Monday, April 07, 2008

The shape of things to come

After what seems like a very long gap I went back to Uskmouth last weekend - now refurbished as a new reserve, complete with visitor centre. There have been mixed comments on the local birding blogs, so here is my 5 penn'orth.

The visitor centre is ok. Nice coffee, but sadly no bacon butties. There are cracking views over the ponds they've created, and in time as the shrubs and trees grow and the ponds and scrape naturalise I think it will be nice spot to have a cuppa, and probably see a few things. There were already some canada geese and a little egret sniffing around, although I think the bird feeders in the middle of a flat expanse may be a little hopeful just yet. As you can see I sat out in the sunshine.

On the reserve itself they've closed off one section as a refuge. I understand the reasoning but it does limit opportunities a bit, as there are no hides, so every opportunity is needed. They've put up some screens, but these didn't seem to work very well. No doubt the slatting is to help them stay up in the strong winds, but due to the lack of shading behind the wildfowl all moved away every time I walked behind a screen! Maybe they will habituate to people in time.
I had some good views of bearded tits which seemed quite active in the reedbeds along the sea wall stretch. Only one male came close enough for a photo - just got the blurry body in shot and was about to focus when it flew! Still kicking myself, but worth another go I guess. There were quite a few chiff chaff around, just a little out of range .......

and this wren was pretty active, ............... but otherwise my main views were of things swimming away! Overall I think it will come, but they could really do with some proper hides or better screens at the pools.

**If anyone is interested I now have some better quality images on a web album - see link above slideshow to the right. It's a work in progress (as you will see if you go on today) and I know some shots are a bit iffy, but they will improve in time! I plan to do a 'latest shot' file and the site seems to have this RSS thingy so people can check for updates.

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