V brief visit this a.m. Saw just 2 Fieldfare in W paddock with a few Redwing. 6 Pochard on W lake and 3 Teal and the usual mass of Tufties.
This afternoon at the wetland reserve boardwalk the female Ring-necked Duck was on show, although a scope was needed as it was about halfway along the stretch of water. Also the 2ndW Caspian Gull found yesterday by Gareth Stamp, was out in the bay [scope definitely needed!]. Fortunately Gareth turned up and got me on to it – pure snowy white head and long parallel-sided bill and some grey on the upper parts. Couple of noisy images below [the light was fading] to give some idea. The second image is cropped from the first and post processed a fair bit!
A heads up re an upcoming trip on Saturday week, 27th Nov to Newton Point near Trecco Bay. I am away that weekend so Alan Rosney has kindly agreed to lead for me. Please let him know if you are coming – email@example.comThe start time will be 10 a.m. with high tide being at approx 11:34. The meet point is in Beach Road, Newton just outside, or in the Newton Beach car park – the car park address is 39 Beach Rd, Porthcawl CF36 5NH. This is a pay & display car park but we understand that the double yellow lines on Beach Road just outside, are not ‘active’ between October and May, so if there is room it is possible to park tidily there. It is about a 5 min walk from this location to Newton Point. If folk look at Google Maps there is a car park at the end of the road indicated as Trecco Bay Beach free car park, but a regular birder at this location says that this car park is randomly closed. This link shd give you a Google Maps page with the car park area showing:https://goo.gl/maps/S8BSA1TDWSCW8LY36 Beach Road runs past adjacent on your left to the church and graveyard in Newton. From the main road [Bridgend Road] take Clevis Crescent which then becomes Clevis Hill [quite narrow]. When the village green appears ahead take thed road visible ahead between the two trees. This is Beach Road. Have a good day. JDW
Nothing too notable but those worth noting all began with ‘b’ – Blackcap (f), Bullfinch (m), Buzzard, oh and Blackbird!
Also a few Redwing by the lower Dovecote field by Sully Brook and there were 10 Moorhens out of the water foraging by the Swan area. John Wilson
Yesterday evening, 23 participants enjoyed an excellent talk via Zoom, by Naturetrek leader Tom Mabbett. It centered on his favourite locations in the UK, entitled “The best of Britain, Ardnamurchan to The Forest of Dean”. In fact it covered those two locations plus Spurn in E. Yorkshire, the Somerset Levels and a couple of locations in his local patch near Cheltenham. An interesting presentation by an clearly enthusiastic naturalist. Thanks to all who ‘attended’.
Many folk will have heard of Naturetrek, a UK based natural history tour company. During the peak Covid period they set up free online virtual tours to some of their destinations and also have a number of free online talks scheduled, which folk might find interesting. There are links to these below. The talk yesterday was one of another set of talks which are given for free, to suitable organisations or groups such as ours, by some of their leaders. Also of interest is the forest reserve set up in Ecuador using money from their carbon offset donations that are allocated for every individual making a trip with them. Rather like our own carbon offset collections for our trips except we won’t be creating an Ecuadorian rain forest!
Free online talks to sign up for: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/news/naturetrek-online-winter-roadshow
Free virtual tours: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/tour-focus/virtual-tours
The carbon offeset nature reserve in Ecuador: https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/about-us/the-naturetrek-reserve
A tad late (been doing other stuff). Cosmeston a.m. – 2 Raven over W paddock, Water Rail squealing in the snipe enclosure, 37 Tufties & pr Gadwall W lake, 20 more Tufties E lake and 1 eclipse Shoveler, and 1 Grey Wag on path nr bird table. There were 5 Pochard on W lake y’day.
A group of 12 participants on a GBC outing spent 4 hours visiting 3 sites in Cardiff Bay – the boardwalk by the Ice Rink, the wetland reserve, and then the Penarth Marina area and the south end of the barrage. At the Ice Rink boardwalk we had excellent views of 5 Goosander, which comprised 3 adult males an adult female and an immature male in a plumaghe most of us had not seen before. A large raft of Tufted Ducks was up towards the yacht club but despite a lot of scanning we couldn’t find the recent Ring-necked Duck, and there were plenty of Great Crested Grebes on show. A Grey Wagtail flew in and a Kestrel was hovering nearby. At the Wetland Reserve we added several Little Grebes, and heard Cetti’s Warbler and Water Rail. Four of us then went round to the Penarth Marina area and walked to the south end of the Barrage. A single Turnstone was along the R. Ely embankment by the marina, and 2 adult Common Gulls were on the orange buoys by the inner barrage sluices – a regualr spot for them but in much reduced numbers in recent winters. A total of 36 species were logged. Below are the Goosanders, left to right: imm male, adult female and adult male. Click each for a full size image. Click here for the full list.
Did my WeBS count this morning on a very high tide – most of Green Point was under water. Main counts were c200 Dunlin and a big roosting flock of c2500 Redshank. The only other waders were 11 Oystercatcher. Pintail numbers were low, with just 24 present with 45 Mallard, and surprisingly just a couple of Shelduck that I could see. There were about 30 Shoveler and a few Teal. A flock of 50 Fieldfare flew over the Lamby landfill, 6 Canada Geese flew in and there were single Kestrel and Buzzard.
The hightlight tho’ was a large lump noted in the water offshore as I scanned for Shelduck, which turned into a very large bull Seal.! It dived and surfaced a few times and lazed with its head pointing skywards but then after another dive it disappeared and I could not relocate it.
A few Redwing around, some in trees by the bird table and others in trees just beyond the dragonfly pond. A Mistle Thrush and 2 Green Woodpeckers were in W paddock. On W lake there were 24 Tufted Duck sticking v close together with a flotilla of Coot, and there was a pair of Gadwall, all very distant. Whilst I was on the Mile Road and flock of 10 Skylark flew over, calling and quite low, and at the exit of W paddock near the Mile Road there were 2 Goldcrest that avoided being photographed!
Nothing has been posted here but on Saturday a very large falcon sp was spotted near Morrisons by Mathew Meehan. It settled on the Watermark block of apartments and was thought to be an imm Gyr Falcon. It appeared to have no jesses or bells but its provenance is open to discussion. It was found in the adfternoon and seen until fairly late. It was reported again today up until 1 p.m. in the same location at the top LH corner of the apartments where there’s a canopy supported by grey griders. I went at 3:15 but it had not reappeared by 4:45.
Walking in E paddock I noticed 2 flocks of Woodpigeon flying west, each one comprising about 250 birds. There were 2 Green Woodpeckers seen in flight, one of which landed then uttered a very loud cacophony of yaffling as a male Sparrowhawk flew in and landed in a nearby tree for a short while. It [the Sprawk] flew off and as it flew another male appeared and flew in the same direction!
Kenfig: A Hoopoe which was discovered in September at Sker made a brief reappearance there (1st), with seven Cattle Egrets and 161 Jays noted flying through on the same day at the Pool. Two Whooper Swans dropped in, but were soon chased off by the resident Mutes (25th). A Woodlark was seen in flight only (15th). Further sightings in the area included Bittern, Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Jack Snipe, Short-eared Owl and a late Garden Warbler (16th).
Other Sites: A Ring-necked Duck remained at Cardiff Bay, but also briefly visited Cosmeston. A Spoonbill was observed over the Thaw Valley, headed for Aberthaw (9th), with five later the same morning flying north-west over the latter site (9th). A juvenile Gyr Falcon of unknown origin at Cardiff Bay was an intriguing record (30th). The first Water Pipit of the autumn turned up at Ogmore Estuary (31st). Visible migration watches at Lavernock reaped two Woodlarks (10th), while on the 26th, Hawfinch, 20 Bramblings and 11, 500 Redwings moved through. Ospreys graced Nash Point (1st), Dunraven (8th) and Ogmore Estuary (17th – 23nd). A Hen Harrier flew east at Ogmore Estuary (25th), while Marsh Harriers were recorded at Merthyr Mawr Warren, Flemingston Moor and Kenfig. Merlins were logged at a minimum of seven locations. A Hobby was seen flying out to sea at Southerndown. Three Green Sandpipers were at Llanilid. An Arctic Skua passed Lavernock. Black Redstarts were at Aberthaw and Cardiff Bay Barrage, both regular sites for the species. A Firecrest was at Norton, Ogmore. A remarkable 300 Jays coasted west at Dunraven (6th). Up to four Choughs were at Irongate Point and Lock’s Common in Porthcawl, most likely visitors from the Vale of Glamorgan population.
A liitle after the event as I was not able to attend and have been away wth no WiFi internet. Alan Rosney lead the trip with limited numbers due to restrictions rightly imposed by the Obs staff. Sounds like it was very successful with 92 species seen in the 3 days. The total list includes birds seen in a visit to Steart Marshes in Somerset, I guessing on the way home. The full list can be seen by clicking here. Scanning though it, highlights in order from the list have to be Red-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Glossy Ibis, Commomn Scoter, Marsh and Hen Harriers, Little Stint, Jack Snipe, Caspian Gull, Short-eared Owl, Woodlark, and Common Rosefinch. The list is helpful in that it indicates where each species was seen. Thanks for Alan for compiling it.
During heavy rain this morning I saw a couple of Redwing burst out of a tree by the dragonfly pond, circle a few times and then dive into cover in the edge of Cogan Wood.
Pretty quiet at the moment. W lake has 30-40 Tufted Ducks and there were cl00 Canada Geese on E lake. GC Grebes are now more or less in drab winter garb, and the Little Grebes are going that way too. The latter are usually pretty distant out in the lakes but I managed a few shots of an obliging one right by the main bridge this morning, which caught a fish. No sign of any Redwings yet although I have been looing for them – there are plenty of berries. By the dipping pond area a Grey Wagtail flew over calling a couople of times and looked as tho’ it dropped down to W lake. I’ve stuck in a pic of a juv gull that looked a bit odd – prob just a juv LBBG but I have sought opinions on social media.
Morning: Merlin just whizzed over E lake (12.30). 200 Woodpigeon flew W. C.40 Tufties, 6 Mistle Thr by dragonfly pond, several Swallow over E lake.
Decided to walk across the barrage & back for a change. Grey Wag, 1 Pied Wags, 2 Rock Pipits were about it. On return some B-h Gulls and a whole lot of feral Pigeons suddenly took off in panic. A Merlin shot over from the Cardiff direction and headed off over Penarth head.
East Paddock had a flock of around 200 Goldfinch this morning, feeding on the ground near the gate and then feeding in Alders along the ditch. In W paddock I had a couple of fly-over calling Skylarks. Back at the cafe, sitting out the back with a coffee, a Cetti’s Warbler was calling on and off for about 10 minutes and I eventually had a great view but only briefly and too quick for a photo. It flew from a bush by the main boardwalk right past me and into the reeds.
Nice GBC trip down Cwm Nash this morning and up on to the west clifftop fields. Quite close and warmer than expected so yours truly got a bit overheated with too many layers!. 9 of us collectively saw 39 species. The wooded section of the Cwm was very quiet and only revealed a Goldcrest on the way back up. In the open valley at the bottom there were a few Chiffchaffs feeding, and several Blackcaps, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, 3 Bullfinches, Goldfinch and a pair of Stonechat and a few other common species. At the shore there were 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Rock Pipits and a Grey Wagtail and a bunch of Herring Gulls, a Black-headed and an adult Great Black-back. A nice find was a busy colony of Ivy Mining Bees by the path leading up the west side away from the stream. Most of us tackled the steep climb up to the west clifftop where we had a couple of Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Buzzard and a lucky few had a couple of Chough. Nothing rare but a nice morning out. John Wilson. Thanks to Alan Rosney for keeping the list., which is here.
Yesterday morning in the rain there were small numbers of all three hirundines feeding low over W lake [House & Sand Martins and Swallow]. There were a couple of flocks of c.30 Goldfinch, 1 in E paddock and 1 in W paddock. There were a surprising 10 Moorhens around the duck feeding area – Moo0rhens are not usually that visible in the park.
This morning, Sand Martins were still feeding over W lake and there was a light passage of Swallows. Just beyond the snipe enclosure in W paddock there was a pair of Stonechats.