Sunday, 27 October 2013

Before the big blow

Early morning sea watch yesterday from Tutt head, Gower between 7:30 and 9am produced very little. highlight was a 1st winter Sandwich Tern, and 4 Common Scoter (Yeah it was that poor!).

Early morning today down Cardiff Bay, again 7:30 - 9am produced the drake Lesser Scaup just of the boardwalk by the Ice Rink. Out in the Bay a 1st winter Little Gull, and a 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gull.

Monday, 21 October 2013

New hide at Rhaslas .

Because Mike spends so much time at Rhaslas we built him a hide. Do not worry there is a crate of Spitfire for you Mike and mines a Wilson's Phalarope.

Forest Farm

Rained off today so decided to pop down Forest Farm for an hour,as soon as i got to the canal i had a Kingfisher perched on a branch followed seconds later by a Dipper and Grey Wagtail. On to the hide with no door which was very quiet apart from two Snipe, a Heron and a fly over Jay, moved onto the second hide where i had great views of a Kingfisher,two Water Rail having a domestic and an aerial battle between a Carrion Crow and a Sparrowhawk which was quite entertaining.Popped over to Radyr to have another look at the salmon that were trying unsuccessfully to get up the weir on Saturday but after all the heavy rain none were seen,birds of note were another Kingfisher,Heron and a small flock of Long tailed tits.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Ouzel news

Just had an email from WW Rangers re: 5-6 ring ouzels alongside track leading to Llyn y Fan Fach, Carmarthen (southeast of Llandovery) late afternoon so could be worth checking local spots this coming week. I've been checking the Neuadd and Dan y darren areas lately but quiet with just low numbers of redwing and fieldfare, no where near the numbers Martin has had, mind you I've got another appointment with the opticians in the morning.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cynon Valley Passage

Tir Founder Fields this morning lots of Blackbirds and song Thrush and about 40 redwing heading south .Also a flock of about 50 Siskins and the highlight was 4 House martin heading east. Penywaun today two flocks of Fieldfare one of 300+ heading south  and the second flock was 400+ heading west and about 150 Redwing . Also a flock of 10 common  Crossbills heading south and yes I was working.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Harlequin Ladybirds

Glorious day in Hirwaun today and the bird passage was very light. Highlight being a hand full of Redwing and a flock of Canada Geese. But the ivy blossom was teaming with life mostly hoverflies also a Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral were seen flying around .Also on  two south facing houses there were about twenty Harlequin Ladybirds and that shows that a little bit of sunshine and everything comes back to life.

The Rhaslas Dowitcher 8th - 14th October 2013

You arrived out of the mist on a wet Tuesday, ate everything living on the west bank and then left, without so much as a '....see you butt'. 3V birders wish you a safe journey, it was nice having you.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Mike cracker the Snodwit.

My record shot of this little cracker . Great find Mike and the leaded glass from the hide in Llangorse  lake. This hide is more like an holiday apartment. Last of all this fine beast was giving us the eye as we walked past and if he had said boo we would have run for miles.

This little beauty from Aberdare Park

This long staying Egyptian Goose is still present along with his mate.


This mornings WeBS at Parc Taf Bargoed, saw a drop off in Mallard numbers (less than half from the total), but Little Grebes up to 12. Highlight was a female Teal (only my second here and the first to make it onto my WeBS count).

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Rush for the Thrush

Got out for the first of this winters BTO winter Thrush Survey this morning - my square takes in the edge of Nelson Bog and Parc Penallta. Last winter saw very few Fieldfare or Redwing, but lots of Blackbirds. what a difference a year makes. No Song Thrushes, only 5 Blackbirds (all in the same area), but constant groups of Redwing flying over, heading north east. estimate during the survey was 275, but could have been much more going over.

A walk up the Taf Trail as far as Pont-y Gwaith farm pond, this afternoon, provided several views of a Kingfisher, and 2 red-head Goosanders. An Emperor dragonfly was still on the wing at the pond. Plenty of fungi, including several Chanterelles and Fleecy Milk Caps.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Redwing passage

Lots of Redwing over Penywaun today , all together seven flocks  and there was about 650 + in total  and thats when I looked up. There most have been thousands going over and also a flock of 16 Common Crossbill going and all headed north.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Couple of Record Shots of the Long Billed Dowitcher

Managed an hour this morning to get and see Mike's brilliant find and God it was cold especially because I didn't take gloves.  The second photo you can see it's enjoying that local delicacy the Rhaslas Mussel.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Long-billed Dowitcher at Rhaslas

Bird found this morning feeding along north west bank, took my breath away, couldn't believe it. We may lose this site but its going down with all guns blazing. I need a drink and a shower.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Photos from Norfolk

Long Weekend in Norfolk

Travelled up to Norfolk early on Friday morning and made Lynford Arboretum my first port of call for the Two Bar Crossbills which have been hanging around there for awhile. I walked around for an hour but no luck in finding them although they were seen later that day. Then it was a drive up to Wells Next the Sea to book into the B & B  and call in one my favourite fish and chip shops Frenchs on the front in Wells and the food tasted as good as ever. It was then straight back out to look for the Red Breasted Flycatcher at Warham Greens which was only a couple of miles up the road.  Found the place to park on the " concrete pad " quite easily and then proceeded to walk down the path towards the sea until I came across the copse where the bird had been seen.  Quite a few birders and photographers were already there, I waited about 10 mins before I got my first glimpse of the bird and then the bird repeatedly showed itself for the next half hour or so.  It never came right out in the open but I managed to get some good perched views through the outer branches.
Next day I decided to go to Titchwell, breakfast not being until 8:15 I didn't get there that early.  A Yellow Browed Warbler had been seen that morning from the boardwalk out to the Fen Hide so I decided to try for that first. I didn't get the bird and I wasn't alone, the bird was heard through out the day but no one managed to get a glimpse of it.  I had some consolation when I walked out to the new screen beyond the Fen Hide with a Jack Snipe actually on the floor, well sleeping on the edge of some reeds. Apparently not long after I left a Moorhen pecked it up the bum and it shot out right in the open.
More consolation following when walking back I stopped by one the small ponds on the Meadow Trail and watched a Water Vole swim across towing a long reed, it's been a few years since I last seen a Water Vole.
I then decided to walk out towards the beach stopping at various points to search the lagoons and reeds.  I hadn't walked that far when two birds flew over me and landed in the reeds in front of me, something else I had not seen for ages 2 Bearded Tits. 
The lagoons held a good selection of waders including Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff , Greenshank, Common Snipe, Curlew, Whimbrel, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit and best of all a Little Stint. All the usual wildfowl suspects were there, most of the geese species with thousands of " Pinkies " flying over.
I was fascinated by the Greenshank who was running through the water with its bill in the water " Skimmer Style " I've never seen this done before it was quite comical.
On the way back I started looking more over onto the marsh on the other side of the bank and noticed some movement a few hundred yards out which turned out to be a Chinese Water Deer. 
It was then back to the centre for a baked potato with tuna mayo washed down with hot chocolate ( sorry Mike they don't serve Spitfire ).
On the drive back to Wells I called in at Choseley Barns hoping for Corn Buntings but only small birds seen were Chaffinch and Pied Wagtails. Not a bad day after dipping the Yellow Browed.
On Sunday I went to Cley first and done a complete circuit around the reserve.  First notable birds were seen has I got out of the car a pair of Marsh Harriers quartering the reed beds.  I walked along the edge of the reserve and then across the East Bank which was quiet apart from 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk being chased off by some crows.  At the far end of the East Bank I struck lucky with 8 Bearded Tits, 6 flying over and again two quite close in the reeds. Walking along the shingle and beach did not produce much, a single Wheatear probably being the highlight.  The walk from Coastguards back to the centre at Cley was even quieter which was probably due to the weather sun with hardly any wind.
I decided then to go back to Titchwell for a few hours, the Yellow Browed had been heard again but not seen so I just had a quick walk along the boardwalk and stopped by the pond and again was rewarded with great views of the Water Vole, first on a overhanging branch and then swimming across the water.  I only walked half way out and went to the new hides.  The only new wader seen were some Avocets.  Things picked up on the walk back where I found two Twite which I think were the first seen there this autumn.
Last call of the day was again Choseley Barns, no Corn Buntings but a year tick in a White Wagtail and a great bird to end the day a ringtail Hen Harrier.
Monday on the drive home I went via Lynford Arboretum where I finished the way I started by dipping the Two Bar Crossbills.
I also gave my new camera a test drive ( photos to follow ) and yes the camera does bounce.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Jellybean fungi

any ideas . It was only growing in place.

Up with The Larks

Morning walk up Penderyn on the Bodwigiad Estate. There was a mixed flock  of thrushs feeding in a rowan. Highlight being 16 Redwing and 15 Song Thrush also Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds. There were hundreds of Meadow Pipits going over and only a handful of Skylarks . Also big numbers of Reed Bunting, 2 pairs of  Stonechat and a site first for me were  2 Golden Plover . Other shock was my second Kestrel in the Cynon Valley in two weeks.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Screaming Pig

This little cracker was over Tir Founder Fields this morning. There was about six calling in total.

Garden moths

A migrant at last, rush veneer[2] in the trap this morning, other species of note being; blair's shoulder-knot and merville du jour.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Called in at 09:45 this morning just dunlin and snipe on the wader front with meadow pipit [c45] and a single skylark around the shore line. Wildfowl numbers building with wigeon [46], teal [21] and pintail [2] of note.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Dodgy shot of the Week

This is one of the pair of Willlow Tit from Sundays visit to Bryn Du.