Friday, 31 May 2013

Last days of May

Birds on west point, a total of 9 ringed plover present, easily approachable if you see them before you step on them. Lapwing still in attendance in breeding area suggest young are still alive, despite lesser black backs.
These are 2 I nearly stepped on yesterday when a total of 12 birds were present; flocks of 5 + 7.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Return to Rhaslas

Managed to call in at 11:30 hours today; ringed plover[9], dunlin[2] and a single sanderling plus the usual suspects.

Norfolk (part3)

After yesterdays long day, we gave ourselves a gentle, and relaxed start, getting up around 7:30 to clear blue sky. After an excellent full-english breackfast we drove up to Cley in the hope that the previous days Temminck's Stint would still be around. Unfortunately it wasn't. We spent most of the day wandering round the reserve, brief views of a couple of Beared Tits and good views of a pair of Little Terns were probably the highlights.

On leaving Cley we called into Cley Spy as Mike needed a replacement eyepiece for his scope - it had fallen int Rhaslas Pond during the week damaging the lens and filling it with water. A chat with the guys at the Cley reserve had confirmed they had a second hand eyepiece. On pulling into the car park at CleySpy, Mike first started towards the shop before remembering that he's probably need his scope. So back to the car, dug out his scope, then he decided to get his tripod, so put the scope back in the boot and started back to the shop with the tripod (san's scope!) before retuning to get the scope (again). The lens was awaiting him and was in excellent condition apart from a few specks of dust around the edges. Bargain buy of the year for Mike.

Another hour was spent hunting Monty's, but again it was a no show, so we set off on the long haul back home to the rain.

Norfolk (part 2)

From Weeton Heath we drove up to Sculthorpe Moor, where we had some lunch and walked/birded the reserve, Rob getting a tad excited when the recent sightings board proclaimed a LP a couple of days earlier. Alas the LP didn't appear but 3 Marsh tits and a couple of Muntjac's were the highlight.

On then to the usual Monty's sight but news wasn't good as one lad had been there for several hours already and had seen no sign. Brown Hares, Grey and Red-legged Partridge and Lesser Whitethroat were scant compensation.

It was then time to try to find some accomodation for the night. The coastal towns were packed, so no good trying their, so we set off towards Kings Lynne, hoping to find a motel of B+B along the way - no joy. and we eventually ended up in Norwich, were a very helpful receptionist at a Travellodge (Fully booked) managed to get us accom some 5 minutes away in the Cringleford Guest House - we fully recommend this if staying anywhere in Norwich area - the hosts Rob and Kate Jones were great and very welcoming. Rob's was from Cardiff originally and his family from Abercynon - small world!

Heading off into the village for a bite to eat, the Red Lion stopped taking orders at 8:30 - it was 8:40 so after a pint we moved up the road to the Cellar House. Unfortunately they stopped taking orders at 9, so it was a couple of pints (and a much better pint that at the Red Lion) and a packet of crisps, before we made our way back t the guest house and bed.


The planned trip to Norfolk over the Bank Holliday weekend looked doomed from the outset as Martin Beven couldn't make it, then Phil had to drop out, in favour of a family trip to Mull! Things got even worse when I took a phone call around 10pm on the Sat evening (about 2 hrs before depart time) from our booked accom wanting to know where we were - Yep the stupid old git that I am had booked the wrong night!
Never the less, myself Mike and Rob set off just before midnight looking to make RSPB Lakenheath just after 4. Sure enough we pulled in at 4:15, to an already busy car park - a Savi's warb' had been found the previous day. After a coffe and bite to eat we walked up through the reserve picking up singing Cuckoo - we were to see at least 4 on the reserve and a couple of Groppers. Near the top end a male Red-footed Falcon was sitting, looking miserable on the top of a shrub. The Sav's twitch could be seen but we carried on along the river bank. A Turtle Dove was heard purring and I eventually scoped it across the river (in Norfolk).
Shortly afterwards a Crane was seen in flight by myself and Rob, but Mike, who needed it for his British list, couldn't get on to it. We refound it in a field across the river when we walked back down, where it showed well.
On to the Savi's twich and as we approached the main pack I heard the Savi's sing, from close by. Bins up and I picked up a warb flit info a willow scrub were it showed its broad rounded tail and extensive undertail coverts before giving a short burst of song. It then flew into the reeds very close to ourselves, showed well for a few seconds before skulking away.  Brit tick all round - and a well deserved Tunnock coming up later.

The main purpose of the visit to Lakenheath was to try to get Golden Oriole for Rob's Brit list. We did hear the male sing, but couldn't locate it in the Poplars.

On the way back t the car park Mike called a female Pied Fly, but Rob and me could only see a pair of Whitethroat and a female Chaffinch. However a "brown" 1st summer Pied Fly was later reported from the same area, so Mike was right after all.

The reserve was absolutely packed with birders down for the Red-footed and Savi's, with large number of toggers, one of whom caught Mike's eye with an enormous lens which he had lying in a baby's pushchair!

From Lakenheath we made the short journey across the border into Norfolk, to Weeton Heath. Within seconds of entering the hide I picked up the first of 4 Stone Curlew (Brit tick no 2 for Rob). We also enjoyed the antics of a couple of stoats bouncing about the field, diving in and out of Rabbit burrows. Mike picked up a Spotted Fly on leaving the hide - they are very proud of their spotted fly's at this reserve!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

watching the sea!

Early morning visit to Tutt Head, Mumbles for a couple of hours seawatching before coaching. With the lack of wind, expectations were low.However, the second bird I put my bins on was a Skua heading up channel. Unfortunately I couldn't get enough to confirm id but was either Arctic or Pom (I suspect the former). 10  minutes later another Skua flew past, again heading up channel, but closer in allowing id to be confirmed as Arctic. two separate Sandwich Terns flew past and a Red-throated Diver, probably a 2cy bird as was very similar to winter plumage drifted slowly past.
The calm conditions did allow for plenty of views of the Harbour Porpoises and Grey Seals as they hunted along the race line.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Rhaslas passage (continued)

Arrived at 10:15, high scope tumbling winds from the north west. Lapwing and ringed plover at usual site with curlew calling. Several singles of dunlin on west point and then turnstone[10] noted on mid east bank, managed a couple of record shots before a red kite spooked everything.
The 10 turnstone quickly turned into 20 and the scattered singles of dunlin did a lap and did a flypast with 31 birds. I eventually got a pic of them as they flew parallel with south dam.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

gull site

I found a good site called . Have a look see what you think

Monday, 13 May 2013

Wood Warbs

I decided to get off the train at Quakers Yard this evening and walk home down the taf trail to see if the Wood Warb's were still holding territory in Edwardsville woods. Sure enough, both males were singing their hearts out. That's over two weeks now so looks like they might have attracted the attention of a couple of females.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Goosy goosy goosanders

Highlights from this mornings WeBS at Pact Taf Bargoed was 2 male Goosanders, a Common Sandpiper and a Sedge Warbler. The Grey Wagtails have fledged at least 3 juv's while the Dippers look to be into their second clutch.

A walk round Coed Cefn Fforest after my WeBS produced the same 4 Wood Warbs as last week and the first of the returning Spotted Flycatchers.

As Mike has already said, the water at Llwyn Onn was high - no mud - but still one Common Sandpiper. also had male Redstart and another Spotted Fly.

Brazilian Colour

Green Headed Tanager, Brazilian Tanager and White Cheeked Puffbird. ( Photos M Hogan )
I think this was the last trip I wasn't ill on !!! Nice to look back on all the photos being posted.

one for the die hard twitchers.

This bird was in Rame Head in Cornwall and it was my first and a bird I dreamed of seeing. What a cracker

Rhaslas WeBS

Cold windy morning at the pool; little ringed plover[3], ringed plover[1], lapwing[2], dunlin[10], curlew[5], mallard[2] and tufted[2]. Also slow constant trickle of swift[8], swallow[10] and house martin[4]. The dunlin were very nervous and constantly taking flight and moving around the shoreline, the 10 I noted were in one airborne flock, there could have been more.
I also checked Incline pond, which although still having a pair of coot present, it appears as if the nest has been predated. No mud at Llwyn-onn.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Tree Bumble Bee

I had Tree Bumble Bees going in a tit box in my Garden .This photos is from last year.

Friday, 10 May 2013


Passage birds still few on the ground with 5 dunlin this morning. Also common sandpiper, 6 swift, a pair of tufted and a male sparrowhawk.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Big chicken thing

Rogue male 1995. Abernethy forest and yes I took the photo. This bird was very aggressive and it wanted to do me in.

Black Throated thrush

My first Black Throated Thrush .Which was in Maidenhead Berkshire in Jan 1999. What a cracking bird.


Martin Bevan and myself decided to get up at stupid o'clock and go to Porthcawl for a seawatch. We arrived at 6 o'clock to find the " Seawatch Shelter " covered in scaffolding and netting, we just said " Oh dear, how nice and what a pity ".  We decided to try the shelter at the top end of the bay which we found to be blustery to say the least, we had problems holding the tripods and scopes.
Birds were seen which at least was different to the last few goes at seawatching at Porthcawl. Bird of the day was a dark morph Arctic Skua flying down channel, a Whimbrel flew right over us, good numbers of Manxies, Gannets, Fulmars and Scoters were seen and Martin saw a Great Crested Grebe going d/c.
I must also point out Martin's directions were also spot on today not once did I look the wrong way.
We then had a quick walk around the pool at Kenfig finding only a Dunlin and really good numbers of Hirudines and Swifts. Cetti Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were heard but not seen.

Monday, 6 May 2013

pied flycatcher

The shot was taken at the old canel  in Cwmbach by Neil Wrobleski. He did not know about the ring until after the bird had gone.

Where do they hide.

Local birder Neil Roblewski has seen this bird a couple times in the tir founder fields area. I have got to bloody find out where it  hangs out.
Yesterday (5th) a long walk over the ridge into Taf Bargoed and home via Craig Fargoed and Parc Taf Bargoed. Highlight's were a singing Wood Warbler, female Goshawk, plenty of Redstart up Taf Bargoed. a male Whinchat in Craig Fargoed. Singing Reed Warbler at Pact Taf Bargoed lakes setting ponds/reed beds. More butterflies about with several Orange tips, and a Speckled Wood - both my first of the year.

Today, a visit to Coed Cefn Fforest, then Nelson Bog. Highlights were 4 singing Wood Warb's in CCF (but no flycatchers of any description) and a Garden Warb just outside the woods. 3 Reed Warbs were the highlight at Nelson. Even more butterflies than yesterday, inc Large White. First Odonata of the year, with two Large Red Damselfly's newly emerged at Nelson.

A quick visit to Edwardsville woods on the way home heard 1 of last weeks Wood Wards still singing. I didn't go further up for the second, but I did hear one across the river, so either the second bird has moved downstream a bit, or a third has moved in.

Just as I was approaching home, a familiar song was heard, but I couldn't quite place it. The culprit was high in the tops of the trees. I eventually managed to get a decent view and, surprise, surprise, it was a male Lesser Whitethroat - a very nice Merthyr tick. 

bird of the day

what a cracker

Friday, 3 May 2013

blast from the past

mr and mrs hogan and the best man.

Now that was a surprise!

Not sure I can add it to my butterfly year list but found a Small White this evening, in the bottom of my fridge!
Clearly there must have been a pupae in the broccoli or cabbage which had hatched and the adult then perished (prob a mixture of cold, lack of light and nectar) but not before it had managed to fully pump up it's wings. I've found several catapillars in broccoli before but I'm more surprised that a pupae managed to hatch in the cold of a fridge!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Butterfly days

The best butterfly day of the year so far, enlived the journey home from work this evening.

1st up was a Holly Blue at Cathay's station in Cardiff. This is a regular sight for the species as there is plenty of Ivy.

Walking the Taff Trail between Abercynon and Quakers saw the smallest Comma I've ever seen - must have been no more that 45mm wing span. This was followed by a Green-veined White, Peacock, Brimstone and a more distant white, which although probably a G-v, goes unidentified.