twice and almost a third time but the weather held out for us this time.

Our 08.30 start was a misty start but not wet.  Two cars went from Barry and one member met us there.

The first hide commonly referred to as the Kingfisher hide was quiet when we get there, so we had reasonable viewing places.  Within about fifteen minutes the hide was buzzing with people.

Although the Kingfishers appeared to have a late start, we were kept busy with the usual visits to the hide by the Robins and Great Tits looking for the feed supplied by the viewers, to the extent that they were occasionally in the hide with us.

But the highlight of the session was the arrival of the Jays – such lovely birds, fantastic colouring and surprisingly ready to provide us with some decent pictures as they occupied the perches around the pond.

We waited for almost an hour for the arrival of the Kingfisher, but he didn’t turn up, so we went looking for them at the other hide and along the canal.  We saw a couple, but they flew past at great speed, as they do, denying us a shot.

Apparently just after we left the hide the Kingfisher turned up – probably one of the ones that flew past – Sods Law covers that I think!

Hide number 3 near the rangers hut was also chocka block, so we didn’t stay there too long and headed back to the first hide.

We braved the now wet weather on our way to the hide where we had the usual tales of “oh yes the Kingfisher turned up 5 minutes after you left”.  Drat and double drat, out with the violins and tissues to dry our eyes and our camera after the rain.  Eventually the Kingfisher turned up but only rested in the reeds so not great shots.

Still, some of us got better pics than others of the Kingfisher but the star performer was the Jay who made the day worthwhile at least from a photographic point of view.  I now have some decent shots of a Jay which I have been after for quite a while.

Once again, a very enjoyable session with some decent shots to boot.  Thanks to all those who turned up and made the session so enjoyable despite the murky weather and lack of Kingfishers.

Looking forward to the next one.



Field Trip Report

Venue: Westonbirt Arboretum

Date:   12th November 2017

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Although the trip was organised by the wildlife group, as with ALL our trips, it was open to ALL club members and provided great opportunities for landscape photography as well as several other genres.

We arrived at the arboretum at about 09.30, parked the cars, paid our dues, and entered.  It must have been quite early judging by the number of cars in the car park, but it soon filled.  The weather was a little unsettled at first, but it soon cleared to provide us with a great day for walking and taking photos.  The first port of call for some was the cafeteria for their morning beverage whereas others preferred to get on with the task in hand.

As always at Westonbirt, the colours were fantastic, lots of autumnal colours, oranges, reds, yellows and even some greens. It was a perfect day for walking, enhanced by the woodland environment and spectacular views.  The only issue was that wherever there was a red leaved tree there was a crowd of people taking photographs and we were amongst them.  The trees were incredible and so photogenic, we even managed to get a few shots when the opportunity allowed us.  The added bonus being autumn, were the fungi, difficult to find but quite a few of them when we got our eye in.  We were surprised at the apparent lack of wildlife even birds.  The only animals we saw were the ubiquitous dogs, which maybe accounted for the lack of other wildlife.

After lunch we walked through the Old Arboretum, the trees there were magnificent and not necessarily because of their coloured leaves but more about their characteristics.  Huge trees whose trunks and branches had so much character and others whose foliage formed amazing shapes and structures.

We considered visiting the Gruffalo but the girls were too afraid, so we gave it a miss.

Needless to say we all enjoyed our visit and even managed to take a few photographs.


Field Trip Report

Venue:  Margam Park

Date:   8th October 2017

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We arrived at the park just before 10am, paid our fees and off we went.  Some went to the Abbey and the grounds while others went ahead in search of the deer.

The weather was very kind to us and for most of the day it was almost ideal for photography, a lot of sun with some low cloud.

A herd of 20-25 deer was found grazing in the lower deer park.  Amongst the herd were three mature stags.  As we approached they watched us for a while and then moved away toward the edge of the field.  We approached slowly through the mire (yes, there was plenty of bog land around!) but we got as close as we could without chasing them further off or sinking in the bog and set up our equipment.

The herd generally stayed tightly grouped so it was difficult to get shots of isolated deer.  On occasions the stags would lock horns as if preparing for battle but no serious rutting was observed.  In all, we managed to get a few decent shots before heading back towards the cafe for our 12:30 rendezvous with the other members.  On the way we encountered a small group of three stags including a white one.  These appeared even more timid and would not allow us to get within any reasonable proximity to them before they galloped off across the field.  We did manage to get a few shots but much further away than we would have liked.

During Lunch we discussed our experiences and then we went our own ways in search of another prize-winning photograph LOL.

Overall, we had a great day and everybody appeared to get the shots they wanted, either, landscape, architecture, or wildlife.  Some got all three while others just used the time for getting familiar with their equipment, with advice and help from others in the group.

Yes another great day out.



Field Trip Report

Venue:  Skomer Island

Date:   9th July 2017

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After meeting at the club house for an 05:00 departure, two cars left for Skomer.  We arrived just after 07:15 to find a small queue waiting at the ticket office.  Fortunately we managed to get on the first boat and had a good crossing to Skomer; the sea was thankfully like a mill pond as it was our youngest members (Josh) first boat trip.

The sky was lightly overcast at first but later the cloud cleared to provide us with a warm sunny day creating some poor lighting conditions and a somewhat uncomfortable session as there is virtually no shade on the island.  Still we are a hardy bunch and did not let the heat get the better of us.

As usual the island wildlife did not let us down, the puffins were in fine form with plenty of young birds waiting for the return of their parent with food, thus providing us with a host of flight shots and shots of birds with quantities of sand eel in their beaks.  There were also a few seals basking on the rocks and a few wild rabbits as well as the usual variety of sea birds.

We all managed to get some good pics and had a great day out as always on the Skomer field trip.

This ends the field trip program for this season and the wildlife group will be discussing the field trip program for next season in September.

I would like to take this opportunity to thanks ALL members of the wildlife group for participating and making this seasons field trips so enjoyable and successful.

Diolch yn Fawr (thank you very much).



Field Trip Report

Venue:           International Bird of Prey Centre at Newent, Gloucester

Date:              21st May 2017

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We met at the club car park at 08.45 for a 09.00 departure to Newent.

Two cars travelled up, the men in one car and the girls in another with Josh.  Mike Lewis met us at the BOPC.

We arrived at the BOPC just after the intended time due to the diversion and hence traffic jam at the Newport tunnels.  I won’t mention the time that the girls arrived for fear of reprisals!  Needless to say they turned up later!

As usual we had a great day, took lots of good photos and experienced some great flying displays and lots of interaction with the many different birds of prey taking part.  They really played to the audience and provided some great photo opportunities.

We all look forward to our next visit.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Parc Slip

Date:              23rd April 2017

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We arrived at the club house around 08.30, the weather was dry and overcast.  Quite a poor turn out this month so only one car necessary for the journey to Parc Slip.

What a journey full of mystery and intrigue.  We visited places and saw sights we didn’t know existed.  Yes, true to form, we took the wrong turning and ended up lost.  The only positive for me was that I was not driving!

Anyway after quite a long drive we eventually arrived at our destination Parc Slip.

Our first challenge was to visit the pond, which none of us had been to before.  So we walked and walked and tried different routes but alas we fear the pond had dried (that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it).  So we gave up on that one and went on to the café for a cuppa and to plan the next stage of our photographic expedition.

Adders were top of our list so after tea we went in search of adders.  The weather was not great and by now it was late morning as we wandered up and down snake alley in search of the elusive adder.

After a while we gave up and went on to the hides to look for birds etc.

Owing to the cold weather and cloudy skies there was not much wildlife to be seen so at around 13.30 we called it a day and set off home.



Slow worm, rats, several of the usual small birds and one heck of a relatively large flock of what appeared to be buzzards, about 6-8 in all circling around the one area over the railway track.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           WWT Slimbridge

Date:              26th February 2017

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Our day started well with a good turnout at the club.  Two cars were filled and we were on our way.  A good drive up to Slimbridge and luckily the weather held out for us.  We arrived a few minutes early but after a short wait they let us in, took our money, more from some than others I might add and then we were ready for our first stop, yes the café for a cuppa and some cake.  Have to get our priorities right!

Plenty to see as always, lots of ducks and geese and the usual smaller birds flitting around.  Then there were the Cranes and Bewick and Mute swans all ready and willing to provide spectacular displays.  Cranes performing their ritual prancing, Mute swans paired up and performing, necks entwined, poses close to the heart shape but not quite there and some X-rated displays.

A few shots of the otters who always appear to like to be photographed and so provide some cute interactive displays for the camera; maybe they too are in the mood for mating.

Plenty of fighting and aggression from the ducks and geese when they felt that another of their kind was eyeing up their bird.  Some very physical aggression on times.

At the end of the day there was the wild bird feeding session with lots of birds gathering at the pond waiting to be fed and of course the influx of the Bewick swans providing some good flyby and landing shots although a bit cluttered with other birds.

We all had another great day, and we did make a full day of it, leaving there at about 5 – 5:30pm.

Now we are looking forward to the next trip – a visit to the Ponds at the Dow Corning site in Barry on 19th of March.  A good Macro session with maybe a greater spotted woodpecker and any other spectacle that presents itself.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Forest Farm

Date:              29th January 2017

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It was a wet old morning but we had a good turn-out at the club and a few more at the venue.  We arrived at Forest Farm just before nine, early enough to get some half decent light.

Not a great deal of action at the first hide and the Kingfisher made only a few fleeting appearances.  A couple of sightings of Egrets as they flew by but no real photo opportunities.

The second hide was a little better thanks to the usual smaller birds who are happy to land anywhere near the sprinkling of seed laid out for them.  One Robin hovering in front of Dave’s lens for a short time, although he was oblivious to its presence and others were happy to nip in for a feed alongside us.

Slightly more action at the canal but even then only fleeting glances of the Kingfisher as they flashed by.  Plenty of rain and plenty of dogs so not much hope of good photos.

The third hide near the ranger centre was much more promising.  As always plenty of smaller birds at the feeders even though they were empty.  Good old Dave came fully equipped with nuts and seed which he placed around the feeding area.  We got some good bird shots but the highlight was the appearance of Rats who were obviously hungry enough to venture out after the nuts.  All in all, we each got some good photos of smaller birds and of course the rats.

Despite the wet and cold weather we had a pretty good morning, plenty of discussion around photography especially ISO settings in the poor lighting, a good laugh and some banter amongst ourselves, topped off with some pretty good wildlife shots.

All in all and against all odds another good field trip.

Thanks to all who made the effort especially Josh our 11 Y.O. budding photographer extraordinaire who even at his young age takes a mean photograph.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Slimbridge Wetlands

Date:              30th October 2016

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It was not the best weather for photography – quite grey, but dry and reasonably warm for the time of year.

There were some early morning moans and groans but everyone we expected turned out.

We left at 06.45 and headed off to Slimbridge via the old Severn Crossing in the hope we could get some early morning shots of the bridge locality.

With the poor lighting conditions, good shots were at a premium so we moved on to try the Severn beach but access was closed so we gave -up and just headed off for Slimbridge.

As we arrived in the village there were a host of twitchers and photographers leering into a field (not sure what the collective noun is for either photographers or twitchers).  It turned out they were watching Cattle Egrets.  Too far away for most of us and them.

From there we carried on to the reserve.


I will not list the sightings as they were too numerous – nothing too special or unique apart from the Cranes and the otters who came out to play within the glass enclosure – hence no great shots nut plenty of waterfowl and the odd bird of prey.

Anyway we all had a great day and enjoyed the creatures in all their shapes, sizes and beautiful colours, with plenty of photos and opportunity to use a variety of equipment and techniques.

Sadly no Bewick’s Swans but we hope to get the mass migration another day.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Forest Of Dean

Date:              25th September 2016

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An early start was necessary to get us within the Forest of Dean as soon as reasonably possible.  We arrived at about 08.30 at Butterfly house near Symmonds Yat.  From there we headed towards Cinderford.  There, we were directed towards the forest and given some advice on where to find the Wild boar.

We arrived at a public parking area on the fringe of the forest, where we parked up and headed into the woodland.  Although there was a lot of water about the ground was not too bad when approached with care.

Hawkeye Steve was the first to see anything – a deer which scampered off before he could get a shot.

Most of our time was spent looking for the Wild Boar with distraction by the large number of Fungi present in many forms e.g. mushrooms, toadstools and Lichen.

We walked about 3 miles before we had our sighting of a family of Boar.  They caught us unaware and we caught them also.  As soon as they got wind of us they scampered off back into the undergrowth never to be seen again despite a search by Steve and myself.

On our way back to our cars we came upon a pond and spent quite a while chasing some excellent specimens of dragonfly which, due to the warm sunny weather were quite active, at least until the cloud burst.   Yes we got soaked, even though we sheltered under the canopy of trees.

When we got back to our cars we had our lunch and then headed for the butterfly house.

The visit was well worth the entrance fee with many species of butterfly available for us to photograph.  And we got warm in the bargain – too warm.  It was tropical in there and we had to wait best part of 30 minutes for our cameras to acclimatise before we could even take any useful photos.

Well!  We at least saw some Boar – sadly no photos but other things such as fungi and butterflies made it a very worthwhile day.


Deer, wild boar, a variety of Fungi, the odd beetle – not the singing type,  dragonflies, butterflies, etc.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Skomer Island

Date:              17th July 2016

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I didn’t realise that there are two 5 o’clocks in one day, but now I know – Yawn! Yawn!

We met as usual at the club house at 5 am (or was it a dream?).

Even Tina made it and she hates getting up before 8am.

But there we all were three cars full, all bright as muddy buttons.

Somehow we drove down to West Wales and arrived at St Martins Haven at around 07:30.   Thank goodness for sat navs – not the easiest place to find.  The problem was would the boat sail?

I checked with the office the previous day and they said it’s very likely the boat would sail so we thought the odds were in our favour.  I stayed away from the main body in case I had to make a quick exit and lock myself in my car, should the news be bad.  I must have done something good in my life – the booking office opened and we were told the boat would sail – oh such relief I would be a good guy again!!!!

The trip across to the island was very pleasant, the feel of the wind in my hair ???? maybe not but it was refreshing.  After about 20 mins we landed and made our way onto the island.

After our H&S briefing we were let loose to do what we don’t always do very well which is to take good pictures.

Sightings:       Obviously the main point of interest was the sea birds – especially the Puffins, but there was a lot more to see including:

Wild rabbits – both brown/grey and some very cute little black bunnies – I am sure the seagulls looked at them in a different light.

Guillemots, Razor Bills, Fulmars, Herring, Lesser and Black Backed Gulls, Kittiwakes and of course Puffins.  To name but a few.

Then of course there were the butterflies, moths and caterpillars, then to top it all the Grey Seals.

What a fantastic place we all thoroughly enjoyed it and will surely make another visit next year.



Field Trip Report

Venue:           Llanelli Wetlands Centre

Date:              10th April 2016

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Here we are again, another day out with the wildlife group.  As usual we met at the club and organised ourselves for the trip down to Llanelli.

The weather was OK, but appeared to get worse the further west we went.  But by the time we got to the wetlands the worst of the weather had passed leaving sunny intervals with a fairly strong cold wind.

There was plenty to see in the centre itself but the hides were not so revealing.  We saw a few species of birds but nothing too out of the ordinary.   I found the hides were generally too far from the action even with a 600mm lens!

The park has several miles of walks and plenty of habitat including several ponds inhabited by some wonderful species of waterfowl, many with their young.  I am sure that if the weather had been warmer we would have treated to a greater variety of wildlife.  But alas we can only speculate and maybe revisit later in the year in order to satisfy our curiosity and maybe meet our expectations.

In all we covered about 4-5 miles and no doubt burned off a few calories by keeping warm and carrying our kit.  On the bright side we did get some good shots of the resident waterfowl and their young.

There was also some dismay and upset for two of our group when an opportunist seagull helped itself to a meal of two young ducklings right in front of their eyes so to speak, and NO they did not get any shots of the incident.

Sightings:  Plenty of duck species, along with other waterfowl, lots of gulls of different types, many hatchlings and some inhabited nests.  A few Godwit just within range and some cormorants.

All in all we had a good day, everybody appeared to enjoy themselves and we all got some good shots.  In conclusion a good field trip.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Parc Slip near Bridgend

Date:              20th March 2016

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It was a cold morning when we set off for Parc Slip.  The group set off in two cars to pick-up the M4 west at Pendoylan.  From there we travelled along the M4 towards Sarn  and onto Parc Slip.  The journey went well apart from a few deviations and detours but we got there having to eventually resort to using to our sat nav Girls 1 boys 0.  Yes it was the girls who got us back on track.

On arrival at Parc Slip we made our way to the hide located behind the Café and reception building.  The lighting was very poor but we persevered.

Though fairly quiet there were several small birds coming and going to maintain our attention and keep us clicking away.

From there we went to the hide on the east end of the main pond area.  Once again there was some activity but not much out of the ordinary.

Eventually the cold got to us so we headed for the café to get a warm drink and some snack food inside us, very nice too.


Hide 1.  Blue Tits, Long Tail Tits, Coal Tits, Nut Hatch, Jay, Chaffinch and Bullfinch.

Hide 2.  Lapwing, Canada Geese,  Teal,  Little Grebe, Coot.

Café.     Tea, chocolate, coffee, biscuits and cake and a bit of warmth.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Forest Farm

Date:              21st February 2016

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Despite a very wet and windy day there was a good variety of birds on display at the hides.

We started in the top hide where the main attraction was Mr. Kingfisher.  He spent a long time parading himself around the pond resting at his usual perches of branches and reeds as he stalked his prey.  We all managed some good shots of him perched, preening and hunting, resulting in some good photos of him with a beak full of fish.  There were also a few smaller birds feeding near the hide.  In fact we actually had a few blue tits come inside the hide in search of food, apparently not too put out by our presence.

Despite the torrential rain, high winds and cold, we made our way to the feeder hide where we were lucky enough to see the Heron and a good variety of smaller birds on and around the feeders.

At around midday we made our way home.

Sightings:  Kingfisher, Jay, Mallard ducks, Moorhen, Blue Tit, Grey Heron, Wood Pidgeon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Robin, Bearded Tit, Chaffinch and Bullfinch.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Cosmeston Lakes Near Penarth

Date:              24th January 2016

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A group of 7 members turned up at Cosmeston Lakes at around 08.30.

Although there was a little rain in the air at first, the morning remained quite dry.  The ground conditions throughout the lake and woodland area was muddy with plenty of water puddles.

The lake had its usual variety of wading and water birds including:

Mallard ducks, swans, grebe, tufted duck, cormorants, coots etc.  We were informed by a small group of twitchers that Bittern were present in the reeds but we did not see them.

After spending time around the lake and in the hide, we ventured into the Cogan woods region.  Up to our necks in mud and dog pooh we drove on until we came across a large dragon disguised as a fallen tree.

This was an obvious source of food for the local wildlife including a variety of small birds and squirrels.

There were blue tits, coal tits, great tits and nut hatch in the feeding foray.

The expedition terminated at the local café where we indulged ourselves in a warm drink and some congenial conversation.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Forest Farm,  Cardiff North

Date:              8th November 2015

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At the start of a new Club year and the first field trip for the Wildlife group was Forest Farm Nature Reserve.  Chosen for its diversity of wildlife with consideration given to the time of year and the unpredictability of the weather.

Members of the group met at the club house to organise transport.  We arrived at Forest Farm around 08.45 and our first stop was the top hide for hopeful sightings of the Kingfisher(s).  The hide was quite busy with other watchers and Photographers using big lenses and heavy tripods thus limiting the available viewing space.  With no sightings of interest, a few of us decided to visit the other hides while the more patient of the group remained in the hide.

The second hide just down the path gave Steve (hawkeye) a good shot of a Snipe and a sighting of a fox scampering into the undergrowth.

On the way back we got a text from those at the first hide telling us that the Kingfisher had turned up.  Steve and Tina headed back to hopefully get some pics.

We all met up again at the far hide near the wardens’ meeting room.  Here we had sightings of several small birds.

On several occasions the weather threatened to close in hence the lighting was quite poor and our little hands were cold so we decided to call it a day at around midday.

Sightings:  Kingfisher, Snipe, Dipper, Dunlin, Nuthatch, Jay, Robin, Squirrel and Fox.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Flat Holm

Date:              8th August 2015 

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We arrived at the departure point at about 10 am where we were given information related to the trip and fitted up with our life jackets.  The boat we used was a commando type inflatable.

We left the quay about 11.am to catch the 11:15 opening of the lock gates.  After a short wait we were in the lock and ready to start our journey into the Bristol Channel.

The weather was fine and the sea quite calm, so the trip was quite exhilarating but by the time we reached the island my hair was a mess LOL.

Since the tide was still quite low, we were unable to moor the boat at the jetty so we had a short and informative trip around the island to allow the water level to rise.  Still we were told about and witnessed the riptides, the smugglers caves, the gun emplacements and other history of buildings on the island.

When we returned to the jetty we were able to secure the boat enough for us all to alight onto the jetty, collect our bags and make our way to the shops and offices for our H&S talk.

Eventually we were on our way.  Some waited for the organised tour while others went in search of nature or other points of interest on the island.

On my walk, rabbits and gulls young and old were plentiful, as were the bees and some rare wild plants such as wild leek.

The only down side to the trip was a lack of free time on the island in all we had just over one hour and could have done with two.

In saying that, everybody seemed to enjoy the trip with some suggesting a return trip in the future.

It was a waste of time tidying my hair, the return trip was just as bad and ruined my hairdo again.

Well worth a visit, but more time required.


Field Trip Report

Venue:           Birds of Prey Centre – Newent

Date:               31/5/15

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We met as usual at the Millennium Hall car park confident that by the time we got to our destination the weather would pick up or at the very least dry up.  It was 08:30 when we started our drive to Newent.  The drive there was uneventful and the BOP Centre was well sign posted and quite easy to find.  We got there a little after 10am so we waited in the car park for the centre to open at 10.30.  Although it was still raining when we arrived at the car park, by the time the place opened the rain had cleared and the rest of the day was dry but a little windy.

The number of birds in cages was very impressive and later many of them were on display outside their cages thus allowing a more natural photo setting.  We were all amazed at the variety of birds of each type on display.  As the title of the venue suggests there were birds of prey from all over the world.  It was simply incredible.

The flying displays gave plenty of opportunity to take some superb photographs.  In some cases you would surely have needed a high speed camera to match the speed of the birds.  In others you could not help but to laugh at the antics of some of the birds such as the Burrowing Owl – he was so cute and such a character he had us in stitches.

One could not help but to be amazed at the ability of the birds to perform some fantastic feats of flight and manoeuvrability.  They even responded to instruction!!!!!!

The birds were encouraged to fly close to and in some cases amongst the audience.

It was a fantastic day with plenty of live birds and three excellent flying displays.  As one person commented to me ‘it was a photographer’s paradise’ with lots to see and some challenging photography.

Staff controlling the displays were excellent, extremely friendly and very knowledgeable.  They made us feel that they were tailoring the display to meet our photographic needs.

It is a place we all said we would happily visit again at the next opportunity.

Simply fantastic!!!!!!!


Field Trip Report

Venue:            Ogmore River and Kenfig Nature Reserve

Date:                19th April 2015

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On a bright and very windy Sunday morning, we travelled from our meeting place at the Millennium Centre in Barry, to Ogmore Castle.  As expected the blustery wind was very cold and the tide was high, making travelling the river banks uncomfortable and almost impossible.  Despite the wind, mud and water we had a short stroll and lingered long enough to get a few shots of some local wildlife before moving on to Kenfig Nature Reserve.

At Kenfig the conditions appeared much better although the wind was still quite cold.  After donning our coats and collecting our equipment we headed off towards the pond.  After a short walk we reached a hide and settled there for an hour or so before moving on to investigate other parts of the reserve.  We found a few small pools and eventually reached the sand dunes where we ventured up hill and down dale, taking in the local flora and fauna before returning to the car for our journey home.

Although the conditions were not great the team enjoyed the field trip even though the cold wind and many dogs may have been responsible for keeping the visible wildlife to a minimum.


There was a healthy variety of small wild birds e.g. Robins, Finches, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Chaffinch to name a few.

There were the usual water birds including Shelduck, Mallard, Canada Goose, Coot and Mute Swan.

The highlight of the visit was the Coot family, including eight chicks.  They put on quite a show, where the parents were attempting to herd the chicks into the safety of the reeds but like all children they had a mind of their own.

Then there was the local flora obviously many unusual types unique to the sandy and watery environments.  Some of these are yet to be identified by any of the group but we are working on it.


Field Trip Report

Venue:            Parc Slip, Tondu, Bridgend

Date:               22nd March 2015

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Some members of the wildlife group met at St. Francis Millennium Hall Barry at 07.30.  From there we travelled to Parc Slip where we met up with another member of the group.  The morning was a little chilly but brightened up later in the morning.

Parc Slip was very quiet apart from the myriad of bird sounds including a woodpecker that we could not see.  We had the full run of all the hides but spent most of our time in the first and last hide due to the variety of sightings in them.

Sightings:  Moorhen, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Canada Geese, Mallard ducks, Water Rail, Nut Hatch, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Buzzard and Red Kite.

We even saw some ‘female cows’ as suggested by one member of the group (causing a roar of laughter).  These were in fact Highland Cattle, some even ‘male bulls’ as suggested by another member and the ragging went on!!!

The Buzzard was perched in a tree the other side of the lake behind the coffee shop.

He must have been well fed as he shared his perch with a pair of Magpies and made no attempt to make a meal of them, even though they made a few minor attacks on the Buzzard.  He was very content and was still there when we left.

Another good day out and we reluctantly left there about 13.00 hours promising ourselves a return visit later in the year.


Field Trip Report

Venue:            Forest Farm, Cardiff

Date:               28th February 2015

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Some members of the wildlife group met at St. Francis Millennium Hall, Barry at 07.30.  From there we travelled to Forest Farm where we met up with other members of the group.  Although the weather was not great, we felt lucky that it did not rain significantly during the event and even brightened up later in the morning.

Some of us travelled between the 3 hides while Mike kept a watchful eye for the elusive Kingfisher in the top hide.

During our visit to the new hide we received a text from mike to say that the Kingfisher was at the top hide.  By the time we got back it had been and gone.  I am convinced one of the shots Mike took of it was with a shotgun because it did not come back despite our long wait. Of course, he denies it!!!

Anyway Mike and Rob got all the KUDOS for having seen and got pictures of, the elusive Kingfisher, while the rest of us wallowed in our disappointment.

All in all the hides were quite busy with bursts of activity.  We managed to get sightings and pictures of Mallard Ducks, Robins, Water Rail, Jays, Pigeon, Grey Heron, Vole, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, etc. and some even got Kingfisher.

By mid-day we had had enough and in despair at no more Kingfisher sightings along with the cold and dire need for a hot drink, we packed up and headed home.

A great day was had by all and we are looking forward to the next field trip to get one up on Mike and Rob.


Wildlife Group First Field Trip   25th January 2015

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January saw the inauguration of the club’s ‘Wildlife Group’ in which a list of Places to Visit was produced and from this a short list of Venues and field trip dates was issued to members.

The first field trip took place on Sunday 25th January 2015.  This was a visit to the Llandaff end of the Taff River Walk.  Six members met at the club in Barry and then travelled into Llandaff North where they parked and proceeded on foot along the banks of the river Taff towards Western Avenue.

Although the weather was a little dull and variety of wildlife was not as expected the field trip ticked many of the other boxes covered by the objectives of the group.  As they strolled/ lingered the group and sub groups discussed a variety of topics including equipment, techniques, wildlife, wildlife habitats and other venues.  Some mention of setting-up other Common interest Groups was also touched on.  There was also discussion and advice between members with similar camera on settings and application of settings.

Sightings included:  Swans, Mallard, Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Goosander, Cormorant, Dipper, Robins, Thrush, Gold Crest and several members of the Tit family.  There were also action photos of the rowers, joggers and cyclists on offer.

Discussion within the group suggested that the group enjoyed the morning out and are looking forward to the next Field Trip.