Wednesday, 31 December 2014

jews ears

 this is growing in tir founder fields on a goat willow and first for me.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Last chance saloon

Taking advantage of the forecast good weather and a decent time of high tide, myself, and Messrs Bevan and Hill took a trip to the Gower, starting with a visit to Whiteford Burrows. On the walk out, at least a dozen Snipe and one, possibly two, Jack Snipe were flushed, 3 Chiffies flitting around the bushed and a small flock af at least 8 Reed Buntings were the highlights. From the hide (though watching from outside) the Red-necked Grebe, that had been found a couple of days earlier further up the estuary, was found, though distant, whilst a couple of Slav' Grebes were closer.

The walk over towards the lighthouse, found us "surrounded" by 100's of Earthtongue fungi, probably Geoglossum cookeanum

From Whiteford it was over to Port Eynon, with a quick visit to Overton where the three Woodlark soon revealed themselves. On the rock at the point, Purple Sandpipers were soon found, plus a Red-throated Diver out in the bay. Whilst Phill and Martin Bevan were off trying to get photo's of the Purple Sand's , I picked up a distant Skua. Unfortunately, I couldn't get enough on it to confirm the species - one that got away!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Fungus in Robertstown

Velvet Shank

Collared Earthstar present.

Still loads of Jews about .

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014

I know there not mushroom on here.

 I found these today in Robertstown . Collared Earthstar. Only these what I could see.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Trip around the Beacons

Martin Bevan and myself heading north this morning to our first stop at Langorse Lake to try and locate the Lesser Scaup with the red saddle marker on it's bill. We pulled up at Llangasty and saw dozens of wildfowl in front of us and even more Canada Geese. Most common duck seemed to be Goldeneye the males looking stunning in the low sunlight, with lesser numbers of Tufties, Mallard, Widgeon and Gadwall. Also quite a few Great Crested Grebes. No sign of the Lesser Scaup though.

We decided to walk over to the hide and have a scan from there. Lots of Bullfinches in the hedges, quite a few Goldcrest, one tree was drooping with Blue Tits, Mistle Thrushes in the fields and the other usual suspects were present in the woodland.

On getting to the hide coffee and pasties were in order to keep the cold out and Martin duly warmed found the Lesser Scaup in his scope near the far bank. I must admit it's the only duck I have seen which has a beak which nearly matches Matt Evans. A Cetti Warbler was heard outside the hide but it did not take pity on us and refused to show itself. Lots of splashing was heard in the reeds and we wondered if the otter was around. Guess we will never know. Andy King arrived at the hide and told us to keep an eye out on the way back as he thought he had seen a female Red Crested Pochard fly in but again we did not have any luck there. Martin did however hear a sneeze and there right in front of us was a Marsh Tit.

Next stop was Llwyn Onn to try and see the two Great Northern Divers. Only one was found although we did not search the whole reservoir. Tufites and a Pochard were also present.

It was then over to the Lower Neuadd Reservoir to try and find the Great Grey Shrike that Mike had found. To say that the weather here was inclement would be an understatement. I think we had everything from sun to snow with a bitter wind as we walked towards the reservoir. We actually ended up walking to the Upper Neuadd which was a new site for both of us. Not really much to report bird wise just a Kestrel and Buzzard and like any other self respecting Shrike this one was out of the bad weather in cover somewhere.

Jack it up

After coaching in Swansea on Saturday morning, I decided to head over to Overton to see if I could catch up with the Wood Larks or Rosefinch that had been in the area recently. Neither the larks nor the Boringfinch were evident, but a Partridge was a bit of a surprise - unfortunately I couldn't get onto it to id to species level, but there was a report of four Grey's a few days ago, and given the scarcity of any Partridge spp in the area, it's prob a good bet it was a Grey.

Walking over to Port Enyon, there was little on the sea - no divers, no grebes. A few Guillemots (some already in breeding plumage) and a single Razorbill were founf flying back and fore. A drake Eider in the bay was the highlight of the day.

On to Sunday and a trip down to Goldcliffe, etc. Big numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing were very much in evidence with numerous individuals seeming to fly out of virtually every bush. Highlights included 2 Spot' Red's, 2 Greenshanks and 2 Peregrines, with a distant Marsh Harrier seen hunting over the Boat Lane marsh. Uskmouth, was almost birdless, saved by the winter thrushes in the hedgerows.

It was then a visit to Rumney Great Wharf. It's prob about 2 years since I was last there, at what used to be one of my local patches when I lived in Cardiff. Highlights were 2 Jack Snipes, one of which allowed good flight views, as it flew around me. 8 Common Snipe were flushed,  - if I had had my wellies, that number would surely be much greater. Two female Peregrines had a bit of a set too, with the mate of one egging them on from a safe distance.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

There's Gold in Them, There Hills!

Poking around Daranlas (the rock feature, not the village) this afternoon, I decided to have a close look at the deep clefts in between the various boulders and outcrops, from which it is formed.
When I shone my torch into one of the deep, dark clefts, I was startled and delighted to see a glint of gold shining back at me, but the cleft was to narrow to allow me in, even to get a decent photo. Encouraged, I hunted around the other clefts and in a really narrow one (50mm), I found more, but this was closer to the entrance, so I was able to get this photo.

It is a moss, called Schistostega pennata (Goblin's Gold) and it exists in two stages: the fronds, which can be seen towards the top of the image, dull green and a sort of green fuzz, called protonema, which in this species has large cells, which are shaped in such a way as to reflect light like cats eyes, giving it a golden green tint as it does so. It is always found in really dark, fairly dry holes, such as animal burrows, usually in sandy soil.
George Tordoff found it a few months ago, under a sandstone outcrop, at Cnwc, above Troedyrhiw, which is why I was looking for it. I think this is the fourth
record of it in Glamorgan.

If you go prospecting for this particular gold, be aware that all that glitters isn't Goblin's Gold. There are a couple of common leafy liverworts which live in similar situations and if they have beads of moisture on their leaves, will reflect torchlight back, with a silvery, golden green colour.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Valley waxcaps

 Meadow waxcap,
 Earh tongues

 Looks like Scarlet Waxcap and Black Bulgar.