Sunday, 31 March 2013

Its a mighty tight squeeze

Some pics from a cracking day out.

as simple as A bee see D...

With a 3rd Bluethroat being found at Portland yesterday, plans were laid for a group twitch. By 05:00, 5 of us were speeding away from South Wales towards the Dorest coast, Mark Dutfield taking Mr Bevans seat, as he was dog sitting! As usual, Mr Bell failed to see the roadside Barn Owl, this side of the Severn crossing.
Arriving at Weston about 7:15 we quickly made our way to the site were the bird was seen the previous day. within 5 mins Phil picked it up and over the next 40 minutes we all enjoyed great views of this little beauty. A lifer for Mark, and a Brit tick for the rest of us. Additional interest came in the shape of at least 6 Black Redstarts, inc at least one stonking male.
We then walked around Barleycrate and Reap lanes, where a single Wheatear and Blackcap looked to be the only migrants on show until we had almost got to the bottom end of Reap lane when the ploughed field contained a further half dozen or so Black Red's, a number of Redwing and a male Ring Ouzel.
The Bill and Obs, themselves, were rather quiet, so we stopped at Ferrybridge for lunch. As it was a high tide the only waders seen were a small group of Dunlin, a couple of Ringed Plover and a small group of Turnstone. At least 4 Sandwich Terns put in an appearance while there was a large number of Red-breasted Mergansers with a few Brent Geese on the Fleet.
On to Lodmoor, where Mike failed to believe us that the car park entrance was very narrow until he turned into the the entrance and was lucky to just catch one wing mirror. The Spoonbill was quickly located, initially asleep with its head tucked in, but soon actively feeding. As usual we got into conversation with some local birders. When they found out that we were from South Wales they asked which part of England was that in - to which Phil instantly replied "the part that can play rugby" (touche!)
At Radipole, a Yellow-legged Gull was squabling over bread with the Herring Gulls in the car park as Sand Martins hawked over the lake. The long walk to the North Hide, saw Mark pick up for the hoped for drake Garganey, but no Marsh Harrier.
A late decision on the journey back to try for the Twite at Aust Wharf failed to connect with the birds and also failed to catch up with any Short-eared or Barn Owls.

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Cosmeston of the Valleys

Had the afternoon off so called in at Bryn Bach Park, did a lap of the lake eventually finding the bird in front of my car. Also 40 Redwing at Llwydcoed Crematorium feeding just inside the main gates. Rhaslas 700 Lesser Black-backed and 180 Herring Gull, at least 30% of the lake iced over. Chucked the cravat and gone back to a muffler.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

1st for backyard.

Housebound today catching up on paperwork, checking the feeders on my return journey from the fridge I was surprised to see 2 male Reed Buntings feeding in the back yard.

Birding while I work

While coaching down at the track in Neath this am, the local 1st winter Ring-billed Gull dropped into the infield for some 10 minutes, before heading off elsewhere.

Friday, 22 March 2013


News from my boggy garden. male blackcap  feeding on fat ball for most of the day.

Thursday, 21 March 2013


On the birdforum they have said there is a new site for birder trip reports and it looks as good as the travelling birder site.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It appears that some minor passage is occuring, with just 1 Dunlin this evening on Rhaslas, feeding off west point.

Record snap of one of several White Wagtails yesterday evening on the spillway at Llwyn-onn, plenty of mud visible at the north end but Snipe still the only wader on view. Sock draw now immaculate, you could keep your phone in it.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Just don't mention the rugby!!!

With both Martins busy and Mike re-arranging his sock drawer Phil phoned me and asked did I fancy a trip to the Forest of Dean, I said fine as long as you don't mention the rugby to anyone while we are there as English rugby fans are notoriously tetchy once their team has been spanked by the Welsh. First stop was Parkend to look for Hawfinch and within minutes Mr.Hill had got onto a small group of them feeding in the top of the trees, I myself only saw one but Phil said there were at least another three possibly four that had flown down deeper into the woods but despite a good look we were unable to relocate them the only other bird of note was a G.S.Woodpecker, two other birders joined us for a while and in all fairness to Phil it only took him a few minutes to smugly mention the rugby! Next stop was Nags Head but this was really quiet with just a pair of Greylags and Mandarins on the pond by the hide so we decided to move onto New Fancy View, we met Mr.Murch in the carpark and walked up to the view point. On reaching the summit the place was heaving with birders and we struggled to find a place to set up our scopes mainly due to the place being invaded by nearly thirty members of the Glamorgan Bird Club! but once we managed to find a space it wasn't long before we had decent views of a Goshawk perched in a distant tree, we said hello to a few of the lads and as the place was dead apart from the Gos we moved onto Cannop Ponds. We started at at the stoneworks end and scanned the feeders but apart from a few Siskins, Nuthatch and Blue/Coal and Great Tits the place was again quiet so walked to the picnic area and scanned the feeding table there, again lots of common birds but then a Marsh Tit flew in giving us brief but good views other birds of note were Grey Wagtail, female Reed Bunting and at least 25 Mandarins on the pond, we stopped for lunch where once again Phil decided to mention the rugby to an elderly couple who had us in stitches with some of the things they were saying but too rude to mention on this blog!!!! Last port of call was Boy's Grave which has become really overgrown since my last visit a few years ago, Phil got onto a distant Crossbill and that was it the place was dead so we returned to the car and drove home, I didn't count how many species we had for the day but Phil not mentioning the rugby got into double figures,and yes just for the record I drove again.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Two Years in the Waiting

At 9 o'clock this morning just as I was starting to do some work and the coffee was brewing I received a phone call from Martin Bevan asking did I want to go for a walk around Perthcelyn. I thought I should carry on with my work so I told Martin I would put the coffee in a flask and he should come to my house and I would take my car.
We parked in the usual place and walked up the hill to where the Great Grey Shrike had been seen in previous years. This area has now really sprouted up and doesn't really look so suitable for a shrike and so it proved. We then walked through the fire break in the forestry until we came to the clearfell above the Abercwmboi area. Here we had a choice of left or right so I said lets take the left until we come to the next line of trees. Very lucky decision because after 100 yards Martin spotted a Shrike on top of a dead tree to our left. It's about 2 years since we last had one in the Cynon Valley after going many years with at least one turning up. Definitely give us a warm feeling on a bitterly cold day.
We then went on a scouting mission for Rob to Llan Wood to look for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker alas to no avail but we did pick up Brambling for the year ( 2 Males & 1 female ).
Of course I then went home and worked for the rest of the day !!!!!!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Not tonight...

The Yanks are coming.....

With working down at Neath this am, decided to go down early to try to locate the 1st winter Ring-billed Gull found by Mark Hipkin last weekend. Passing the Cwrt Herbert playing fields, there was a large number of gulls feeding on the fields. A quick scan picked up the Ring-billed. the first of this mornings joggers soon pushed the gulls off. Later in the morning, the gulls were back and the Ring-billed was closer to the entry road, giving good views.

After work, decided on a quick visit to Ogmore to see if the Bonaparte's was still around. It was, getting on to it almost as soon as I arrived at it's favoured site.

I wonder if either fancy a trip up to Merthyr?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Almost finished sifting through holiday record shots, will be ready this weekend, hopefully, here's a River Tern to go on with;
Called in at Llwyn-onn this afternoon to check the mud for very early waders, just Snipe but Great Black-backed Gull[2] and a single Greylag, two species I failed to find in MT in 2012.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Welcome back....

Having to go down to Cardiff to pick up my repaired bins I had another try for the Lesser Scaup at Cardiff Bay before heading to the delivery depot. Again it wasn't showing when I arrived, but after about 5 minutes it flew in with three Tufties.

With the depot down Maerdy lane area I decided to take a visit over the border into Gwentshire with a visit to Goldcliffe and Uskmouth. Both were quiet with the highlight being 2 Golden Plover, 1 in breeding plumage, at Goldcliffe.

From there I headed up to the delights of a sunny Rhaslas Pond. The pond itself was some 80% iced over, so no ducks and surprisingly, no gulls. 12 Goosanders flew into roost, but seeing the ice promptly dissapeared. At least 3 Lapwing were displaying near the car park. and a couple of Skylark flew over, one bursting into song - looks like spring may be sprung! The first SEO showed just after 4 with at least 2, and possibly 4, more getting up over the next hour or so. A single Snipe was put up by one of the Owls. The young male Hen Harrier flew in to roost around 5:35.