Saturday, 30 April 2016

Cwm Cadlan

I had a couple of hours wandering round Cwm Cadlan this afternoon. First bird I saw when I got out of the car was a male Redstart disapearing into a possible nest hole. A year tick, and the first of 3 singing Redstarts around the reserve. Walking down the path I saw my first Wood Sorrel of the year. A Cuckoo was calling and eventually showed, a couple of Tree Pipits were singing and a male Whinchat showed nicely on the fence. Only one butterfly - a Green-veined White - was evident.

I then headed over to the limestone pavement ridge, very quiet bird wise, though a couple of very nice male Wheatears were a delight. No sign of any Dottrel.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Broad Billed Sandpiper

Very poor record shot below from Saturday nights jaunt to Goldcliff with Martin Bevan to see the Broad Billed Sandpiper. Centre bird.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bits and bobs from over the Last Week

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning and headed to Tir Founder Fields and on getting there was shocked to see the local patch watcher James already there and halfway around the field, I thought he must have had accident in the night to be up so early. I thought there was no point rushing after him and I would make the most of it and just bird my way along. The light was really good for reflections. There were still lots of Greylag Geese about and maybe nesting in the reedbed near by. I got halfway around before I found my first year tick which was a Reed Warbler, it was feeding low down and not singing. Has the walk went on it did start to warm up and staight away I heard a Whitethroat and then  a Sedge Warbler and as I needed to see them for the year I got closer to where they were singing from and found that there was a pair of Whitethroat and got the Sedge Warbler in the same bush. On the river was a Drake Goosander and is the latest I have seen one in the area. On the Ynys playing fields were a pair  Mistle Thrush and song thrush. I ended the walk on a high and happy with my three year ticks.

Wren nesting in a birch tree and Bee Fly below, my first for the year .

When I was up CCG with Phil we saw these Wood  Anemone and it seemed strange seeing it growing out in the open and shows there must have been a wood on the side of CCG once .

Last night I nipped up Penderyn to look for Mark's Cuckoo and it took a bit of finding. It called three times and went slient each time. I sat on a wall for thirty minutes in the freezing wind and than it decided to move and I had brilliant views of it. It was worth the wait and also got a nice pair or Redstart, that's my dodgy shot also two Tree Pipits and also got a mammal tick for the year three Brown Hares out in the open feeding .
Rob asked where Mike was and I saw him sleeping in the Cwm Cadlan overflow carpark and been on the wine again pmsl.
Last thing on hearing there was a Mega over Taff Bargoed and one I had too see, I got up very early Sunday and went over too see it  and was great too see the coot was still present and looking pretty good, what a bird Martin and great find mate pmsl.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Good old Facebook

Checked on Facebook this afternoon and could see the young swans are at Aberdare park and looking well fed also the Eyptian Geese are still present and there were big numbers of Swallows over the lake with one House Martin .

Thursday, 21 April 2016

First Cuckoo

While working in Penderyn, this afternoon, I was chuffed to hear and see my first Cuckoo of the year. I heard it approach from the North and then saw it fly in and land in a tree only 20m or so from me. After calling there for a while, it flew off South, passing quite close to me. It didn't fly away completely, but stopped at a couple of other trees on its way. Obviously a newly arrived male, setting out its territory. I also heard, but failed to see my first Redstart. In fact there were around three within earshot, but none were close enough to get onto without bins.

Flying vist to Abercwmboi Lake

It was almost a flying visit, some local had put this door over the brook and on top of wooden bridge underneath, a real trap door and I almost fell in. Down by the water edge there was a Common Sandpiper and a first for the year for me and the young swans seemed to have disappeared from the Cynon Valley. The new male was making his mark by nest building and trying to drown his new mate whilst making the next generation. News from Mountain Ash yesterday where I had three species of butterflies, got my first Orange Tip of the year, three Brimstones and two Small Tortoiseshell. I also saw a Wasp Beetle and a Two Spotted Ladybird and two Harlequin Ladybirds.

 This is the Female Swan chasing the Canada goose off I had seen the male doing it before but not her .

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Complete Set

Popped over to Mike's and Mr Bell's patch for an hour after work and was lucky enough to find this Tawny Owl which gives me the complete set of British Owls for the year for only the second time ever. Long Eared Owls are at fault for me not getting complete sets that often.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

BBS and a Swimming Beauty

A chilly start, at six thirty for Martin Bevan and I, to get our upland BBS square done, but what a glorious day it turned out to be and so clear that around midday, with the tide obviously out, I could not only see the west country, but also clearly make out the pale line of the beach. Not bad for Mynydd Merthyr.

On our joint square, a definite highlight for me were my first Swallows of the year (hard to believe, I know, but a sad truth nevertheless), other highlights being a fly over Tree Pipit, picked up by Martin and a fly through pair of Ring Ouzels; heard by both of us, but seen only by me. I am still kicking myself over the latter, as I assumed Martin was on them as well, but he wasn't. Sorry Martin.

On the last transect section, we briefly saw a Green Tiger Beetle, as it flew off the path and disappeared and along the same section, Martin showed superb willpower by resisting the temptation to photograph the sea of 'Matchstick' Cladonia that grows alongside the path there. I suspect he has been undergoing therapy for that particular fixation.

After we parted company, I went and did my adjacent square, on which two singing Tree Pipits were the highlights.

Walking back, I came across this beauty taking a swim in a flooded wheel rut. It reached the shore as I approached, but then remained stationary, just long enough for me to get a couple of photos. If you didn't have any on your way down, Martin, I haven't included this just to wind you up, honest.

... well perhaps just a bit!

Thinking about it, we had quite a good weekend, BBS-wise, as we managed to add a new species to each of our two joint BBS squares (Mute Swan and Ring Ouzel); something that rarely happens these days.

just over the border

Spent the day catching up with a former coaching colleague - we decided to take a walk up the Wye Valley. Parking at Tintern, we crossed the river (into engerland) and walked the Devil's Pulpit. Bird life was quite quiet with only Chiffchaff and Blackcap of the summer migrants recorded. I did, however, manage to pick up a few species for my 1000 spp challenge, inc a few lifers. The woodland floor was covered in Bluebell's, Wood Anemone, Dog's Mercury and Lesser Celadine. Hidden amongst them I picked up a Toothwort Lathreaea squamaria.
As is often the case, once you have found one, you can't seem to stop finding more - I must of found over 30 of these parasitic plants. Wood Spurge Euhporbia amygdaloides was also common and new for me.

Despite the pleasant, warm sunny weather butterflies were conspicuous by their absence, but I did come across a new moth, Semioscopis avellanella.

Also found was a Bronze Shieldbug, Troilus luridus

Yesterday Phil took me to see some Three-sided Leek Allium triquetrum that was initially found by his friend Gareth last year.

A Few Year Ticks

After Martin Bevan and Mark Evans had done their BBS Survey this morning Martin and myself decided to have another visit to CCG to look for Ring Ouzels. Martin had heard some on the survey earlier but only Mark had seen them flying away.

On arriving at CCG we found it bathed in sunshine and ideal we thought for singing Ring Ouzels. However it was very quiet and our hopes looked dashed again. After coffee and chocolate supplied by me again Martin finally picked one up in a distant tree. We managed to pick it up in the scope (my scope Martin had not brought his) just before it flew. It then evaded us for awhile before I refound it.
It then decided to sing for the next half hour but not for the lack of trying we simply could not locate it.

On the way down near the bottom Martin said I thought I just heard Redstart but was doubting himself. But sure enough there was a stunning male Redstart flickering around the trees. There was definitely one more possible two there.

It was then over the road and into the woods where more or less straight away we found 3 Pied Flycatchers (2 male and 1 Female). This was turning into a good day. Some record shots below.


Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher


Thursday, 14 April 2016

I did a detour before work of the three Beacons Reservoirs

Nice early morning at Cantref Reservoir where lots of willow Warbler were singing along the reservoir. A couple of dead Toads in the water it looked like a Grey Heron had grabbed them and tasted them and then dropped them as their insides were hanging out. Bird wise on Res very quiet with 1 Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Canada Geese, they were bathing and would dip their heads underwater and left head and water would role down their backs, both birds were doing it and I have not noticed this behaviour before .
Beacon Reservoir  had more Canada Geese about 10 in total and a pair of Great Crested grebes. I shared the carpark with this Pied Wagtail and he looked frozen and was trying hard to find food in carpark.
The reflections were brilliant and it was nice to be out and enjoying it. I took my wrong lens with me and had too manage with a big lense and took the flying Canada Geese from the dam on Llwyn Onn Reservoir. I could only see 1 cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and this pair of Canada Geese.