Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Pan species update

It's been a while since I provided an update on my Pan Species challenge for the year. After passing the 1000spp mark in early July, I sort of lost focus a bit, plus with a lot of weekends busy with athletics, I've not had a lot of time to get out and about as much.

However, the total is currently 1249 spp for the year. At this rate, I think I might just about make 1300 for the full year, which I'll be well pleased with. There have been quite a few glaring misses over the summer - notaby Marbled White, Green Hairstreak and Small P-bordered Frit' and the mammal list is quite poor.

The breakdown is as follows:

Birds 198
Mammals 13
Amphibs 5
Reptiles 3
Fish 12
Beetles 60
Bug 29
Lep's 233
Hoppers 10
Dragons 26
Flies 61
Bees 37
Centipedes 2
Crustacea 6
Spiders 14
Molluscs 30
Ferns 12
Fungi 63
Lichens 27
Horsetails 3
Mosses 26
Plants 366
misc  insects 5
misc  3
seaweeds 5


Monday, 19 September 2016

Mike's correct

I agree with Mike - Wrynecks are a myth. I spent an hour and a half searching for the Dunraven bird on Saturday - no sign. On Sunday, with Phil trying out a new rapid weight loss programme, I though I'd give the Uskmouth bird a go - again no sign.
The trip to Uskmouth provided the opportunity to nip down to Gol;dcliffe for the high spring tide and the Pec Sand' that has been hanging around for a few days. On arrival there were plenty of waders on show but the few birders in attendence hadn't located the Pec. About 30 secs later I was onto it as it showed well just in front of the first hide.

Apart from the Pec' it was a bit of a wader fest over the high tide. Probable the most impressive was a flock of 85 Barwits - I believe a record for the site. These were mixed in with a flock of around 300+ Curlew + Blackwits, Knot and Grey Plover. 3 Spot Reds and at least 9 Greenshank, 1 Little Stint, 1 juv LRP, 2 Avocet, 1 Turnstone plus dozens of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Just to prove to Mike that they do exist I went down to Dunraven yesterday afternoon and took a few photos of the bird.

Wryneck with Wheatear

Wheatear with Wryneck

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Best bird this a.m. wigeon[7] flying south, sad to see no greenshank today (image from yesterday when at least 2 birds present). Also this a.m. common snipe[1], swallow[c20], wheatear[c10], mipit[c30], whinchat[1], skylark[c4], red kite[2] plus usual suspects.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Penmoelallt Nature Reserve

On Sunday after a hard days work I decided to take the dogs for a walk and could not get my family out of their seats, I even tried to take the televison remote but I had no chance. I thought I wanted a change and have been to Bryn Du too many times. Since the new sign to stay out and I met the owner who said it's a private road I said I thought it was a right of way to the Forestry. To cut a long story short he said as long as people clean up after their dogs he was fine for people to go though there. I would like to find out if it is private and if he can keep you out. Right back to Penmoelallt and as I had not been there for a bit I thought yes that will do. Bird wise it was very quiet and all I saw was a Common Buzzard and a Raven. It definitely felt like autumn, I only saw one Speckled Wood butterfly and no dragonflies. I started to look for the Alder Tongue fungus and it was in the same area as last year. One tree was covered but the trees around it had no fungus.

 I had a quick look at the back and found these logs and thought the look brilliant covered in moss.

Nice too see the two Badgers are still whole and looking good. Last thing I found was this waxcap in the woods below and thought looks great with a lovely bit of colour and any ideas. After last weeks post I am trying not to moan and talk about food, this is my last post for two weeks so it's up to you lot guys and Mike too put some stuff on.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Fungus From Abercwmboi

 Coral Slimme Mold

My first Fly Agaric of the year and a bit of a whopper

 White Saddle

Orange Birch Boletes .
Dappled Webcap

Friday, 9 September 2016


Singles of dunlin and greenshank this a.m. (greenshank first noted on 19th August, sp present 11/18 visits including today, sp using stream to the north and landfill to east, highest count 4 on 23rd August. Also today c10 wheatear; 2 on pool & 8 on landfill, mipit numbers c35 the last couple of days. Wildfowl jut c 8 tufted and 6 teal at the moment. Several moulting kite.

Llwyn Onn Reservoir and Cwm Cadlan

After hearing that the Tour of Britain was going from my local park in Aberdare and I may get blocked in my road and have problems getting to work I thought I would leave early and check Llwyn Onn before work. When I got to the reservoir I saw one of the wardens on the dam with binoculars and thought maybe something good was around, on asking him he said no just checking the water level and I thought they must have bad eyes as you could see it with your naked eyes. Right back to the reservoir and it was dead, I have not seen it so quiet. All I saw were both wagtails, 3 Cormorants and Little and Great Crested Grebe and no ducks anywhere. After that I went back over the Cadlan, it was foggy on top so I stopped by the cattle grid. There were loads of Meadow Pipits, I walked up the road to the clump of trees on the left where there were lots feeding in the field by the stream. I also got 6 Stonechat and 4 Whinchat and it looks like the Wheatear have gone for another year. The Rowan Trees are full of berries and some trees look like they have not got leaves on with all berries. There were a couple of Mistle Thrushes and lots of Goldfinch feeding and also by the clump was this poor linnet which sadly does not look long for this world.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Abercwmboi Lake

Had a quick walk around the old Phurnacite Plant and as always shows how brilliant Brownfield sites are with the wildlife making the most of it. I finallly got close to the swans and the six young are looking really good and well. I have been told the two youngsters from last year are no longer in Aberdare park and have moved on. Has I walked around the site it was drizzling and it shows how fast things move on, when it stopped and I had loads of Speckled Woods, a single Painted Lady and this cracking Red Admiral.

When I was walking around the old feeder pond I noticed this fly, it was doing a funny display flight and was catching the light and it looked really good. There were three flies there and this one keep coming back to the same spot. I have been told it's one of the Stilt Legged flies, Argyra sp still trying to find out which one.
Still loads of Scorpion flies about to and what a strange looking fly, it almost looks like it was last in the line for body parts in the beginning and had what was left.
Nice too see a great bit of colour with the brambles looking very smart .
 When watching the swans I noticed this dead fish, it does not look like trout so any ideas .

Sunday, 4 September 2016

False Widow

On Saturday morning, while checking the underneath of my garden moth trap for stowaway moths, before putting it back, in the shed; I noticed this colourful spider. It was quite small (maybe 15mm, with its legs) but the colour and pattern are what attracted my attention. As I was trying to photograph it, the cream band around the front of its abdomen was instantly familiar and I realised I was dealing with one of the Steatoda Sp of spiders; sometimes called the False Widows, due to some of the species resemblances to the related Black Widow.

Steatoda grossa?

I find spider identification difficult and without wanting to kill and dissect, always a bit hit and miss. As far as I can tell, this is Steatoda grossa and like the other main false widow of domestic situations; S, nobilis, is mildly venomous, but not dangerous, unless you are particularly prone to adverse reactions to insect bites and stings. This is the first time I have seen any of the false widows around here, even though I see lots of spiders while doing peoples' gardens. Last November, while staying in a cottage in Lyme Regis, Dorset, I was amazed to see that every nook and cranny around the outside of the house, garage and garden structures was occupied by Steatoda Sp; some of them quite large. These were mainly S. nobilis, as far as I can tell, but there could well have been S grossa there too and I wonder if I may have inadvertently brought some home with me.

Not long after the above, I noticed that I had suffered an invasion of Martins (something that has happened a few times while moth trapping). No, it wasn't Bevan wandering around the kitchen, eating the biscuits and moaning about them, but a fall of around 110 House Martins, which dropped in, to join our 10 resident Swallows. The Swallows usually perch on the telephone wires, outside my house and this is where the Martins perched too, in between massed take-offs and short feeding flights. They were there for just over an hour; resting and preening after their overnight flight and then they left. While they were there, they made an entertaining  addition to the local bird life and were certainly made a more attractive sight than the invasion of Martins I usually encounter!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Lost in the post

Phil had decided last weekend for us to go to Gileston and East Aberthaw, it seemed a good choice and I was going too meet him by 6 clock at his house.  I set off  nice and early to find one problem after another and got there by 6.20 and found Phil not dressed and late and this is the second time this year he has been late, he's always on time when he picks me up. When we finely set off it was drizelling and when we got to the coast it was full blown rain. Has were are not fine weather birders we set off in Gileston to check the hedgerows and farm fields. The linnet flock is just starting to pick up again and we got good numbers of Reed  Bunting and a family party of Yellowhammers. I have not seen these here for many years and hope this is the start of them picking back up again. In the fields were loads of Canada Geese and hundreds of Gulls, most seemed to be Herring Gulls also a couple of Black Headed Gulls and if by chance I picked up an adult winter plumaged Med Gull flying over. We then spotted something I have never seen before when we got a gull flying over and it looked like it had a bad feet but on looking closer it had mud on both feet and the more we looked all the gulls flying over were the same, it looked funny with their feet dropping down. They seemed to be mostly Herring Gulls and all seemed to fly towards the sea to wash off the the mud, it must have been heavy for them. Like always it was great to be out and see something different and just as we were gettting to the car park we got two Wheatears and had our first well earned cup of coffee of the morning. I fetched apple doughnuts and apple pies and Phil brought the hardest snack I have ever tasted, he said it was a granola bar but it was more like a bit of a patio slab, I almost broke a tooth eating it and will be thinking twice before taking snacks from him again. Next was Aberthaw and the weather was picking up, the sun was trying to come out and we started too see butterflies. We saw loads of Meadow Browns and was nice to see some Holly Blues but it was surprising we only got one Red Admiral and one Painted Lady. We only got two Dragonflies and they were Migrant Hawker and Common Darter. Bird wise it was fairly good mostly common stuff with loads of Whitethroat and a nice surprise was a Garden Warbler. By the pool there was Little Grebe and Kingfisher and the regular Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Mute Swan, Grey Heron. On the marsh at the back was another Little Egret, a wader flew in which turned out to be a Redshank and it  was joined by two more waders which were a Knot and a Dunlin and it was nice too see the different sizes    .