Saturday, 13 January 2018

Water Pipit

Water Pipit still on the slipway of Llywn Onn reservoir this afternoon. Last seen going down towards the feeding ponds with Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Ogmore and Dunraven

Pretty much the same birds at the Watermill and Portobello today, the Wigeon flock has doubled to two birds and a female Kingfisher was at Portobello. No sign of any Purple Sands at Ogmore a Med gull ,Oystercatchers and a few Turnstone being the highlights. Dunraven got the gold star today with a flyover Chough and a male Black Redstart on the cliff face.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

I won't boar you with the details but ...

After many years and multiple trips to the Forest of Dean Martin Bevan, Martin Bell and myself finally came across some wild boar this morning.
Parking at the Crabtree Hill car park we walked back down towards Speech House where we met a local woman who told us that in the morning the car park at the other side of Speech House would probable be better for the boar. We thanked her and walked over there but there were no boar present. A car then pulled into the car park and the same woman wound her window down and told us that the boar were next to my car !!!. Where have I heard that before. She then offered us a lift as long as we took our wellies off. Needless to say our footwear came off very quickly and soon 5 boar were in sight and photographed. A very big thank you to the lady.

Penduline Tit

Friday, 5 January 2018

Forest Ganol/Forest Farm/Forest Gump.

Between 15 -20 Hawfinch at Forest Ganol this morning decent views but very flighty. Forest Farm - Kingfisher,Snipe,Green Woodpecker,Sparrowhawk and a male Bullfinch. Forest Gump because it reminds me of Mike Hogan.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

New Year in Devon

It had been three years since we last spent a New Years Day birding in Devon, so Mr Hill, Bevan and myself made the journey down to start 2018 with a good day out. The last time we birded that area there were 5 of us as Mr Hogan and Mr Gaze (remember him? small chap, big smile, bad puns.) came along for a jolly.

Approaching our first stop at Broadsands, the rain started. pulling into the car park, we opted for coffee in the car, before wandering round to pick up the main target here - the Cirl Buntings, feeding in the car park. A quick sea watch in the rain didn't produce much, but with the rain easing and visibility improving, we got the scopes out and set up under a shelter, that also gave a slightly elevated position. We quickly found the our first Great northern Diver, before Martin found one closer in the bay. Several Great Crested Grebes, Razorbills and Guillemots were quickly found along with Gannets Fulmars and Kittiwakes. I briefly got onto a Black-throated Diver, but it dived and I couldn't relocate, never mind get anyone else on to it. A single Black-necked Grebe was found, albeit distantly.

With the rain having ceased, we took a walk round the car park but failed to locate the wintering Firecrest, before we set of to Dawlish Warren.

We stopped at Starcross for a quick look for the resident Slav' Grebe. The tide was well out and the steps down from the railway crossing were rather slippy, as Phil found out to his cost as ended up sat on his arse at the foot of the steps. Fortunately, no permanent damage. The Slav' was found along with a few commoner waders and lots of Brent's. 

At Dawlish we had a couple of showers, but most of the time it was dry with some periods of bright sunshine. Sea watching wasn't great but Martin found a Pom Skua, with Phil relocating it, or another later on, whilst I found a small group of Common Scoter and 3 Eider. A walk round the wood/ponds produced a Chiffy, but little else of note.

Next up was Matford Marsh to look for the American Wigeon that was wintering in the area. The yank, however couldn't be located - even when a fox flushed the feeding flock onto the pool. 3 Green Sands were reasonable compensation.

Final stop was Bowling Green Marsh, where Black 'wits were harder work than expected and a single Ruff showed briefly.

Overall a good start to the birding year with over 80 species logged.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Solway musings

A couple of trips up to see the parents over the last month allowed me to visit some of my early stamping grounds. Some changes in the local bird life are really noticable from the 70's/early 80s. New species include Nuthatch, Magpie and Little Egret. Magpie was always the most glaring omission. I only ever saw 2 individuals when I lived in Annan - my year ticks came from ticking birds on the English side of the Solway or traveling to Dumfries.
Another winner is Stock Dove. Whilst this species was always around, it appears to have become much commoner I even found a singing male in a park at the edge of town, and a flock of 100+ were found feeding in a stubble field (with about 60 feral pigeons and around 30 Woodpigeons). 
Losses are harder to identify. Whilst wildfowl and wader numbers were lower than what I used to see I'm not clear as to whether that was down to the mild winter.
Geese are the big winter draw for the area with Pink-foot and Barnacle being the dominant species. Both are easy to find. One of the great sights of my most recent trip was watching a field with 3000+ Barnies and a few Pinkies as I remember when the entire Svalbard population of Barnies was less than 3000) Working through the feeding flock I found a leuistic Barnie - these are only found in the Svalbard population - and then a Bar-headed Goose?? 

Away from the birding, I managed to catch up with the globular Springtail Dicyryomina saundersi, one of the easiest of the Springtails to identify thanks to its striped rear.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


More or less a drive-by this morning; water pipit with pied wagtail, grey wagtail and a dipper feeding on northeast corner of the upper spillway (the shallow end).