Friday, 31 October 2014

Upper Neuadd

Breaking in my new boots, so after work took a walk to the Upper Neuadd reservoir. While counting the wildfowl  my attention was drawn to the larch immediately below the dam where c20 goldfinch were mobbing a great grey shrike. When I got back I checked the Glamorgan site and I see Allan Dowson had 1 at Garw Nant between 09:50 & 11:15 hours. I wonder same bird ??? this image was taken at 10:47:56 hours. Also present; MA[18], T.[20], CG[27] plus usual suspects.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Moth, R.I.P

This morning, I spotted this small but colourful fungus, growing in the lawn of one of my clients, in Penderyn.

Its scientific name is Cordyceps militaris, common name: Scarlet Caterpillarclub. It first infects, then kills the pupating larva of a moth, just under the moss or soil, then lives off the dead larva, throwing up a tiny (this one was only around 20mm tall) fruiting body in the autumn.
The only other place I have seen this species is up by the targets, above Perthcelyn.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mute Swan Twitch !!!

I can't believe I just typed the words for the title of this post but they are true. Martin Bevan has just called me to say that he has just seen two swans on Abercwmboi Lake ( he did not have his binoculars so was not sure what species they were ). Nothing unusual you would think about that but the fact is that I have never seen a swan in the Cynon Valley and Martin has only ever seen one Mute Swan. Martin said that he thinks that the last record for Abercwmboi lake was over 50 years ago.

I rushed up to Abercwmboi and met Martin, we went down to the lake where we found the two Mutes not the Whoopers or Berwicks as hoped for. Record shot below.
Also below a shot of a Pied Wagtail from Kenfig on Sunday.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Fungus in the valley

 I found this shaggy parsol in Abernant and I thought it would make a good shelter for Rob.
This is a new Fungus for me Cauliflower fungus and this was in Abernant also.
 Alder Bracket fungus down in Peace Park.
 I have no idea what this is but I thought it looks different,
The innner of the caulifower looked like pasta or dog sick. I walked passed it and noticed it on the way back. I thought god I am getting blind. Also Dare Valley country park had nine Ring Ouzel yesterday, there was a good mixed group of sexes, the best being three cracking males. All were feeding in hawthorn and seen in one tree at the same time and there could possible have been more.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Thats a bit more like it...

I'm snow sure if i ken what this bird is..

When I arrived home yesterday evening, I noted that a Kentish Plover had been found by Mark Hipkin at Crymlyn Burrows, some time just after 4 pm. I had passed the site about quarter to 4 and toyed with the idea of stopping and doing a bit of birding.Doh!
So it was a not too early meet with Phil this morning (6:45am, and that is about as late as we get!) to head down and add this to my British list. As it was only the two of us, we took my dinky toy, giving Phil the rare chance to sit back and relax. We arrived not long after 7:30 to a wide expanse of open beach and strong SW winds. The waders were all out following the receding tide line, so we headed down the beach in order to walk back up towards the waders with the wind slightly behind us. It took a while before we located the Ringed Plovers, which we expected the Kentish to be with. and we gradually made our way closer, stopping and scanning every 20m or so.
By this time, the cavalry had arrived. but before they got anywhere near I picked up the target bird. Tick! I got Phil onto it and signaled to the others that I had it, and we were all soon enjoying this all to infrequent visitor to our neck of the woods (or beach in this case).
Discussions did get round to the possibility that, given the time of year, this could prove to be a Snowy Plover (a very similar American species, and previously a sub species of the Kentish Plov'). The main known differences are that the Snowy tends to be slightly smaller, paler, and has shorter, paler legs than the Kentish. To my mind the bird looked shorter legged than any Kentish I've seen, but they did look dark/black. Hopefully the bird will stick around for a few days and better photo's obtained. If it does turn out to be a Kentish, stand well back from the stampede as it would be a first for Britain!
After taking our fill of the plover we headed over to Kenfig, which is officially dead - never have I seen so few birds around the pool - before heading to Portobello and Pant Norton, where 4 fly over Yellowhamers were the best birds.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

watching the waves

I decided to try out a new sea watch venue this am, Port Eynon. I managed to get semi sheltered spot and set up. Within 5 minutes I had my first Arctic Skua, a 1st calendar year bird passing reasonably close. It was another hour before the next appeared, another 1cy Arctic, quickly followed by a 1cy Pom, and that was it from the Skua's. Other sightings included 3 Sandwich terns, half a dozen or so Kittiwake, including a 1st winter bird I couldn't quite string into a Sab's. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Sunday Outing to the Seaside

Martin Bevan and myself decided to have a visit to Kenfig on Sunday morning to see if they was any visible migration going on.
We met Neil Donaghy in the car park and walked around the east part of the pool with him and he told us how bad the pool had become eg. only seeing Pochard and Wigeon once this year. Sure enough the only wildfowl on the pool was a single Teal and a few Mallard. Martin was inconsolable to find there was not even one Coot. There was plenty of migration taking place with plenty of Swallows, Chaffinches and Linnet moving through. Martin called a flyover Green Sandpiper which was first for the year for the pool. Also three Sparrowhawks provided some interest. Plenty of Cetti Warblers were heard but none seen.
We left Neil and walked around the west side of the pool, down through the dunes and onto Sker. Lots of Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were around also a Garden Warbler and a fly over Tree Pipit were surprising at this time of year.
The rocks at Sker produced Knot, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew and a flock of Golden Plover of over 400 birds.
A Little Owl was then seen at Sker House on the walk back.
Back at the centre it was nice to have a chat with Wayne Morris, Dave Carrington, Alan Rosney, Graham Powell and even Beaky who were doing various things with the Glamorgan Club's Big Day.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Great white egret found early morning by Ranger Tim Griffiths, bird still present at 11:30 hours feeding along north west bank.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Top of the Cynon Valley

Martin Bevan and myself started out at Graig y Llyn this morning hoping to get a year tick for Martin of Ring Ouzel on passage. Unusually for that area not many trees had berries on them so the odds were stacked against us and we duly dipped. Lots of Chaffinches on passage, our first two Redwing of the autumn, also 8 Goosanders were a nice surprise ( all redheads ). Raptors were good though, we had already had a Sparrowhawk earlier when I picked Martin up and now we had Buzzard, Peregrine and a very close swoop past us of a Merlin. The noise of the Merlin flying past was unbelievable for a bird of that size, it startled us both sounding like a miniature jet on low manoeuvres.
From there we went to Sub Station pond in Hirwaun which was very disappointing with just Mallard, Moorhen and Martin's favourite bird Coot.
We then went over to Cwm Cadlan which was partly covered in mist so very little was seen there but added Kestrel to the raptor list for the day.
Last port of call was a walk up to the quarry at Penderyn hoping again for Ring Ouzel and once again no luck. Really good views of Red Kite were had making our sixth raptor for the day. Lots of Starling and Mistle Thrushes but we could not find any more winter thrushes among them. Other birds included Stonechat and a small party of Reed Buntings.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Down Gower way

For the second weekend in a row I was down the far end of the Gower. This time it was a pre-coaching visit to Rhossili and Mewslade. Birding was quiet but I did clock at least 24 Chough, a single Merlin and a Dartford Warbler. A calling Tawny Owl in Mewslade was notable. As the sun came out, so did the butterflies (all in Mewslade). A Red Admiral, followed by a Painted Lady, then 3 or 4 Wall (a year tick for me).
A quick walk out onto the sands a Swansea Bay, off Blackpill, produced about a dozen Med Gulls, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and, best of all, a first winter Ring-billed Gull. 4 Pintail were a surprise.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Rhaslas progress report

The Orcs appear to have stopped taking water on Thursday 25/09/14, finally removing their infernal pump on Sunday 28/09/14. The vast reduction in water cover has induced fear/lack of confidence into the wildfowl who now flush as soon as you are visible. Although bird activity and numbers have been down, human activity has been very much on the up, so busy infact I haven't bothered stopping to even give the place a quick scope, until yesterday and today, when wigeon[12], shoveler[1] and pintail [2] were present albeit briefly. Also the passage wheatear appear to be getting bigger.