Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Waiting for a blow from the north

Very quiet at this end at the moment, with today just common sand[4] on Llwyn-onn spillway (no mud) while Cwm Cadlan had tree pipit and cuckoo at gropper site (but no gropper heard). RCT street cleaning brigade cleaning up the fly-tipping, well done.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Alway sad to see this.

This Fox was up Cwm Cadlan today in field on left by cattle grid. It's hard to tell how he died. I thought poison but this farmer as always seems to be a nice guy.

Celebration time, cum on....

Mr Gaze celebrates with a cup of tea bought by Mr Hill. Earlier he had celebrated ticking Frankie by buying Myself and Phil a round (Hot Chocolate and Coffee).


17 - the number of gull species I've seen in the UK so far this year - it would be 18 if the pre-Christmas Ivory had been found a couple of weeks later. No 17, and most dipped member of the Laridae, cam yesterday morning at WWT Llanelli.
After failing to find the Franklin's last Saturday around the Lougher area, it reapeared mid week at WWT Llanelli, fairly regularly on the scrape in front of the British Steel hide, just after 10am. With an athletics comp in Carmarthen on Sat afternoon, requiring me to be there around 11am, I had a small window of opportunity to try for it. Whilst the center doesn't open till late morning (9:30), it possible to view part of the scrape from the coastal path, so I arrived in bright sunshine at 6:40 - I know its late, but I slept in! to see very few gulls in vision.  As the morning wore on there was a constant trickle of Black-heads coming in to loaf on the scrape. Most, unfortunately dropping down out of sight. I did pick up a 2cy Little Gull and a couple of Med Gulls, a single Blackwit and a year tick in a Common Sand'. A Glossy Ibis, looking quite glossy in the bright sunshine, dropped in around 8 am.

By 9:20 I had made my way round to the entrance to join the throng (two) of others awaiting entry. Bang on 9:30 the opened the doors and we flooded in and straight over to the British Steel hide. Time was getting short, I needed to be away by just after 10:15, but Frankie was no where to be seen. As more birders/photographers arrived, so did more Black-heads. Around 10:10 I picked up one coming in that looked that little bit darker across the back and followed it till it landed, Quickly getting the scope onto it. The darker mantle - tick, the black, not dark brown, partial hood - tick, prominent broken white eye ring - tick - shorter black bill - tick - it was Frankie Yes - a GB tick. I got everyone else onto him (OK it could be a her) before I had to leave. The question is, can I get to 20 gull spp in in the UK in a single year?

Friday, 25 April 2014


In a desperate attempt to find some interesting wildlife, other than the breakfast trade at Wetherspoons, I've been forced into wandering into VC42. On thursday I had what appears to be an adult summer plumaged yellow-legged gull just off Llangasty at 18:00 hours (Llangorse gets very few HG so easy to spot YG amongst LB).
Tonight was dry but apparently Llangorse and the east had been wet for most of the day, possibly delaying Tern passage because at 17:35 an arctic tern arrived from the east followed by a black tern at 18:10, they fed in tandem, 'bounce picking' back and forth close to the north bank (too distant to get a pic). Also present were curlew[6], redshank[1], lapwing[2] with at least 1 pair of gadwell a little egret and a black swan. LLwyn-onn held common sandpiper[5] late afternoon with mud water dropping and mud emerging.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

A couple of Dodgy Otter Shots.

 I was shaking so much I had the camera  on the wrong settings.I think you will never get tired of seeing them.

Long Distances Siskin

I was talking to a lady in Penywaun, she feeds the birds and it costs her thirty five pounds a week and she has loads of birds coming to her garden. She said just after Christmas she found a dead male Siskin in her garden and it had a ring on it's leg. So she phoned the BTO and it had come from Scotland and it was just under two years old. So think this bird was about six weeks ago and it cannot be the same bird. Who know this maybe Scottish as well. To think you think you are feeding local birds and this traveled all that way. I got Orange Tip today and I was just starting to think they do not exist.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A couple of Cynon Valley year ticks for me.

Yesterday at Tir Founder Fields Garden Warbler and I got to see the Mink and today at Penywaun 12 House Martins and tonight up at Abernant I got my first Cuckoo of the year and after 1 hour of watching and listening I finally got Grasshopper Warbler .

Year ticks continued

My first Swift of the year over Upper Boat this afternoon also seven Whimbrel and two Sandwich Terns at Bowling Green Marsh last Friday, anyone watch Chris Packham on youtube last night?

Sunday, 20 April 2014

those year ticks keep coming.

After picking up Gannet, Whitethroat, and Lesser Whitethroat yesterday, the first two around Tutt Head, before coaching and the latter when searching (unsuccessfully) for the Frankies Gull reported down the Gower, it was back to WeBS this morning. a single Coot on Parc Taf Bargoed was new for WeBS and only my second record for the site. A single Reed Warbler was new in, quietly singing to itself up at the setting reedbeds.

For afters I decided to head down to Goldcliffe. In between the showers, picked up 63 Avocet, with no doubt more hidden on the far side of the islands. Some 220 Dunlin were in attendance with a single Sanderling. 9+ Ringed Plover and 4+ LRP (they just would keep still long enough to get a decent count). Over to Boat Lane to pick up the drake Garganey and my first House Martin of the year, bringing the year total to an astounding 164 - I've had more than that by the end of Jan, some years! Can I make 200 this year?

Shots from Tir founder fields

 The bird of the day had to be this little black cracker, the first Sedge Warbler of the year and a great day with good food. 

Year Ticks Galore

Martin Bevan and myself had a morning looking around sites in the top part of the Cynon Valley.

First stop was Tirfounder to do Martin's WeBS count.  Birds seen included Kingfisher, Dipper, Goosander, Sedge Warbler ( year tick ), Whitethroat and Willow Tit ( last two year ticks for me ).

We then went to Penderyn to look for Pied Flycatcher which Martin heard quite quickly but we had to wait  for awhile before a lovely male showed right in front of us.  A Merlin flying over was another bonus.  Two more year ticks for both of us.

It was then over to Cwm Cadlan to look for Groppo which we duly dipped, but getting 2 Tree Pipits ( year tick for both ) and a Redstart ( year tick for me ).

We then went over the Voyle and to Sub-Station pond in Hirwaun, nothing of note seen in either.

Last stop was the Country Park to try another Groppo site where yet again no sight or sound of one.  A Common Sandpiper on the middle lake was some compensation, another year tick for both of us.

I finished with 8 year ticks and Martin 5.

A Couple of shots from my Garden.

 I am back.

Friday, 18 April 2014

More new stuff for the year

An early morning visit to Craig Cerrig Gleisdiad (forever known as CCG) resulted in hearing the Ring Ouzels, but in 2+hrs I couldn't get a sighting. A calling Cuckoo was too far away to see. Things picked up as I crossed over to the YHA wood and picked up a singing male Pied Fly and a pair of Marsh Tit before I'd gone 100m.

After that it was a wander around Cwm Cadlan, looking for Dottrel - big 0, but did get my first wheatear's of the year - how do you get to mid April without seeing a wheatear! Next up, Rhaslas. Fresh footprints round the margins, suggested Mike had been and gone. The only bird of note was a single LRP. 

Finished off this afternoon up Pont-y-Gwaith LNR where I picked up my first Green Tiger Beetle of the year.

Good or Bad Sighting

I went for a walk around Tirfounder this morning hoping to hear or see any new warblers especially Grasshopper and Sedges. No sight or sound of any.
I did however see a Mink, the first I've seen in about 10 years.  Not sure if I'm pleased or not, I don't wish them any harm but they are not native and can leave a trial of destruction behind them.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Another first for the year, for me, at Penderyn. A lovely male Pied Flycatcher singing and loitering around a nest box I put up for them a few years ago and used by them for at least a couple of seasons.
The owner of the private wood I have the nest boxes told me he heard his first Cuckoo on the 14th. I haven't heard one yet.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Just for Martin Bevan

A couple of pictures from recent walks.

The first photo is a Bee-Fly taken near Llanwonno, we had been to Llan Wood looking for Lesser Pecker ( it's ok Rob you can sleep at night we dipped !! ). The second photo of a very white winged Carrion Crow was taken at Forest Farm ( I was shopping at Asda so I thought it would be rude not to call in ).
I also had my first Orange Tip of the year on Monday.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

a long walk in the sun

A walk round Coed Cefn Fforest followed by Parc Taf Bargoed and Craig Fargoed today picked up a couple of new migrants - a total of 4 Redstarts and a Tree pipit. Good numbers of butterflies - 6 species in total, my first Bee-fly of the year and my first Odonata of the year - 2 large Red Damselfly's.

Meant to add - the first of this years Mallard broods took to Parc Taf Bargoed lake - mum with 12 shiny new ducklings

Friday, 11 April 2014


Working in Penderyn today, I had my first Redstart of the year, plus Red Kite, a pair of Buzzard, a pair of Peregrine, Blackcap and two pairs of Mistle Thrush fighting over territory, then I had to knuckle down to some gardening.


First dunlin of the year[1] at 10:30 this a.m. Also present little ringed plover[2], ringed plover[2], curlew & lapwing. Llys Pen y Wern; willow warbler[4], swallow through and mute swan still present.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


First ringed plover[2] of the year this evening at 16:00 hours also swallow[2] and sand martin[3]. Previous earliest RP was 25th April 2013. At Llwyn-onn north this a.m. my first willow warbler (RCT) and a single immature mute swan at Llyn Pen y Wern yesterday morning (apparently been occasionally seen at the pond for a week or so).

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Further musings on gulls

Whilst doing my Heronry count this evening I noticed several gulls drifting down the Taff valley. As they approached Merthyr Vale they started circling. Nothing unusual in that. As it happens the valley narrows somewhat just south of Merthyr Vale. After a couple of minutes one of the gulls, an adult Lesser Black-back peeled off and flew down the valley fast, it was quickly followed by a second. When they reached the fields by the Devil's tooth they slowed down and resumed a more gentle drifting flight down the valley. 5 mins later another pair did the same, but later three Herring Gulls took a different option, rising higher before drifting down the valley. With Peregrines and Goshawks seen regularly in the area - a Peregrine was seen drifting over earlier - I wonder if the gull's were aware that the narrowed area was somewhere were these raptors could ambush them as the flew past and were taking evasive action to avoid ending up as an evening meal.

Back at the heronry, a number of the young birds are looking ready to fledge.

My first Willow Warbler was heard singing and 5 Swallows were over the fields - surely that makes it Summer now!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

another Swallow

Had my first swallow of the year over the wood in Edwardsville just after midday today - with Mark's from earlier this week, does that now make it a Summer?

A Trip to the Garden Centre

Needing to stock up with potting compost, I nipped off down to Caerphilly garden centre, getting there at ten and finding they don't open until ten thirty on Sundays. I could have waited there, but decided to go to the nearby Nantgarw tip, to look for the larval mines of a micro moth (Trifulcata immundella) on Broom. As expected, there was Broom on the tip and I started searching for the mines, all thewhile listening for birds.
A Raven was calling constantly and always somewhere overhead, while there were at least three Chiff Chaffs singing, plus a distant Blackcap. As I searched on, I thought I heard a Willow Warbler in the distance, but you know how it is at this time of year, when you are hoping to find your first of the season; even Robins can sound a bit like them, with a bit of wishful thinking.
After a few more minutes, I heard it again, only much closer and there was no mistaking it this time, so I headed off in its direction, eventually getting fairly distant naked eye views (I left my bins in the house) of it as it flitted through a small hawthorn, then flew off north, never to be heard again by me.

I didn't find the moth, but on my way back to the car, I found this Green Shieldbug, still in its dark winter colours.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

First Swallow

Just seen my first swallow of the year, at Miskin, Mountain Ash.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Lep on a hot tin (roof)

My first wheatear at Rhaslas this a.m. with a further 3 at Cwm Cadlan, copulating grey wagtail at Llwyn-onn but still no hirudine or osprey on the patch, oh and I appear to have missed another hen harrier at Rhaslas this p.m. The tortoiseshell were noted on the slope to Danydarren quarry. Looks like we had a really busy Sunday.