Saturday, 31 August 2013

Jynx'd again

An afternoon visit to Uskmouth and Goldcliffe paid dividends as I found a Wryneck at Uskmouth. 3 Yellow Wag's, inc a nice male, flew over.

At Goldcliffe, over high tide, highlights were 7 Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Ruff, 1 Spot' Red', 1 Wheatear and around a dozen Yellow Wag's.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Down Gower way

With a freshning South Westerly I decided to give sea watching from Tutt Head, Mumbles a go this am. After an hour I gave up - the highlight being a pair of Common Scoter!
From there is was over to Cwm Ivy to talk the long walk out to Whiteford. The Elder bushes just below Cwm Ivy were full of Blackcaps - at least a dozen - with a few Chiffies, Blackbirds and Song Thrush's thrown into the mix. The walk through Cwm Ivy woods produced little but on joining the main track to the point a Spotted Fly and a family part of Bullfinches livened things up a little. A juv' Green 'pecker on the saltmarsh was unusual, but not totally unexpected, but other than that little was seen on the walk out.
At the point, Oyk's dominated with smaller numbers of Curlew and singles of Turnstone and Whimbrel. Just round the corner 3 juv' Little Stints were found on the edge of the sandy beach, while 19 Eider loafed on a sand bar.
Lunch was taken by the hide, waiting to see what the tide pushed up - not a lot - a single Curlew Sand' and two Barwit's being the highlights.
Butterflies on the wing were mainly Meadow Brown and Common Blue, but a couple of Greyling were found.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Couple shots from Cornwall

 The Boys in Cot valley. The scillonian  and one of the many Clouded yellow seen.

Rhaslas and beyond

A morning visit to Rhaslas failed to connect with Mr Hogan, but did connect with his Garganey. No waders were found, but another birder had just been round and had flushed 3 Snipe and 5 Teal. The Wheatear's remain with a 1 calendar year bird along the haul road. The bog pools held good numbers of Emerald Damselflies, Black Darters and Brown China-mark moths, with at least 6 Emperor Dragonflies holding territory including a pair oviposting.

Mr Hogan was seen lurking around the pond later that morning as I returned from shopping.

A call in to see if we can get anything that could confirm whether the Little Owls, Mike found earlier this spring, had bred failed to turn up any owls. The tree did, however, hold a Spot Fly, Tree Pipit and juv Redstart. Nearby Buddlea's held 2 Red Admirals, 2 Wall and a Painted Lady, as well as numerous Small Tortoiseshells. The highlight, however, was a Yellow Wag seen briefly in flight and calling mixed in with a large flock of Mipits and Pied Wags. Unfortunately I couldn't find it on the deck.

Cornwall - part 3

Another lazy morning for our final day in Cornwall, saw breakfast at 7am, before heading down to Gwennap Head. With no more than a gentle Northerly breeze, we were not expecting too much from our sea watching session but it was a glorious morning to be out. As we set off from the car park in Porthgwarra we heard a Chough, but none of us managed to see it. This was followed by a fly over Grey Wagtail.

The headland was a blaze of purple and yellow with the heather and prostrate gorse in full bloom. Consequentially the air was alive with bees, hoverflies and butterflies, with numerous Clouded Yellows, Painted Ladies and Silver Y's being the Lepidopteran highlights. On setting down to sea watch I quickly connected with two Sooty Shear's not for out. Not long after Rob picked  up a dolphin and by the time we all got onto it, it was part of a pod of 15 - 20 Bottlenose Dolphins.  Another 4 Sooties and a Balearic Shear' a high flying GN Diver along with a showy Pom Skua were the highlights.

After Robs' treat of tea on the cafe we bashed the bushes along Porthgwarra valley with nothing to show for it. We decided then to try Nanquido valley, which again didn't hold out much in the way of bird life but 3 sparrowhawks passed over during our visit and telegraph poles on the hill side held a Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. One, or more Yellow Wag was heard to fly over, but could not be found. A warbler in song near the old mill house had us going but we could not find it anywhere. It sounded like a Sylvia type warb, but not quite right for any of the usual suspects. Alas after 3-4 minutes it shut up and wasn't heard again. The Valley held a number of Golden-ringed Dragonflies and the second of our Rose Chafers (see photo's below), the first being found in the Cot valley.

And then on to the home journey, broken with a call in to Davidstow Airfield for a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that had come up on the info services earlier that day. There were some birders on the bird so we quickly got onto it - I think it's the first time I've ever used a scope to see a Buff-breasted as they are usually so close that binoculars are hardly needed. 3 Curlew Sand's that had been seen minutes before we arrived, couldn't be found before the small wader flock was spooked by a model airplane and took off to another part of the abandoned airfield.

same beetle

Cornwall Beetle

 The Beetle from Cornwall  is a Rose Chafer.

Violet Blue Jellyfish take two.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Violet Blue Jellyfish

What a cracking Jellyfish.

Cornwall - part 2

A day trip to the Isle's of Scilly.

We decided on Saturday to take a day trip on the Scillonian over to St Mary's. With the ferry not leaving until 10:30, we decided on a lazy morning so sat down for breakfast at 7:30, before the short journey to the ticket office to see if we could get tickets, which, as suspected, was not a problem.

Not long after departure a drake Common Scoter was found, before Martin Bevan found a couple of Harbour Porpoises. As we passed along the Cornish coast, Martin picked up a male Harrier which we all go onto but it only showed briefly, enough for us to sex it, but not enough to id to species level.
The only seabirds of note on the outward leg of the crossing were singles of Pom Skua, Sooty Shear' and Storm Petrel (the later only seen by Bevan and Gaze). Seadog Phil managed to get to within 40 minutes of docking in St Mary's  before disposing of his breakfast - partly over those sitting on the lower deck!
With only just over a hour in St Mary's before the return leg, we had a quick walk up to the football field on the Garrison. Highlight of this short visit were several violet blue jellyfish in the harbour.

Just before leaving St Mary's a Common Tern flew low over the ferry to reveal a satelite tracker strapped/glued to it's back. Phil decided to spend the return journey below deck, trying to get some sleep, so he wouldn't be ill. It appeared to work a treat as he looked quite fresh after disembarked at Penzance.
Birding wise, highlights were a single, distant Bonxie and a 1st winter Puffin (Martin and Rob again). The only other wildlife were 2 Sunfish.

On landing, it was off for a Pasty then off to Marazion were we failed to reconnect with the Citrine Wag.

Cornwall 2013 - day 1

Just back from a weekend away the boys down to sunny, and relatively birdless Cornwall.

As we approached Pendeen carpark early on Saturday, a couple of Badgers jogged down the road in front of the car. A great start to the trip. On to the sea watch and plenty of Manx's and Gannets passing close by, but no repeat of lest weekends Tropicbird - and everyone was keeping an eye on those birds passing close in. Some 8 Sooty Shearwaters and a couple of Balearics were mixed in with the Manx's. Several Arctic Skua's and Bonxies also kept us entertained. Several Grey Seals, 2 Sunfish and a Basking shark (only seen by myself) where the non avian highlights.
From there it was over to Marazion, to twitch the 1st winter Citrine Wagtail, which was duly found on the beach, and was as underwelming as only a 1st winter Citrine Wag can be. Butterflies, however were bit more colourful with Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Small Tortioseshell, Common Blue and Wall all noted.
Next up a wander along Cot Valley, where Butterflies stole the show with all of the above plus Peacock and Painted Lady. Avian highlights were a fly over by 10 Chough - a significant proportion of the English population.
Off then to the B&B to check in - and surprise, surprise, I got the dates right and the rooms were awaiting up.

More species for the chopper

Taken at 08:30 hours this morning from north dam looking west, snipe[3] & curlew sandpiper[8] also garganey still present, favouring the north west corner unless freaked by cattle. Winter wildfowl building in numbers but they move around the local ponds during the day. 
Now you have heard me going on about open-cast well I've just found out a well known welsh company has planning permission to erect 2 turbines on the old railway track almost immediately adjacent to the south east corner of the pool. Its just behind where the male hen harrier had its regular night roost and where the short-eared owl moved east - west - east. I could go on about passage birds treating this place as a safe oasis, 4500 gulls winter roost at pontsticill and call in for a wash and brush up probably several times a day or the breeding and wintering waders, but not me. Ground preparations have already began, yet I cannot find a copy of the environmental statement or bird survey anywhere on the net, i.e. Caerphilly planning portal. Please if any one reading this can point me in the right direction or give me any clue how this has occured please contact me on 07815 311359, all information will be treated strictly confidentially. Who did the bird survey, when was it done !!!!!!! please don't tell me it was done by a bloke with a scope sticking out of his car window.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Rhaslas Garganey

Found close to south west corner at 08:00 hours and still present when I left at 09:00 hours. Also present: teal[15], tufted duck[11], mallard[4], canada geese[49], snipe[2], swallow[8], starling[c80 f/o], pied wagtail[6 juv] and singles of; skylark, meadow pipit, great crested grebe and cormorant. First day for sometime when no wheatear, ringed plover or linnet have been recorded.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


Taken today at south dam inner wall, crazy light with 26C at 16:30 hours, another RP was also present at 09:30 with a brief flypast of a single clouded yellow. Returning winter wildfowl have occasionally been present over the last couple of days including; teal[10], tufted duck[7] and wigeon[2]. The access track has been blocked at Fochrhiw turnoff, apparently due to increase of flytipping, hopefully cutting down on disturbance.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Joys of Cwm cadlan

 Field Waxcap
 Thistles Ermine . I saw loads of these  today.
Lots of Wheatears today as well.

common hawker

Lots of common hawkers up cwm cadlan today.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


I think I have turned in to a sad case.This stunning hover fly is called Leuconza Glauca and there were loads last week in Craig Llwyn and the cracking Golden Ringed Dragonfly.

Big Boy.

This Big  Boy changed my plans last Sunday at Sub station pond Hirwaun, I thought sod Common Darter.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Had a night off so went in search of passage terns at Llangorse; a single redshank on Llangasty point and just after AK turned up a single dunlin did a lap and that was it, no terns. AK asked about Bevan and reminded me that this is 'black tern' week, we just need the weather. I'll chance another visit later in the week.

Rhaslas (again)

More postings from Rhaslas I'm afraid, not much longer it's destruction is more or less guaranteed. At 09:30 this morning a single juv ringed plover and redshank[3], wheatear[3], swallow[c50], swift[5], house martin[10], mallard[11] and great crested grebe[2].

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Go West young man....

With an athletics meet to attend in Haverfordwest this afternoon, I decided to spend the morning sea watching from Strumble Head. The wind was from the favoured North West but a little to light, with the consequence that the bird life was quite sparse. between 5:30 and 9:50 I only saw about 60-70 Manx Shearwaters, when I would expect to see 1000's, only 6 Guillemots and 1 Razorbill were recorded. Of note were 1 dark phase Acrtic Skua, 2 1cy Med gulls and 13 Common Scoter (5 drakes).
The Harbour Porposes showed frequently and did several Grey Seals, inc 1 immediately below the lookout.
Highlight of the day came just as I was about to finish when my attention was drawn to a couple of Herring Gulls which appeared to be mobbing something in the water. A quick scan with the bins found 3 Otters, a bitch and 2 cubs. I watched these for some 6-7 minutes as the swam past the lookout heading west, keeping close to the cliff base. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Evenings and mornings at Rhaslas

At 0930 this morning several 4 wheel drives freaking the bird life and bringing out the psychopath in me but I kept calm, reciting the words of the 'Free Mexican Airforce' backwards. A single juv redshank and dunlin were being flushed and then pursued by several juv herring gull, they eventually settled on west point.
I returned at 1630 only to be met by even more 4 wheel drives, 2 canoes and hoards of large people with dogs. No redshank, no dunlin just a ringed plover and a common sandpiper, ho-hum.

Painted Lady

Just had my first Painted Lady of the year on Buddleia in my garden. Also Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Butterflies at Backwoods camp.

Trip out of the valleys.

Monkeys at Backwoods.

Autumn in the air

Felt like autumn this morning at Rhaslas, just 2 common sandpipers and a snipe around the edges. About 250 gulls, with herring gulls c200, lesser black-backed numbers dropping, probably heading for pastures new. Llwyn-onn had just the 4 juv/1stwinter goosanders on the dam and a very dark brown drenched juv heron at the top end. Wet very wet

There's always a change of plan...maybe

With strong winds from the South favouring a spot of sea watching this am, I slept late (Doh!), so decided the driest place to be would be down at Goldcliffe, where they have hides. The Pec Sand that has been around for a couple of days didn't show it's face, but 3 Wood Sands, 9 Common Sands, 1 Green Sand, 1 Curlew Sand and a Little Stint, 8_ Yellow Wag's and a juv Whinchat were all picked up between the showers.