Late morning before the rain. No show by any Hawfinches this morning, although I didn’t linger very long. Couple of Rooks in field beyond far end of W paddock was a year tick. W lake had 1 drake Wigeon and 1 drake Gadwall by the posts and a Common Gull on the posts. Little Grebe was whinnying frequently. There were 40 Pochard – 35 on E lake and 5 on W lake, all drakes exc 5. It was sunny, but dark clouds to the NW had a rainbow which was reflected in the dragonfly pond.
Walked along Sully shoreline to walk the dog. There were 17 Curlew feeding on the sports field, and 15 confiding Turnstone amongst the seaweed at the top of the beach. About 15 distant Shelduck on Sully Island topped up my year list [as did the Curlew as it happens]. The grassy path is very muddy so we walked back along the rocky shore and came across a smart tail-less Pied Wag which I’ve named Short-tailed Wagtail [Motacilla alba brevicaudatus :-)]. A couple of Rock Pipits and normal wagtails were on the cricket pitch and as we got back to the cricket clubhouse start point, a smart male Stonechat was posing on top of the concrete posts there.
Nice surprise this morning, when I met Graham Smith and Matt Meehan. They’d seen a Hawfinch, found earlier by Alex Bevan. Not showing when I arrived but after c.20 mins Matt refound it and I got flight views until it landed at the top of a tree. It then almost immediately flew back again and was joined by two others at the top of a tree in the eastern fringe of Cogan Wood. Viewing was from by the muddy track beyond the dragonfly pond. Also in the same trees a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew out and a Green Woodpecker showed briefly. A pair of Great Crested Grebes displayed briefly on W lake, where there were the usual Tufties and 32 Pochard, plus a drake Shoveler hiding in the edge of the reed bed.
Lavernock Road was very busy and there must have been at least 80 cars, probably more, in the car park, so not many people are obeying the exercise from your front door rule.
There were 40 Pochard in total this morning, split roughly 50/50 between the two lakes – my highest count of Pochard here since a count of 37 in Feb 2019. The Tufted numbered about 200. There was 1 drake Wigeon on W lake, calling quite frequently and a couple of Teal skulking along the reed edges. In the snipe enclosure a pair of Bullfinch flew across one of the cut ‘rides’, a new bird for 2021, and there were 2 Green Woodpeckers there too. Loads of Blackbird in the park [I got up to about 20] and there were around 50 Redwing in and around W paddock.
On 10th a walk round and complete list produced 31 species. I added Reed Bunting for the year, and other highlights were all 5 thrushes incl 2 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, lots of Blackbirds and a sprinkling of Redwing and Fieldfare, and 6 Greenfinch. Green Woodpecker as usual in W paddock, 13 Pochard, and a Common Gull on the W lake posts. The S end of W lake was partly frozen and had a bunch of Black-headed Gulls sitting on the ice.
On 11th there were 23 Pochard with the Tufties on W lake.
On 7th we walked along Penarth clifftop starting in sunshine and then the fog rolled in. I did get a first of the year Kestrel, and a Wren and the usual House Sparrowds were active in the clifftop bushes!
Today, 8th Jan we went back to Cosmeston. There were 2 Green Woodpeckers in W paddock [looked like a pair but couldn’t get close enough to be sure]. Heard 3 Nuthatches in Cogan Wood but not a single one showed! The lower Dovecote sloping field had a pair of Stonechat [new for year] and about 10 Fieldfare, and in the car park, Redwing were on the central grass area, and another new bird in the form of a Siskin was with Goldfinches in the car park trees. Siskin are a bit of a rarity there these days. A Song Thrush posed nicely in Ivy by the exit.
It’s the new year, so time to get all your records/observations for 2020, however limited they may be, to me, for collation into the master spreadsheet of records so work can start on the 2020 East Glam Bird Report. I have already extracted the 2020 data from BirdTrack and have received individual records from four individuals. If you haven’t Bird Tracked your records yet then when you have you’ll have to extract them yourself and send them to me separately. Thanks in advance folks. John Wilson.
On 4th Jan a Snipe flew out of the fenced in enclosure beyond the dragonfly pond [what I call the snipe paddock]. Then on 5th Jan there were 245 Tufted Ducks [230 on E lake and 15 on W lake], 26 Pochard [19 on E lake, 7 on W lake], the most this winter so far. Today, 6th Jan an adult Common Gull was on W lake for a short while [they have been in short supply this winter, even in Cardiff Bay], and a drake Wigeon was skulking around the reedbed fringe of W lake. Pic below of fem Blackbird in Cogan Wood and the ad Common Gull.
On W lake this morning, there were 10 Teal, a pair of Wigeon, 9 Pochard, 100+ Tufties, and a Common Gull. A Cetti’s Warbler sang near the bird table and there were around 10 Chaffinch there. Someone has put up a couple of feeders and there was seed on the ground. In the total of around 120 Tufted Duck on both lakes, I would estimate that around 80% at least of them, are drakes.
Cardiff Bay: A female Ring-necked Duck commuted between here and Cosmeston. Further wildfowl of note in the bay comprised Long-tailed Duck, Scaup and Common Scoter. A first-winter Caspian Gull and up to five Yellow-legged Gulls were frequenting the roost.
Kenfig: A Russian White-fronted Goose arrived (4th) and looked set to winter. Seven Whooper Swans and a Great White Egret were merely flyovers. A Great Northern Diver was on the pool, with another off Sker, where at least 12 Red-throated Divers and an Eider were also noted. Two Marsh Harriers and a Merlin were on the reserve. A sinensis Cormorant was identified at the pool. A Black Redstart was briefly on the east pool shore.
Ogmore Estuary: Two Water Pipits were often at Portobello. Four Common Sandpipers was the highest ever winter site count. A Green Sandpiper was seen a couple of times. Five Brent Geese flew up the river, having been seen earlier at Newton. A male Red-breasted Merganser hung around for a few days. A Merlin was logged.
Other sites: Cosmeston hosted a juvenile Glaucous Gull, a Scaup, plus on occasion the aforementioned Ring-necked Duck. Both Cattle Egret and Great White Egret were recorded at Sully. An male Red-breasted Merganser was a noteworthy inland find on the lower lake at Clydach Vale. Up to 30 Goosanders were on Caerphilly Castle Moat. A maximum of 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese was at Aberthaw, now a regular wintering site for the species. Another Pale-bellied Brent Goose spent a few days at Newton, where the wader roost included 13 Grey Plovers. A Green Sandpiper survey on the River Ely returned a significant total of 12 individuals. A Short-eared Owl was at Rumney Great Wharf. Black Redstarts were seen at Southerndown, Cwm Mawr/Bach, Gileston, Cardiff Airport, Sully and Rumney Great Wharf.
Summary by Paul Roberts
John Wilson here. Alan Rosney has now completed the first newsletter of 2021 so well done Alan. It’s problematic [and not necessarily safe] getting to the post office for him at the mo so those who receive theirs by email will do so. For everyone else, it is in pdf form and I have just uploaded it to our Google Drive. It can be seen [and downloaded] by clicking HERE.
Just checking my laptop diary to suddenly be reminded that it was agreed I would give a Zoom prersentation on a trip we did to Thailand at the beginning of last year, the presentation being on Tuesday i.e. 5th Jan. Really sorry for the short notice but with Christmas in the interim it had slipped my mind. It will start at 7:30 p.m. with the Zoom room opening at around 7:15. Here’s a link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9727102016… John Wilson
New year’s day dog walk. A good selection of wildfowl – 120 Tufties, 16 Pochard [7 E lake 9 W lake], 3 Shoveler (2m 1f) on E lake, a pair of Wigeon and a hiding drake Teal on W lake, plus Mallard, Mute Swan and Canadas. Other watefowl were Coot, Moorhen, 3 Little Grebe, 2 GC Grebe, 1 Cormorant, Water Rail heard in the snipe paddock. Gulls – 1 Common Gull on W lake posts, plus LBBG, HG and Black-headed Gull. A smattering of common birds including a Green Woodpecker made the total in just a 45 min walk, 32 species.
There were 120 Tufted Ducks [100 on E lake and 20 on W lake], 12 Pochard [3 on E lake 9 on W lake] and 1 drake Wigeon well hidden in the edge of the W lake ‘island’.
Highlights [such as they are] at Cosmeston this morning: best was an adult Common Gull initally on W lake then in the SW corner of E lake. There have been very few this winter. A couple of drake Pochard were hiding in the reed edges on W lake and about 20 Fieldfare were in trees near the small pond in the dip by the N corner of W lake, and feeding on the ground to the right thru the gate. Couple of Mistle Thrushes with them too.
From yesterday there was a remarkable record [and photo] of a Red-breasted Merganser well inland on the lower lake at Clydach Vale CP. They are scarce enough in E Glam [maybe 1 record a year, if that]. Possibly due to storm Bella.
On a calm but cold day: about 90-100 Tufted Duck on E lake with a lone drake Pochard. Great and Little Grebes present, but very quiet on land birds. The very wet ground means that worms are accessible so I logged 10+ Blackbirds feeding on the ground around our route. By Sully Brook by the Lower Dovecote field there was a single Redwing with the Blackbirds, and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits were foraging in low vegetation at ground level. There was a Nuthatch and a Coal Tit feeding by the kissing gate that leads off Mile Road by Sully Brook.
Walked the Bay Trail as our exercise today. From the Ice Rink boardwalk there was a female Scaup in amongst the Tufties. I didn’t scrutinise closely enough to see if the fem Ring-necked Duck was present – they were all asleep. The Bay water level has been allowed to fall so there was a stony shore there, with 2 Grey Wagtails. On the R. Taff by Hamadryad park a Long-tailed Duck with a few Tufties was a nice surprise – it’s probably the one seen by others before Christmas round by Prospect Place. Also 2 drake and 2 ‘redhead’ Goosander on the R. Taff there.
There was no sign of yesterday afternoon’s Gt Northern Diver so that had presumably left at first light. The Long-tailed Duck was apparently viewable from the Prospect Place area but I couldn’t locate it with just binoculars, from the barrage. It was very quiet on the barrage side. I noted a pair of Goosander in the R. Ely by John Bachelor Way level with the inner marina of Penarth Marina. 2 Ravens flew low along the barrage as we were returning to try & beat the incoming rain.
Late news re Cardiff Bay from Twitter. 2 Caspian Gulls were in the gull roost [at least one has been regular for a while now], and also late this afternoon a Long-tailed Duck and a Great Northern Diver, seen from near the Ice Rink.
I finally caught up with the Marsh Tit in Cogan Wood this morning, having failed on every other visit this year. It was taking seed someone had put on a stump on the RHS at the bottom of the slope down from the south entrance to the wood. Just outside the north entrance to the wood, a Greenfinch was bathing in a puddle on the very muddy path there. I took a load of shots [8 posted on Facebook] but I’ve put a selection here. Also noted Green Woodpecker near the dragonfly pond, and Redwing in that area.