Tuesday, 30 April 2013

what a great day out

I can still smell the bread.

coed cae aberaman shrike

wonder where he is now.

for all you snake fans

It was a big one Phil.

last go

God I can never get bored with these.

best i can do

What a cracker

Dotty for Dotterels

After various trips to look for Dotterels at Cwm Cadlan by members of this blog without success, 2 were found today by Alan Cripps ( great find Alan ).
Martin Bevan and myself went up this evening and enjoyed some stonking views of the pair in bright sunshine, the female is looking absolutely gorgeous.  I know sunshine and Cwm Cadlan together does not sound correct but I can assure you it's true.
On the way back we stopped at the " Groppo Site " nothing of note there, we heard a Cuckoo but could not locate it.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Flied Py's

A wander round Coef Cefn Fforest this am saw bird life picking up in numbers and spp. Highlights inc a pair of Redstart's. Excellent views of a Great Spot excavating it's nest hole. A stroll round Parc Taf Bargoed Lakes saw the "Southern" Dippers with three fledged young, while the Northern pait were flying up and down the river, presumably feeding young. A female Pied Fly was also found along the river and gave excellent views. it's a good job I'm not year listing as the Flied Py took my GB year list to 160 - I'm normally past that by end of Feb!
Both Wood Warb's still in Edwardsville Woods this pm

Saturday, 27 April 2013

handmaiden moth

On the wall of the cabin at Backwoods .

darter from goa

bit of colour.


Nightjars with a difference

birding the cynon valley.

First stop today Tir Founder fields at seven am, lots of small birds moving best being 2 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers and yesterdays fall of whitethoats had all but moved on with just three birds still present. I stopped birding and went to work for a couple of hours. 3.30 back birding up Bryn Du near gas tanks and area. The birding was slow and very windy but highlights being 3 wheatear and 1 pair of stonechat but best ofall 1 Swift and 1 Hobby.

Butterflies steal the show.

After finishing my survey work I met up with Phil and (our driver) Rob for a hunt for returning migrants. A walk round Rhaslas proved the Blue-headed Wagtail had moved on, but 2 swifts were year birds for Phil and Rob. A walk round Cwm Cadlan only succeeded in picking up a couple of Wheatear. A stop for Coffee and a bite to eat a little further along the road was unsuccessful in locating any Groppers but Rob did find a splendid male Redstart.
After that it was a wander round Aberdare Canal and Tir Founder fields. At least 3 Reed Warblers were singing in the bullrushes at Tir Founder and up to three Whitethoats were located. A Green-veined White along the Canal and a Comma and three Small Tortoiseshells around Tir Founder made it the best day this year for Butterflies.

The Western Front..

Up and out early to get my first BBS and Chat surveys done - probably should have stayed in bed as it was the poorest BBS in the 8yrs I've been doing it, both in terms of species and total number of birds. It probably didn't help it was about 2 degrees C when I started. For the first time I recorded no Chats so my chat survey was a pretty quick re-walk over much of the BBS transect. Compensation did come in the form of two singing Wood Warblers in Edwardsville Wood on the way home.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Blasts from the past.

painted stork

what a cracker.

martin , sleeping on tour.

rob in cornwall

Later at Rhaslas

The Yellow Wag - looks like either Blue-headed or "Channel" (Blue-headed x British hybrd) rather than a "British"  Yellow Wag' -still around at 5pm this evening. Only managed a couple of flight views and suspected Blue-headed. Mike's photo's seem to confirm. It's got t be worth a better look. Yesterdays Dunlin was still around and the evening Hirundines contained at least 3House Martin and a single Swift. 

Later as I headed over to ASDA's on dowlais, two Whimbrel flew over (a Merthyr tick for me)

Rhaslasn yellow wagtail

I thought a bird could have been present last night but it was brief, distant and disappeared (a bit like my women) into the mist. Returned late morning and found it concealed amongst rush on the west bank and just about managed some record shots. First for site and maybe 2nd for square.

close shave

Shaving what exactly? That I'm not saying...

Osprey Llwyn-on pier...

viewed tonight.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

kingfisher trip

Goa trip: Backwoods Camp

God, I miss the sun!


Waders in the mist

Called in at Rhaslas this evening, it was shrouded in mist and looked promising. At least 30 swallow and 1 house martin foraging and/or resting along bank were the first birds noted. As I walked around I started picking up the waders; ringed plover flushed from south west corner to west point, dunlin at south east corner and west point, common sand and the regular single lapwing mid west bank.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Always expect the unexpected

All in all Saturday was a funny day I had a blackcap on my fat balls, 3 dormouse chewed nuts and 11 concrete heralds. Very quiet today with just 4 swallow over the west bank of Llwyn-onn this afternoon and not much else to speak of.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Summers now here

You can tell it's summer time - here the rain's not so cold., while the East of england bakes in 20degrees plus (drought warnings soon!)

On top of that Willow Warbs, Blackcaps, Tree Pipits and Swallows (at least 2 - so summer is definately here!) have joined the other summer migrants to make it this far.

Highlights from a slightly delayed WeBS this am were a pair of Goosander. A wander round Coed Cefn Fforest didn't find much from the winter fare, though the cock Pheasant was back in voice. Three Tree Pipits displaying in the rain was also nice.

Darren Heronry looks like it might recover from the snow in March with at least 8, possibly 12, occupied nests, two of which contained well grown juv's, to allay my fears the snow had wiped out this years young. The other occupied nests all appeared to be brooding eggs as the parents were sitting tight. Further proof of a second breeding attempt was provided by a male who flew in landed on his nest and then got busy with his mate without as much as a "Hello".

Plenty of Siskins are around at the moment - at least 6 singing / displaying males in the forestry at Pen y Graig. Two Crossbills also flew over, prob the pair I heard a few weeks ago. A male Pheasant, this one seen, was also in the neighbourhood.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Highly Honoured

I had a very early text off Rob ( he must have fallen out of bed ) asking do I want a few hours out birding before the rains arrive and he would drive ( yes you did read that right ).
So 45 mins later we were driving to Mike's Little Owl site where I had dipped twice this week but although covered in mist Rob managed to pick the two owls out.
Next desination was Bryn Bach CP to look for the Lesser Scaup, this proved elusive and all we had to show for a walk around the lake was a Swallow.
We decided to cut our losses and go to Rhaslas, Rob's third site tick of the day. On arriving there the rain and wind had started, well you don't expect anything different at Rhaslas but we struggled on and did a whole lap. Only birds of note were a Red Kite and Curlew.
Don't you love the Welsh weather.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Late news

After leaving Phill at Parc Bryn Bach [Lesser Scaup] plus zero at Rhaslas, I decided to have a quick visit to the Llwyn-onn bird hide, dead, so deciding to cut my losses I headed for the Co-op, as on Friday they reduce the price of Bar-B-Q chickens to clear the hot cabinet. Not this Friday, full price and then when I got home this;

First Common Sand of the year on Llwyn-onn this evening, with a small fall of Swallows. 2-3 White Wags about earlier.
2 Little Ringed Plover and a White Wag on Talybont earlier today.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Has spring arrived?

One of the usual, non bird, signs of spring was on show this morning. On the walk to the station, along the Taf Trail, there were 4 roadkill Toads - the first of the year -  all small, so presumably males. Chiffchaff numbers up to 5+ singing males from the single bird last week.

2 Crossbills flew over as I left the station at Abercynon this evening (just after 6pm), heading towards Pen y Foel (so they are still around, even if only in small numbers).


Called in at Rhaslas, between the showers, at 16:00 hrs and did a lap; Short-eared Owl briefly at sw corner, Little Ringed Plover still present, Curlew[2], Lapwing and Teal[5], Reed Bunting plus good numbers of vocal Skylark and Meadow Pipits.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Rhaslas passage

Managed a record shot in between shifts at 13:30 today, bird present since at least yesterday. Maybe passage or a returning local breeder.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Merthyr Osprey

Bird seen above Llwyn-onn at 10:00 hours being mobbed by the usual Lesser Black-backed who escorted it to Cantref. Then over the Beacons reservoir it was mobbed first by a Buzzard then a Raven before disappearing to the north. I wonder.....

Sunday, 7 April 2013

It's a long walk...

A shorter trip today saw myself, Mike and Phil head down to Whiteford on the Gower. After an unsuccessful detour to try to local Neath's Ring-billed Gull we pulled into the Cwm ivy car park around 7 am. The walk down through Cwm Ivy woods was enlivened by a Woodcock. Out on the edge of the Saltmarsh, Phil glimsed a raptor rise from the fields into some trees. A scan soon found the offending bop - a nice ring-tailed Hen Harrier.
Snipe corner produced both Common and Jack - though just one of each.

Making our way across the slacks we had a coffee while scanning the coast. Plenty of Sanderling, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plov' and Oyk's, with numerous GreC'sjust offshore. Mike found 10 Barwit's while I located a single Slav and GN Diver. The Eider flock remained near the old lighthouse and the stragglers of the wintering Brent Geese  flock were also feeding around the point. A small flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover fed in front of the hide, none of the latter revealing themselves to be a Killdeer (apparently that had decided to go to Lancashire!).
The return journy produced very little until just past Snipe Corner and a pair of Crossbill were found (in a willow?)

A quick visit to the hump at Llanrhydian Marsh found a well dispersed flock of Golden Plover (approx 300), some in winter plumage, some in full breeding plumage and others somewhere in between.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Catching up with Mikes birds

A couple of record shots of the Little Owl and Ring Ouzel's found earlier by Mike. With a Camera like his I might have gotten some decent shots, rather than these efforts with my little point and shoot.

Afterwards, a quick visit to Rhaslas produced two SEO's

Halfbad day in Merthyr

Sorry about Little Owl shots, it was distant and I haven't seen one in the North of Glamorgan for 50 years. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Llwyn-onn bird hide

Called into the hide this evening, water down with plenty of soft mud showing but, once again, the only wader visible was Snipe. Meadow Pipit[c20] and usual numbers of Pied and Grey Wagtail were feeding along the water line with Blackbird, Songthrush, and Dunnock making the most of the soft conditions. Also Reed Bunting present one with some minor albinism. Late news for yesterday; another Osprey was seen at 1600 hrs over north Llwyn-onn being mobbed by Lesser Black-backed, by the time I got there it was a dot north of the Beacons reservoir.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Danger at Radipole

There is a believed to be a dangerous individual creeping round the reedbeds at Radipole, known as the Exicootioner. One of their latest victims was found yesterday......

Back to birding on home turf.

After yesterday's exploits in Dorset, Martin Bevan dragged me kicking and screaming out this morning to look for the Ospreys around the Brecon reservoirs.
First stop was Llwyn-Onn where there was no sign of any Ospreys or infact much else so we decided to move up to Cantref . Arriving at Cantref we scanned the lake and surrounding trees with no luck. Martin however heard a Willow Tit calling and it duly obliged by hopping out onto a branch right in front of us, a new site tick for us.
Next stop was the Beacons where the only birds were the normal Great Crested Grebes and Canada Geese so we decided to try Llangorse.
We duly dipped on Osprey again at Llangorse but there was at least plenty of wildfowl to look at as we enjoyed a cup of coffee ( Martin said thanks Rob for the Old Jamaica Chocolate ). As we got into the car to drive off a male Goshawk with a kill flew into a tree next to the car-park.
We tried all the reservoirs on the way back with the only bird of note was some Goldeneye on the RCT side of Llwyn-Onn,
We then went over Cwm Cadlan and as we came out of the forest onto the moorland our first sight was a stunning male Hen Harrier quartering the ridge to our left, the day was definitely picking up. Just up the road a female Wheatear appeared looking extremely cold and wishing it had stayed in warmer climes.
Hirwaun Industrial Estate was our next destination where we decided to walk the field under Penderyn Reservoir. Within 3 minutes a Snipe and a Jack Snipe we in the bag so to speak and we could go home to a warm fire and hot bath to thaw out..
A very slow start to the day but some very nice birds to finish with.