Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Sker Yesterday and Kenfig pools

I went down Sker yesterday with my daughter and had a good walk along the coast. We found a pair of Wheatears on the way down in the fields by Sker House but sadly too far away for any shots. Also a single linnet and a couple of skylarks. On getting to Sker rocks we could see the sea starting to go out and the bare rocks were showing. There were lots of gulls and Oystercatchers on the rocks, about a dozen Turnstones and a single Dunlin. On looking closer we could see the Purple Sandpipers were still present and I counted eight and thats was just before they all took off, there could easlier be more on the site. It was fun too see the single Golden Plover which I had seen a couple weeks earlier and he seemed ok and is flying around. Still same strange why is he on is own and not with  the flock which flew over a couple times. I also found a small group of 5 in the rocks and also still two Ringed Plovers were present. On the sea apart from 3 Common Gulls and all the regular gulls it was quiet. On the rocks I found these Honeycomb Worms which look like coral and have been told the answer now.

Did get this flock of Cormorants flying passed and a squadron of Golden Plover going over and was brilliant to watch them flying around .

The coast path still had flooding in places and the dune slacks looked brilliant. Would look great if it stayed like this. Also on the beach it was amazing too see how much peat was on show and you could see how much the beach was being washed away.

Having got to the pool to check for Sand Martin I was not disapointed and got 12. On getting home and checked the net to see a pair of Garganey at Kenfig Pool, found by Neil, great find and for a minute I was gutted but the more I thought about it I was not. I was out birding and spending time with my daughter and no scope as she will not carry it, pmsl.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Golden Eyed Lichen Take Three

I've never been one to let rain stop me from going out so when I looked out of the window and thought maybe I should have stayed in bed but thought I cannot let the rain beat me so I went up to Dare Valley Country Park  and searched for the Golden Eyed Lichen. I was on site for two hours and still could not find it and was starting think I am in the wrong place. I saw some cracking lichen and heard a Pheasant Calling in the distance. On getting too the top of the path I spotted the male Pheasant standing on a clump, it was calling it's heart out and he was has wet as me but by now I did  not care it just great to be out, then a second bird called near by. I was thinking so much for third time lucky and failed to find it again. I worked my way up though the birch wood and onto the path and thought I would head up to the top and look for Wheatear. As I headed up I checked out a bit of rock face and thought I had found Mark's lichen but on looking closer I now think it's not and open to offers. I also found this lichen which looks like Matchstick Lichen which was just started to colour up. I was half way up and spotted a Flag in the distance and thought all that is missing now is Zulu drums in the backround and would be like Rorke's Drift . On  finally getting too the top I had a couple of Meadow Pipits displaying in the high winds and saw a male Stonechat trying to display and getting blown backwards but sadly no Wheatears anywhere  .

I so this and thought Rob might be camping in the country park  .
Some nice Pheasant droppings and must have been up there for a bit but I did not see or hear them last time I tried.

I also found this amazing moss down by the stream near the Golden Eyed site

I found these two Common Toads in the top Res and after seeing so many last year  I thought a poor show or have been and gone.
 I see this badge and wondered how many people have every seen them there .
 On the river there was three Grey Wagtail together and a pair of dippers

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Upper Cwm Cadlan

Having failed to find any Wheatear at the upper end of Cwm Cadlan, last Sunday, I went back up there yesterday afternoon and had a lovely male, where I usually get my first. A search around the small quarries, looking for Wall Rue fern (Asplenium ruta-muraria) and more specifically the rare rust fungus (Milesina murariae) which can be found on it. There wasn't much of the fern and what there was seemed either devoid of the rust or too small and inaccessible to allow inspection.

It is a pity how overgrazed that site is, given its potentially rich flora. In the small clefts in the limestone, I found quite a lot of the distinctive foliose lichen Solorina saccata.

Solorina saccata

It is fairly common on the limestone. I looked for the rarer Peltigera leucophlebia, but the turf it would have been present in was far too closely cropped, so no joy there.

There was a half decent sunset, in a subtle sort of way: almost worth freezing my kneecaps off for.

While waiting for the sun to get on with it and set, I was interested to see this airliner, with contrail, casting a shadow directly ahead of itself, onto a thin layer of cloud below it. At this time of day, with the sun almost on the horizon, it almost defies the brain's version of common sense to see something as high as the aircraft casting a shadow below it. To our brain's strange idea of reality, the sun is below the aircraft, so it should cast a shadow up.

Aircraft moving from bottom right, casting shadow to top left.

This morning, while sorting out the garden moth trap, I was overjoyed to hear my first Chiff Chaff of the year, singing briefly from the other side of the field behind us.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Tiger, Tiger....

Making the most of the good weather today I took a long walk up over the ridge and back down the Taff trail. 1st stop was to check out the local Heronry. A group of 13 Crossbills, mixed males, females and juvs, and lots of singing Siskins greated me as I made my way to my view point. The Heron's looked to have had a good winter with a confirmed 9 nests, inc one with an almost fully fledged youngster, and a possible further 5 gives the highest number for a few years.
The walk over the ridge failed to provide a hoped for Wheatear, but plenty of Skylarks singing in the clear blue sky, made the walk worthwhile.
The walk back down produced two beetles for my year listing, one a tick - the dung beetle Aphodius prodromus and two Green Tiger Beetles - glad to get the latter so early - it was late May before I connected with the species last year.

Also picked up a new bee - Gwynne's Mining Bee


Thursday, 24 March 2016

One or two Butterflies From Thailand

After seeing so many butterflies around Elephant poo, I was wondering if we could get some shipped in, would be great at Bentley Wood .

Redspot Sawtooth

Common Bluebottle

Orange Gull