Monday, 25 March 2019

Mystery time

A trip to London on Saturday produced Ring-necked Parakeet for the year list.

Yesterday was a day of Surveys, with WeBs, my final Glamorgan Willow Tit survey and BTO Heronry survey.

WeBs around Parc Taf Bargoed saw an overall drop in numbers - hardly surprising at this time of year, with the Teal having departed and Mallard numbers almost halved. There were, however record counts for Coot - 5 - and Cormorant - 9. Plenty of Chiffies singing.

Over to Nelson Bog for the Willow Tit survey - no sign on the first visit, but a surprise Kestrel was a bonus. Parc Penallta also drew a blank with Willow Tit. It did, however, score heavily with Brimstone butterflies with anything between 4 and 12 seen (I had three males together and a single female, to give the minimum total, but estimate at least 10 males zipping about). A single Peacock was the only other species on the wing.

Back through Nelson Bog, and more Brimstone's, inc another female, a Small Tortoise and a Comma. Success also with a male Willow Tit.

The Heronry survey was worthless, only one Heron could be seen and in the hour I watched not another flew in or out. Give it a couple of weeks and the young should have hatched and the parents will be more active.

So the Mystery in the title? Well, walking through Nelson Bog I noticed a "mass" on a branch a few meters up. on the tree that leans towards 1 o'clock from the bottom left of the photo, it's the first branch on the right hand side
 A bit closer and the grey "mass" can be made out.

A closer look, and it was Frog spawn!

Anyone any ideas how such a large mass of spawn managed to get onto a branch so high up

Friday, 22 March 2019

Spring has sprung

The first Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing back on territory this morning along Tram Road Side, Abercynon, brightened the walk to the station.

Thursday, 21 March 2019


Nice morning at the pool with; wheatear [2m], curlew [2m] one eventually driven off to the north, a little ringed plover flushed, which also flew north plus female merlin hunting the growing number of meadow pipits east of tip. Completed 2nd willow tit survey yesterday with this time just a single bird responding, also noted was my first chiffchaff of the year plus 3 occupied stonechat territories with one female carrying nesting material. Bad news; Tricho for 2nd year on the run in garden, removed feeders never to be replaced.
Yesterdays chat reminds me of the view across the table during our evening meals during Gambia 1, see you.


Two Swallows over Cross Inn Llantrisant this morning.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Finally, something to howl about

The second last week of the BTO Calling Owl survey. I haven't recorded a Tawny Owl locally since the end of October last year, neither during my 20 mins survey time slot, or at any other time. Would tonight see the return of the Tawny's, or had they deserted me for good? I've been thinking that every week since I returned from South Africa in November.

19 mins into the survey and, wait, was that a faint hoot, or was I desperately imagining it?. No, there it goes again. Result, a male Tawny Owl hooting. With seconds to spare it made it into my survey result.

The only other sighting of note were 3, prob, 4 Rooks low over Abercynon station this morning, heading up the Cynon valley - I presume from the rookery that has become established at Cilfynydd Sewerage Works - I first noted breeding Rooks there last year.

Monday, 25 February 2019


My first curlew of the year through this a.m. calling flying west to east. Only other February records up this end; 22nd 2016 also at Rhaslas & 28th 2012 Cwm Woods, heard flight calling while wine roping with Evans in Cwm Woods. Also this morning; pair of peregrine preening at south east dam (silenced all skylark), tufted duck[14], wigeon[16], goldeneye[13], also, once again, pair of great crested grebe in courtship [head turning], but they never attempt to breed. Also factory roof top gulls returning; Pentrebach - herring gull[c30], Abercanaid - herring gull[c70], lesser black backed[c10].

Friday, 22 February 2019


Finally after about 90 minutes searching this afternoon I managed to get the Red Necked Grebe at Llangasty. The Scaup was easier but I could not find the female Scoter which had been reported. A few Pintail were present, the Shelduck was in front of the hide not in its usual position on the far bank. Large numbers of Goldeneye, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks were there, also Shoveler and Pochard. Surprisingly no Egrets were observed.

Earlier I had checked for Tawny Owls in the usual cemetery near Merthyr with no luck but had some compensation with a low fly over Goshawk.