Monday, 23 January 2017

My first butterfly

I had my first butterfly of the year today in Cwmbach and it was a Small Torteshell and it was nice and warm in the sun and cold in the shade.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Upper Boat

Spent an hour at a freezing cold Upper Boat this afternoon, good numbers of thrushes observed going past the football fields with double figures of Mistle Thrush but surprisingly only a single Redwing.Moving down to the river there were twelve Cormorants on the wires and Robins seemed to be everywhere a Buzzard gave brief views as did a flock of foraging Long tailed Tits. Further up the river i got onto a female Goosander a Kingfisher,two Little Grebe and a pair of Dippers which i watched for a while before the cold set in and i couldn't feel my feet, 23 species in total and good to be out after the disappointing birding in Goa 😎☺😉

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Merthyr waxwing

2 birds within courtyard of Buckland House c50m south of where Mark Waldron found them. I just about managed 1 shot at 14:20 then they flew off to tree tops alongside the river Taf. Buckland house is situated between Caedraw Schools and Avenue de Clichy and contains one of the few trees with any berries left.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Waxwings Some Poor Record Shots

Martin Bevan and myself travelled down to Penarth this morning to try and catch up with the Waxwings which have hung around there for the last week.

After waiting for over an hour 14 eventually turned up. Unfortunately the light was not good and having to use an high ISO together with hands shaking from the cold the photos did not turn out that good. Mind you seeing Waxwings also gives you a thrill whatever the weather.

We then went down to the Knap and found the Scaup hybrid which had reported there. Martin nearly losing some fingers to the local Swans because he could not get the bread out quick enough.

Then it was over to the bay where we picked up the Female Black Redstart and bumped into Kevin Hughes who informed us that the Glaucous Gull had been seen earlier but it was nowhere to be seen now. We stayed for nearly an hour looking but it failed to put in an appearance.

Scaup Hybrid

Black Redstart

More Colombia Photos I'm On A Roll Now

Bare Faced Ibis

Olivaceous Piculet

Tropical Mockingbird

Ruddy Ground Dove


Saffron Finch

Great Crested Flycatcher

Barred Puffbird

Northern Screamer

Friday, 13 January 2017

Colombia Better Late Than Never

When even Mike ( Pot, Kettle, Black ) starts nagging me about putting some photos of my trip with Martin Bell and Peter Morgan to Colombia in December I decided I better make an effort. So here are a few to get on with.

Black Throated Mango

Savanna Hawk

Female Blue-Billed Cassowary a real world rarity.

Red Crowned Woodpecker

Common Potoo

Andean Cock of the Rock

Orange Eared Parrot another world rarity

Brown Violetear

Juvenile Flame Rumped Tanager

Yellow Backed Tanager

Scrub Tanager

Bay Headed Tanager

Central Andes

Monday, 9 January 2017

Nelson Bog and Parc Penallta

Sticking closer to home this weekend I decided to head over to Nelson Bog/Parc Penallta to look for Willow Tit and anything else of interest.

Unfortunately I dew a blank with the willow Tit - it's over a year since I last recorded the species at this site. They used to be pretty obvious and I would connect with them in 2 out of 3 visits. Has there been any confirmed sightings in the past year?

I did manage to find my first "red" Elfcups - probably Scarlet along with Olive Oysterling, which I've found in quite a few sites this winter.

Bird life was quiet at Parc Penallta, but a flock of about a dozen Siskins was probably the largest finch flock I've seen this winter. I did manage to identify a couple of new Moss species.
                                         Bristly Haircap
                                          Heath Star-moss

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Fungi on Fungi

I spent the afternoon up at Gamlyn, looking for various things, including lichenocolous fungi. I found some of those, but the most exciting find was a really weird looking fungus called Fringed Cup Encoelia fimbriata, which seems to be parasitic of the resupinate fungus Hymenochaetopsis (Formally Hymenochaete) tabacina, which tends to be found occasionally, mainly on dead willow. I found some of the host yesterday, in Cwmbach and after posting it on the Glamorgan Fungus Group Facebook page, I was asked to look out for the Encoelia and also Willow Gloves, another fungus associated with H. tabacina.
Up at Gamlyn, I found a fallen willow, with dead branches, on which were H. tabacina and after a search, I was gob-smacked to see the clusters of fruit-bodies nestling in the moss, on some of the lower branches, with H. tabacina. Brian Douglas is checking, but he thinks there are only seven previous records for Britain.

Hymenochaetopsis tabacina (underside)

H. tabacina (upper side)

Encoelia fimbriata (note H. tabacina, bottom left)

Each cluster is 10mm or less across.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Holly Parachute

I went out for a foray this afternoon and amongst other delights, I found the rare Holly Parachute (Marasmius hudsonii) growing on decaying holly leaves, under two neighbouring hollies in Cwmbach. The first was a single cap and the second a group of three; all on the same leaf.

Holly Parachute. 

It is a tiny thing, as can be seen.

Note the hairy caps.

at last!

For the third winter in a row I've wandered round Dare Valley Country Park trying to find the Goldeneye lichen, Teloschistes chrysophthalamus, that was found there a few years back. Finally, I connected with this rarity. As I approached a heavily lichen infested Hawthorn my thought process went along the following path: "This looks promising, I wonder how long, there it is."

Yep, it was that quick. It wasn't looking at it best, many of the "eyelashes" were missing or folded back itself, but I didn't care, it was just good to finally connect with it. Now I know just what it looks like, I know what to look for elsewhere and see if I can match Mark and find more in the area.

Monday, 2 January 2017

feeling blue

The male Blue Rock Thrush, currently wintering in Stow on the Wold, from earlier today.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 in numbers

Well, I got through the year and managed to log some 1311 species, broken down as:

Birds,                 217
Mammals,            13
Amphibians,           5
Reptiles,                 3
Fish,                     12
Lep’s,                234
Beetles,                 60
Bugs,                    29
Grasshoppers,      10
Dragonflies,          26
Flies,                    64
Bee’s Wasps,       37
Mirapods,              3
Spiders,                14
Crustacea,            11
Molluscs,              29
Misc Insect’s          3
Plants,                369
Ferns,                   12
Horsetails,               3
Mosses,                28
Lichens,                27
Seaweeds,              5
Fungi,                   91
Slime Molds            1
misc’,                      3

After hitting my target of 1000 spp in early July I lost a bit of motivation. There was a number of glaring ommissions from the years observations. These include Black Redstart and Red Grouse amongst the birds, Hare, Red Squirrrel, Badger, Otter and Red Deer amongst the mammals. That said I was a good bit of fun, and a big learning curve.

I'm not setting any targets for 2017, just see what comes.