Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Rhaslas

Sanderling found by TC earlier today, alas missed by Phil and myself who were in too much of a hurry to do a lap, oh hum. Also present this p.m. were 2 common sandpiper plus all the usual suspects. I also missed the 5 Black-tailed Godwit TC found yesterday but I did get a good rinsing, I've got to pull my finger out.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Should I stay or should I go...

....to Pembrokeshire? That was the question on Friday evening and early Saturday morning. In the end I decided to stay local and headed down to Crymlyn Burrows. A great call as Hedwig didn't show...

Down Swansea way, birding was tough in the early morning drizzle with only a chiffy of note. However, almost as soon as the rain ceased, swallows started to trickle through. These were quickly followed by a singing Willow Warbler, my first of the year. At least 8 of these were out feeding in the willows, joined by several Blackcaps. Unfortunately nothing more interesting could be coaxed out.

A planned walk down the Gower today was amended as my mate John was hungover and I was knackered after getting to bed after 3 that morning. We ended up walking round Pwll-Ddu (site of last years Rock Thrush) and the Blorenge. Not a lot of birds about but some quality with a pair of Ring Ouzel, being the first birds I saw, just be where the path to the quarries leaves the road. Several Wheatear were on territory, with one bird watched both in display and in a territorial clash with a neighbour.

Over at Blorenge, Red Grouse proved relatively easy with at least 4 birds present, a couple showing reasonably well.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Dowlais

Anyone wondering about yesterdays report in Birdguides of an Iceland Gull in a slurry field 400m south of Dowlais ? It was Dowlais Farm, Somerset not Dowlais Top or Dallas Texas.

Snowy Owl

Heavily cropped photo of the Snowy Owl at St. David's yesterday. Can't believe I've now seen two of these beauties.

Monday, 2 April 2018

The gloss of a three Woodpecker day..

Arriving at RSPB Nagshead, slightly later than expected, we arrived just after 7:35 to an empty car park. Myself, Phil and Martin quickly kitted up and made our way onto the trails. In the lovely spring sunshine, birds were everywhere, with the sights and sounds of spring all around us. It didn't take that long before all three of us noticed a bird fly onto a tree about 100m away. Both my self and Martin quickly got on to it - a female Lesser 'Pecker. Result. Phil was quickly on to it as it was joined by a male. We watched this scarce species for a couple of minutes before they just disappeared. A male (the same individual?) called about 10 minutes later some distance away.

Several Great Spot's were heard and seen, but there was no sign of any Hawfinches. Back at the car park a Tawny Owl called twice.

From Naghead it was down the road to Lydney to search for the Glossy Ibis that had been found there recently. Whilst we knew it was near the pumping house, we didn't really have any idea where that was. After driving down a few roads we found the site, but there was no sign of any glossy. Just as we started to search the surrounding fields Phil picked it up flying in to the field next to the pump house. A nice "pull back" after dipping the Avalon Marshes bird earlier this year.

After the Glossy we headed back into Wales and our first visit of the year to Goldcliffe. Spotted Redshank was a year tick for myself, but there was a distinct lack of migrants. At least 120 Avocets were noted. It's a little surprising how the numbers of this species are increasing year on year at this site when the breeding success is so poor.

Braving the crowds, we had a quick walk round Uskmouth, but this was largely birdless. Several singing Chiffchaffs proved it was spring and Martin and Phil located a feeding Willow Warbler, but I didn't get on to it. A couple of yaffling Green Woodpeckers completed the set of resident 'peckers for the day.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Early breeding successes

Took advantage of the dry morning to undertake my second BTO Heronries survey for the year. On my first visit in late Feb I could only locate 5 nests. This time round 10 confirmed nest with a further 4 possible nests were located. The 14 total is the second highest count for this site.
As ever, the varying stages on show at this time of year at the heronry is quite amazing. I had two almost fully grown young on show with adults feeding very small young on at least one nest, and on another couple of nests the adults were either on eggs or brooding very small young.
Other successful breeders in the area were Crossbills with 30+ feeding in the area, most begging youngsters. With the firsts broods now flown, at least two males were singing or displaying to females. At least one male looked to have quite a deep bill.
The Crossbills were kept company with several Goldfinch, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll (all including singing males).

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Fudge duck

Last Sunday Phil, Martin and myself had planned a trip to Radnor and to Llanbwchllyn Lake to catch up with the Ferruginous Duck. We had a eventful trip up with two foxes and a Barn Owl seen but the biggest shock was Martin actually saw the owl from the back of the car. We made good time and found the site pretty quick, it's  always nice to go somewhere new. The walk down to the lake was great, we could see Redwing overhead and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in the background. Once we got to the hide it was very smart with a thatched roof but once we got inside we could see it was not built for birdwatchers but more likely Oompaloompas. I had to look though my scope on my knees and when you sit down you got a pices of wood in the way because the windows were so narrow and that's my moaning over. On the lake it was fairly busy, most of the Tufted Ducks were in the left hand corner and close but has we scanned through them it was clear our target bird was not there. To the right the sun  was coming up and made it hard work scanning. Also present where  teal, Mallard, and a few very noisy Canada Geese, Mute Swan, both Little and Great Crested Grebes and Coot. After a coffee Martin had a quick walk but came back with no sighting of the duck and has I was losing the feeling in my legs I went for a walk Phil joined me. Leaving the hide we closed the door and little did we know that we had locked Martin in the hide. We walked down the path along the lake where we came to a pump house and we could hear curlew calling, we looked up and had 3 birds displaying overhead. It's one of those sounds you never tire of hearing. We carried on walking and we came to a point that we could see the right hand corner of the lake and straight away we both got on to the Fudge duck, we had great views and we both thought we better phone Martin but as always normal no signal. We walked back to the hide and let Martin out of the hide and it was like pay back from him finding all the birds when we went to Dorset. It was great to walk back and the duck was still present and job done.

Next up was Llangorse Lake and a quick search for Sand Martins but apart from a real close view of a Cetti Warbler it was very quiet so we drove down to CCG to have a look for Ring Ouzel and Wheatear with no joy. It was looking like the best birding was first thing again and it was the same as we dipped the Water Pipit at Llwyn Onn Reservoir.

Last up was to try for Red Grouse at the Blorenge, I have never seen the carpark so full. We did a fairly big section of heather and could hear one at one point and we found some droppings but again no luck. We were just too late in the day and there were too many people around. When Phil was finishing of a bag of doughnuts Martin and myself had what we thought could have been a Ringtail Hen Harrier as it moved down the valley fast but we will never know for sure. We also all had our first butterfly of the year and it was this moth eaten Peacock.