Wednesday 1 May 2024

Rhaslas 01 May 2024



A late morning visit was almost abandoned when I found; 8 paddle boarders, several dog walkers and 2 birders already present. I ignored everybody and carried on regardless, making the most of the break in the weather and was rewarded by distant views of 11 whimbrel, my highest count at Rhaslas (record shots only). Also present were 3 swift (first for the year), a single common sandpiper and a fresh influx of wheatear c5. Note 11 whimbrel were reported at Llangorse later in the day, I wonder.

Friday 26 April 2024


Bird briefly present on the 24th, on ridge to east of pool, then slipped east. Maybe I should have enlarged image sooner, nah! just a juv peregrine with a fat moustache.

2 little ringed plover present today, singles have been noted briefly over the last week but flush at a distance and appear to head north. 3 common sand also noted.

Tuesday 23 April 2024



Rhaslas this morning; singles of turnstone, dunlin and common sandpiper on shoreline with flyover lapwing and curlew. Yesterday a little ringed plover heading north.

Friday 28 January 2022

My PSL challenge update

With Mike and Martin Bevan both bringing the blog back to life, I thought I'd better do an update on my PSL challenge, which I set myself a couple of years ago - to get my home monad (1x1km grid square) and its 8 neighbours up to 1000 species.

At the end of 2020 I had managed to get my home monad (ST0996) up to 1067 species and by the end of 2021 it was up to 1248 species. 

For the remaining 8 monads, progress was made but was hampered as I spent some 5 - 6 months in Scotland looking after my parents, sorting out the sale of the family home, etc. 

ST0895  was 360 and at the end of 2021 is 494
ST0886 - 570 up to 595
ST0887 - 218 up to 306
ST0995 - 647 up to 780
ST0997 - 279 up to 357
ST1095 - 303 up to 382
ST1096 - 253 up to 376
ST1097 - 453 up to 575
Hopefully I'll get at least one more (ST0995) over 1000 by the end of this year with the remainder all over 500.

Monday 10 January 2022

Cynon Valley Year List

A new year and another list so I thought I would give this blogging another go. Local listing is a great way to get you out and about especially checking your local patches in the valley, rain or shine still gets you out. I always start listing religiously at the beginning of the year and than it seems to fade off as the year go on. On adding up my list for last year I was surprised to see I had beat my previous high count by two birds and my best now stands at hundred and twelve birds for the valley.

On the second of January I started my first day birding local. I went to Dare Valley Country Park first stopping to pick up Tufted Duck but on arriving I was surprised to find my flock had gone from nine to two. It just go to shows you can't take anything for granted. I also did Tirfounder fields and all in all I picked up 42 species. As I got home I had a phone call from Phil to say he had found a Great White Egret,  its a big local rarity and I think a third or fourth for the Valley, a brilliant find by Phil. On arriving I got the news I had missed it by five minutes, it was seen at Peace Park if your local or any non native people to the valley Pwll Waun Cynon Nature Reserve. 

The biggest part of my birding is done when I am out with the dog,  my walk a couple times day consists of a field at the top end of Robertstown . It turns up some good birds over the years, its where I found my first Yellow Browed Warbler. At the field yesterday I managed  to see four species of birds of prey in twenty minutes, I got my first Peregrine of the year, my local female Goshawk for the third time this year. It's a juvenile bird and I have been watching it since last autumn. I have seen it chasing Wood Pigeons but  most day its after the Jackdaws going to roost or leaving the roost at Aberdare park. Two days ago I was over the field and I spotted her flying over, she was taking some big flaps and I was starting to think she was going to do a display flight but with that she shot off west and out of sight. Within minutes a male Sparrowhawk flew towards me really fast and dropping in to stoop. I thought it was hunting but little did I know it was being hunted by the Goshawk chasing it over a wood and out of sight. For a second you think wow, what a sight, a first for me and then the coin drops and you start to think I hope it missed. I had to wait two days before I saw both again and boy was I relieved. I have also noticed that there seems to be a lack of Winter Thrushes and it took me a couple of days to get both, in the past I would have got both on the same day. Last thing big cheer for Martin for keeping the blog going and boys I am sick of buying all the tea. 

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Return to blogging

It's been a long time since any post on the blog - the last from Mike a worthy call to arms. This will be a short post to highlight a recent find with very few records in the UK.

Last weekend I was down Pembrokeshire. First stop was Barafundle Bay. Walking down the steps to the bay I noticed several galls on the leaves of Greater Knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa. On opening one, a small orange grub was in residence, looking very much like a fly larva. 

On getting home I checked with the excellent Bladmineerders website ( and this led me to Loewiola centaureae, a species of Cecidomyiidae fly with only 4 records listed against it on the Aderyn website and only 8 in the UK.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Into new territory

After doing bits and pieces around the house on Saturday morning, I headed out looking to add to my PSL challenge, this time tackling the monad immediately east of my home monad, looking to add mainly fungi, bryophytes and lichens to the squares list, keeping an eye out for any avian year ticks - in particular the very invisible Fieldfares.

I was quite successful in adding over 50 species to the monad's list. Amongst these were a couple of lifers.

First lifer was the micro fungi, Phragmocephala atra. This is a micro fungi of dead Nettle stems, found when checking the Nettels for the much commoner Leptosphaeria acuta. Mark had posted about P. atra on Facebook a couple of years ago, but I couldn't find any at that time. They look like short, dark, stiff hairs erupting from the stem, but when they are fresh they have a "pompom" head, which makes them quite distinctive.

The larger, mammary shaped fungi are L. acuta, with the fine "hairs" P. atra. A couple with "pompom" heads can just be seen. one is to the right of the top most L.acuta.

The second lifer was also a new family for me. Bristletails, Machilidae. Thanks to a recent post on Facebook by Christian Sparrow Owens, providing a photo reference for bristletails, when I spotted one, I felt that I might be able to identify to species level, so grabbed a few pics. A quick perusal of the reference photo's were enough to convince me that I had Dilta chateri. I did, however, post it up on Facebook and Christian agreed the id.

 The key features to look for are the relatively short antennae and the solid dark band across the rear of the "hump". At this time of year this band is paler than during summer months.

This species appears to be restricted to Wales. In fact the NBN atlas has only 14 records for this species and all within south Wales.