Sunday, 15 October 2017

Vis mig'ing and the Rock Thrush

This weekend was meant to be about athletes racing in Germany, so unusually I don't pack any bin's, or camera. Big Error. All day Friday and Saturday i watch small flock after small flock of passerines pass over heading in South Westerly direction. Of those I managed to ID, they were mainly Chaffinch, Skylark and Meadow Pipit, with smaller numbers of Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Hawfinch, Blue Tit, and Crested Lark. With bin's I'm sure I would have identified more species. The village we stayed in held at least 6 Black Redstart (prob a lot more) just round the hotel. Driving back to Berlin, a skien of Common Crane flew over.

Interestingly, all the crows around where we stayed, SW of Lipzig, were Carrion, whilst in Berlin they were Hooded.

The trip, however, got off to a fraught start as soon as I picked up the hire care, Mr Hill phoned to inform me of the Rock Thrush found in Gwent..... So it was with hope on my return to the UK that the bird would still be on site - A text from Phil on my landing confirmed its presence today and by 15:45, the Rock Thrush was on the list - my 7th GB tick of the year. Although looking into the sun I managed a few digiscope pics - the best of which is below.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


Working just outside Senghenydd this a.m. and for some unknown reason decided to drive home the scenic route. First record of whooper at Rhaslas, still carrying yellow stain.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Putting the boot in..

At 4am this morning I decided to try for the Booted/Sykes Warb found down the Gower by Ed Hunter, before coaching in Swansea later in the morning, so set of not long after 5am. After driving through some heavy rain which had me doubt my sanity, the Gower was surprisingly dry. I was the first birder to arrive on the scene and started my search as it grew lighter. Initially it was Robins everywhere but as the number of birders grew, so did the number of birds. A fair sized mix flock passed through containing both Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warb, but I failed to get on to either of these. I did get back into the groove picking up the first of the days Pied Flick's.

Soon the flock passed through again, and this time I managed to pick up the Y-b, but there was no sign of the main quarry. As we spread out to try to find the hippo' Mark Hipkin announced he had it and most of the assembled crew were quickly onto it as it fed in a stunted Sycamore, giving great veiws. After a couple of minutes it disappeared, but the agreed concensus was that it was a Booted Warb rather than the rarer Sykes. Mark didn't take long to refind it as it worked the hedgerow. At that point I had to leave so left the guys following it down the lane.

Phil and Bev decided to take the chance later in the day. When they arrived it hadn't been seen for several hours, but they didn't take long to refind it, in the same stunted Sycamore it was in earlier in the morning.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

I find these are in short supply this year, this is only my second record of the year and I have been checking Willow Herb religiously. I found this one by accident today in my lane. Also on Monday I had a mole over Robertstown north and yes a live one! In Abercwmboi I had a Ruby Wasp sp and have not seen them this late before.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Little bit of Cuba

Here are couple of photos from my trip to Cuba, first up Cuban Pygmy Owl  which was only seen on mainland .
 Cuban Emarald was very common and seen daily
 I had this pale Plover and I just knew it had to be Piping Plover
 Cuban Tody and for something so colourful took a bit to see.
 Cuban Green Woodpecker.
 Turkey Vulture.
 West Indian Woodpecker.
 Lauging Gull.
 Cuban Brown Anole
 Juv Cuban Black Hawk
 The Scarce  Bahamas Mockingbird and only a single bird seen.
 Greater Flamingo.
Mixed flock of White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill and a Ticoloured Heron.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

weekend wanderings

After coaching on Saturday, I took myself round a patch of local woodland I've never actually visited, mainly in the hope of finding Club and Saddle fungi.

About 3 steps into the wood and there was my first, a Crested Coral Clavulina coralloides, quickly followed by a couple of Golden Spindles Clavulinopsis corniculata, a Wrinkled Club, Clavulina rugosa, and several Pointed Clubs Clavaria acuta, all in a small area. After that, zilch apart from a few small Mycea (which I didn't see). I did, however, find a small white slug. Could it be the Ghost or another Worm Slug. A check with the hand lens found no pigment in the eyes and the pneumostome was located at the very rear of the body and a short keel at the very tail. Yes, a Ghost Slug, Selenochlamys ysbryda.  - one of the very few species with a Welsh word in its official binomal.

                                              Crested Coral
                                              Ghost Slug.

After Sundays tee-hugging session (see Phil's post), it was another wander round a local wood before the rain set in. Fungi were few and far between but Twig Parachute Marasmiellus ramealis was new for me. I did pick up three fine beetles - Woodland Dor, Anoplotrupes stercorarius is a familiar species I usually fine up on the hills, but I picked up my first Common Heartshield Nebria brevicollis and a host of the False Ladybird Endomychus coccineus, another tick for me.

                                             Twig Parachute
                                               Common Heart-shield
                                                False Ladybird

Finally on Monday, I noticed an attractive moth on the pillar just outside the house on Monday evening - not quite a Death's-head Hawkmoth, but a new moff for me - Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta

                                                             Large Ranunculus

Monday, 25 September 2017

One for the Bucket list

After hearing that the Dead's Head Hawkmoths were back at Kenfig Pool for release I thought I had blew my chances of seeing them after hearing too late on Sunday they were there. But there's always a silver lining and Dave Carrington the Warden from Kenfig Nature Reserve said that if I still wanted to see them I could so and Phil jumped at it. It was brilliant to have the pleasure of seeing them The first time for me to twitch a moth.