Upcoming trips

Next Weds, 1st June is our annual evening jaunt up to Llanwonno to try & see Nightjars. We meet in the dirt car park below the Brynfynnon Arms Hotel {ST033956 – CF37 3PH] at 8:30 p.m.

Bring a torch and insect repellent. Please let me know by emali if you are coming.

Sunday week – 5th June – we travel to Somerset to Ham Wall RSPB reserve for reedbed birds including Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret, possibly Hobby, and more. It’s around 1 1/2 hrs so meet in the RSPB car park at 09:30. If you wish to car share I need to know in advance and if required the pick up will be at the usual St Margaret’s Rd, Whitchurch, Cardiff for departure at 8 a.m. Again I need to know by email if you are coming and also whether you would like or are willing to car share.

Location details:  RSPB Ham Wall, Meare, Ashcott, Glastonbury BA6 9S; Grid ref ST449397; What3Words biggest.sharpened.clots

johndw1948 at gmail dot com

RSPB Dinas 22 May 2022

We had a GBC trip to RSPB Dinas yesterday with a group of 13 members, to whom thanks for coming. I left Penarth in nice sunshine and arrived at Dinas to be greeted by low grey cloud, drizzle and a temp of 12 deg C! Hence birds v quiet until about 2 p.m. and light in the woods was very low. Some seed was put down on the feeding log and table by the car park but we only attracted a Nuthatch and some House Sparrows. Walking through the initial damp woodland on the boardwalk produced very few birds, although there were glimpses of Pied Fly and Redstart by some and Willow Warblers and Backcaps were singing well. At the end of the boardwalk we headed left round the south edge of the wooded hill that comprises the main part of the reserve. The Bluebells were very attractive. We had a good view of a Tree Pipit perched up and more view of Pied Fly and Redstart but none really ‘crippling’. At one point a Cuckoo was heard calling and some of the party managed to find it on an adjacent hillside. We had our picnic lunches about half way round and continued until we reached the section with the steep rocky path that follows the river. I for one didn’t fancy tackling that section, so we backtracked and then dropped down to the riverside, where two Dippers were feeding, and a pair of Grey Wagtails were taking food to a juvenile sheltering under the riverbank from the the stiff cold breeze. Walking back along the boardwalk we then got some good views of Pied Flycatchers and two Spotted Flycatchers, and plenty of common species. The temperature had increased a little by this time. At the feeding log there was a constant stream of Siskin, mostly males, a juv Nuthatch and eventually a female Yellowhammer. Some folk left at this time and the few left drove up to the road above Llynn Brianne and we added 2 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat, Skylarks, Meadow Pipit and a very brief Whinchat. We eventually logged 46 species. No prize winners in the photos – v poor conditions for photography! All target species were logged in the reserve although Wood Warblers were only heard. See the full list here.

GBC field trip to RSPB Dinas

Tiring GBC trip to RSPB Dinas yesterday leading a group of 13 members, to whom thanks for coming. Left Penarth in nice sunshine and arrived at Dinas to be greeted with low grey cloud, drizzle and a temp of 12 deg C! Birds v quiet until about 2 p.m. and light in the woods v low. We eventually logged 46 species. No prize winners in the photos – v poor conditions for photography! All target species logged in the reserve although Wood Warblers were only heard. A few of us went up the road past Llynn Brianne reservoir and added a few more species – see the list here: https://drive.google.com/…/1EKUj75q…/view…

Cosmeston a.m.

2 G-c Grebe families on W lake – 1 fem had 2 v small ‘humbugs’ on her back and the other had three slightly larger ones, 2 carried and one on the water. 2-3 Reed Warblers are singing by the main boardwalk, plus a Reed Bunting, and 2-3 more Reed Warblers are in the reeds by the dipping pond. Whilst trying to see one, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew by, into the trees bordering the car park.

Two events next weekend

Next Sat, 21st May there will be the regular walk at Kenfig NNR but this one will be dedicated to birdsong and call ID, esp for beginners. As usual, all welcome, meet at KNNR building at 9 a.m.

Then on the Sunday, 22nd May we have a field trip to the RSPB Dinas woodland reserve, north of Llandovery. Some folk, including me as it happens, have been already, so we know the target birds are there [Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler]. It’s just under a 2 hour drive from me via the A470 and A40 to Llandovery then north on minor lanes via Rhandirmwyn. Post code given is SA20 0PG, GR SN788471, What3Words suave.height.splash

I suggest meeting in the car park there at around 10 a.m. – it’s on the left just past a small church and graveyard.

So, if you intend coming please let me know by email [replying to this will be OK]. If you wish to car share please also let me know at the same time. The meet point for that will be the  usual spot at the bottom end of St Margarets’ Rd in Whitchurch [see the Events>Field Trips page on this website]. Be there at just before 8:30. It’s about 1hr 30 mins from there.

Welcome back the Swifts

This event is on Sat 14th May – “Welcome back the Swifts”. Not long now until the swifts return from Africa. Glamorgan Bird Club, in association with RSPB Cymru and the Cardiff Harbour Authority will be holding a “Welcome back the swifts” event on Cardiff Bay barrage on Saturday May 14th. Come along to celebrate the return of these iconic birds. There will be plenty on offer, including guided bird walks and children’s activities. The main event will be on the rubber crumb surfaced area near the skate park at the Cardiff end of the barrage. There is limited paid parking in that area so it might be better to park at the Penarth end and walk across. See below re free parking at the Penarth end.

Some useful info regarding this event. Rather than pay the extortionate parking fees at the car park at the Penarth end of the barrage, there is a free car park near the Tesco store. When you drop down to the Tesco roundabout, take the first exit and there’s an entrance to a free car park about 100m on the right [there’s a height restriction but cars are fine]. From there it’s about a 10-15 min walk to the barrage. Walk along the adjacent road, then go right at the first junction then left when you reach the main road to the barrage. This avoids possibly being caught by the Marina lock gate being open for boats and thus closed for pedestrians whilst boats enter or leave. There’s not usually a long wait but you never know.

Upcoming field trip

Tuesday 10th May we have a field trip to the RSPB Highnam Woods reserve, just west of Gloucester. The main reason for visiting is to hopefully hear, and with some luck and patience see, Nightingale, plus other commonm woodland species including possibly Spotted Flycatcher.

I will be away for this trip so Alan Rosney will be leading [thanks v much Alan]. One stipulation is that another participant will be needed and willing to act as deputy leader. Please could anyone who wishes to attend communicate with Alan rather than me [alanrosney@gmail.com].

The reserve is easy to find – go all the way up the A48 from Chepstow and when you meet the A40 turn left and the reserve is a short way along on the right [see map]. The car park is being opened especially for us, at 10 a.m. [it is normally closed on weekdays] and will be closed at 4 p.m.

March 2022 [belated]

Cardiff Bay: Larids took centre stage, most notably Bonaparte’s Gull, Caspian Gull,
Iceland Gull and two Little Gulls. Three Bearded Tits were briefly at the Wetlands
Reserve, before flying off high (23 rd ). An Osprey flew over (25 th ), with another over
nearby Penarth, before heading up the River Ely (27 th ). A Common Scoter was in the
bay. A Black Redstart was still present at Porth Teigr.
Kenfig: An adult Iceland Gull was a fleeting visitor to Sker (4 th ). Noteworthy wildfowl (all
being drakes), comprised the first Garganey of spring (26 th ), a Red-crested Pochard
and the wintering Ring-necked Duck, which remained until the second week. At least
two Great White Egrets were recorded during the month. A Black-tailed Godwit and a
Continental Cormorant were at the Pool. The first Wheatears arrived at Sker (10 th ).
Other Sites: Two female Ring-necked Ducks were present all month at Lisvane
Reservoir, where an adult Little Gull dropped in (23 rd ). A pair of Garganey and a
Spotted Redshank were at a private site in the Vale of Glamorgan (23 rd ), with another
Spotted Redshank noted at Cardiff Foreshore on the same date. Four Siberian
Chiffchaffs were frequenting the margins of the two lakes in Porthcawl, namely a
couple at each of The Wilderness and Pwll-y-Waun. An Osprey flew over at
Cosmeston, carrying a fish (30 th ). A male Hen Harrier flew high over Bridgend
Industrial Estate, while a ‘ringtail’ was observed at Llanwonno. The Watermill flood at
Ogmore hosted two Little Ringed Plovers, a Water Pipit and the first White Wagtail of
the spring (11 th ). A Continental Cormorant was identified at Ogmore Estuary. A Black
Redstart was still around at Newton, Porthcawl. A Sand Martin at Merthyr Mawr
Warren (11 th ) and a Willow Warbler at Cosmeston (15 th ) were both first reports.
Summary by Paul Roberts

February 2022 [belated]

Highlights: A second-winter Bonaparte’s Gull at Cardiff Bay may have been a returning bird from last year. The male Cirl Bunting, discovered in January, was still at Ty’n-y-Caeau Farm, Marcross. Ring-necked Ducks remained at Kenfig (a male) and Lisvane Reservoir (two females). A juvenile Glaucous Gull was briefly at Ogmore Estuary. A first-winter Caspian Gull was noted at Cardiff Bay. Kenfig Pool hosted a Black-necked Grebe. Siberian Chiffchaffs occurred at Merthyr Mawr Warren, Pwll-y-Waun (Porthcawl) and Cardiff Bay.

Other Sites: Two Scaup were on Kenfig Pool, with an Eider and a Great Northern Diver off nearby Sker. Stormy weather saw the arrival of Little Gulls at Kenfig (two), Ogmore rivermouth (two), Aberthaw and Cardiff Bay. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were observed at Ogmore Estuary. A Short-eared Owl was at Heol-y-Cyw. A Water Pipit was at Rumney Great Wharf. Black Redstarts were logged a Cardiff Bay (four), Barry waterfront, Aberthaw, Monknash and Southerndown. Ten Hawfinches called in at Cosmeston, with a single seen at Forest Ganol. Three Choughs were at Southerndown. 
Summary by Paul Roberts

April 2022

Highlights: A Glossy Ibis was found at Tirfounder, Aberdare (26th). Both Bonaparte’s Gull (23rd) and Caspian Gull (5th) were located at Cardiff Bay. A Hooded Crow at Kenfig (20th) was typical in our area in both its arrival date and short stay. Two female Ring-necked Ducks lingered at Lisvane Reservoir, with one of them visiting Cosmeston. A Hoopoe was reported from Ogmore-by-Sea. Garganey were noted from Roath Park Lake (two), Parc Tredelerch (two) and Kenfig (four), where a Siberian Chiffchaff was also noted. A presumed ‘Channel Wagtail’ was a brief visitor to Cardiff Bay (28th). 

Other Sites: A group of five Great White Egrets was observed in flight over Kenfig. Ospreys were logged at Cardiff Bay, Nant-moel Reservoir and Llywyn-on Reservoir (at least two here, including a bird ringed at Balgavies, Scotland). An early Hobby was seen over Bridgend (6th). Greenshanks were at Llanilid, Kenfig and Ogmore Estuary, where a migrant Little Ringed Plover was also seen. A Little Gull was at Cardiff Bay. Three Little Terns and an Arctic Skua passed Sker. A Water Pipit was at Ogmore Estuary early in the month. A Ring Ouzel was at Garth Hill. A Pied Flycatcher arrived at Cosmeston. The first Wood Warbler turned up at Pennsylvania Wood, Aberkenfig (17th).
Summary by Paul Roberts

Cosmeston

Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Reed Warbler still singing in the same locations at yesterday. Around 10 Swallows were over W lake for a while and a couple of Sand Martins. A Coot with 4 chicks on W lake. The Robin pix below feature a male attempting courtship feeding by offering a berry to a female who wouldn’t take the bait, and the adult Heron was standing on the main E lake boardwalk on a section that has been temporarily closed off while nearby works are taking place. By the same section of boardwalk was the lovely Water Vole.

Cosmeston

During a circuit this morning, a Lesser Whitethroat still singing in the snipe enclosure, and still refusing to show, c.10 Sand Martins and a couple of Swallows over the lakes, Common Whitethroat still on territory by the dipping pond, 1 poss 2 Reed Warblers singing in the E lake reeds, and a male Reed Bunting singing there. Leps of interest on Tuesday were Orange Tip and a Dingy Skipper [see photo], and a Large Red Damselfly. There were 3 active Coot nests that I could see. Some misc pix below.

Cosmeston

Nothing too exciting but 2 new birds for my year, albeit heard only – Lesser Whitethroat singing in brambles on the right about 200m past the dragonfly pond, and a Reed Warbler singing in the reeds by the main boardwalk. The pair of Gadwall were still present on W lake.

Cosmeston

Little & large from Cosmeston today. Quite like the soaring Buzzard as it’s looking sideways and you can see its face. The Wren was singing by the Mile Road. Also a non-avian pic – there are some nice patches of Cowslips dotted around the park. Obv pretty busy atm with many folk with kids heading for the play park. Plenty of people who cannot apparently read, feeding the swans etc whilst standng next to the many signs around the place alerting to the risk of avian flu and requesting people to NOT feed the wildfowl.

Various

Recent activity of interest that hasn’t appeared on here. Sand Martins are inspecting the holes in the wall of the old Channel Dry Dock [past N end of the Cardiff Bay barrage], a male Pied Flycatcher turned up at Cosmeston on Tues 12th, then back to the Bay, a Common Tern yesterday [apparently still present this morning] together with a male Wheatear on the outer Barrage rocks and a White Wagtail.

Craig Cerrig Gleisiad

A small group of us were on a Glamorgan Bird Club trip to Craig Cerrig Gleisiad [above the A470 N of Storey Arms] this morning, and after some patient scanning of the crags, eventually saw a couple of male Ring Ouzels, which obligingly sang for us. We thought there were perhaps 3 or even 4 birds due to the calls heard, but only 2 were seen. Couple of silly shots below to give some idea of how far away they were [‘scopes essential]. The one shown was right on the top of the ridge as can be seen. Also seen in flight there, 2 Peregrines, a few Red Kite, and in the nearby wood by the youth hostel some common woodland birds but Pied Flys, Redstart etc not yet arrived.
Click here for the complete list [from my own database so apologies if I’ve missed any – John W].

Cosmeston

Interesting observation at Cosmeston, W lake this morning. A pretty aggressive fight between Great Crested Grebes. A pair had been displaying [see pic] and there was another pair present, one of which was tucked in close by the central viewpoint on the Mile Road. The other one of that pair was out in the middle. There was a lot of vocalisation from all concerned and then one of the displaying pair came shooting in and had a real go at the tucked-in bird, wings flying etc etc, just like Coots do. I couldn’t get any decent shots of the fight as the overhanging brambles were in the way but in one pic you can see one bird coming in with its partner still visible further out, and the attacked bird just visible through the undergrowth.
Also of interest a pair of Gadwall still present on W lake, a pair of Little Grebes, Willow Warbler singing, loads of Blackcaps and a lingering sum plum Black-headed Gull.

AGM 2022 – 26th April

The 2022 GBC AGM will be held live at Pencoed Rugby Club starting at 7:30 p.m. Full details are in the embedded pdf notice below. The displayed page is scrollable or can be popped out into a new window with the popout button top right. In the popout view the pdf can be downloaded using the down arrow symbol top right. As always, the official business will be followed by one of Alan Rosney’s devilish birdy quizzes. There will also be refreshments.

As required by our constitution, those trustees being elected anew or re-elected are required to provide a brief biog. Those for this AGM can be viewed by clicking here.

As required, GBC Chair, Jean Haslam has prepared the trustee’s report for 01/01/2021 to 31/03/2022. Click here to view and download a copy.

Also as required, the accounts in pdf form are now available to view and download – please click these links: Income and Expenditure and Balance Sheet. NB it should be noted that the accounts are as yet, not audited.

Chew Valley Lake [Reservoir]

Yesterday, 27th Mar, 6 members and 2 guests enjoyed a great trip & day out at Chew Valley Lake south of Bristol. This huge lake has a number of viewing points, some public and the rest requiring permits from Bristol Water, which luckily, we were able to buy from a ranger at our first meeting point. Most birds were distant and required the use of ‘scopes, and the highlights were a 1st yr Little Gull, initally sitting amongst distant black-headeds but eventually giving some good flight views. Topping that were 6 Garganey including some smart drakes. Gulls were also represented by a fine breeding plumage Mediterranean Gull and an adult Great Black-back. A total of 7 species of gull wasn’t too bad! About 10-20 Fieldfare were still around, and just a single Great White Egret was seen in flight. We called in at the Barrow Gurney ‘tanks’ by the A38 and saw the very smart adult male Long-tailed Duck. Below is a record shot of one of the drake Garganeys. Click here for the full list of 55 species!.