Cosmeston

Nothing terribly exciting in a quick walk round this morning. A nice patch of the 100’s of Pyramidal Orchids in E paddock, a Meadow Brown [1 of only two Butterflies seen, the other being a Speckled Wood], a posing Moorhen chick [one of 7] showing off its long toes, an adult Little Grebe creating a nice wake pattern on W lake, one of two Grey Herons that have been around for a couple of days, wing stretching on the fallen tree by E lake that is sometimes used as a perch by a Kingfisher, and an adult Carrion Crow feeding a juv in W paddock. Interesting to see that the adult’s nictitating memrane was across the eye during the act of feeding the youngster. This was the case in the other three shots I took.

Cosmeston

Slightly damp walk round this morning. Highlights – family group of Common Whitethroat in W paddock plus 5 Linnet, 1 Stock Dove and 1 imm Pied Wag, singles of Sand Martin and House Martin over W lake. In one small area of E paddock I counted 80 Pyramidal Orchids.

Parc Cwm Dare – Dare Valley CP 13 June 2021

Just myself, Alan Rosney, plus Adrian Webb, Mark Davies & Diane visited on what was going to be a hot day. We got there at 9:30 and birded {and butterflied etc} until about 1 p.m. then headed off home before it got too hot [and busy]. As it was, by the time we headed back down from the top view point both lakes had more human occupants than avian! Considering the time of year we did pretty well with 42 bird species logged. The lower lake had a nesting Coot, and a single Little Grebe stuck to the far margins and whinnied a couple of times. House Martins dropped in to drink, as did a couple of Swifts. Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Chaffinch sang as we walked up by the stream. The the first viewing ‘platform’ area we lucked out and got good viewds of a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary [Alan’s target for the day -pix below] and we also briefly saw a Dark Green Frit but it didn’t settle. Whilst snacking in the shade at the top viewpoint we had some close fly-by Siskins and in the trees below by the stream was a male Redstart. A Kestrel chased a Buzzard along the ridge, and on the walk back we got on to a singing Garden Warbler which gave reasonable views as it flitted about in the top of a tree. Click here to see the full list pdf.

Field trip this w/e to Dare Valley CP

A bit short notice for which apologies. Most people have been alerted via the email group and on FB. We have a field trip to Parc Cwm Dare aka Dare Valley CP this coming Sunday, 13th June. As per current arrangements please email me, John Wilson, if you want to attend. Full details about the current field trip arrangements are on the Field Trips page of this site – click here. Plan is to meet in the car park at 9:30 a.m. Parking is free. Bring a packed lunch.

Llanwonno – Tues 8th June

A very successful evening trip to the Llanwonno forestry above Pontypridd, saw 11 participants delight in the performance of up to 7 Nightjars. Despite the midges we had excellent flight views of 4 birds, including a male that few right over our heads and perched up for a few seconds, and a female, then later a pair flying together. Others were seen and heard more distantly, and as we walked back to the cars, my torch and that of John Duffy caught the ‘eye glow’ of a churring bird not far off the road. Tree Pipits were singing and showing well and at least two Grasshopper Warblers were heard [not by me!], plus a Common Whitethroat and several Willow Warblers. A fly-by Cuckoo added to the show plus a few fly-over Lesser Redpolls.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

We walked across the Barrage in pretty hot sunshine but a cool breeze occasionally. At the locks end of the barrage I found 3 Grey Wagtails on the outer barrage rocks, at least one of which was a juvenile. By the maintenance yard at the other end, there were 2 Ravens resting and I took some images of them interacting – I think one [on the right in the photos] was a juv and the adult was seemingly ‘grooming’ it [known as allopreening when it involves a pair]. The usual Sand Martins were busy in the old dock where they nest in holes in the dock walls. We had a coffee in the Lookout cafe and then Anne & I made our back back. During the walk back I had a Rock Pipit on the outer barrage and there were 50 or more Swift distantly over the swimming pool. Just by the inner barrage near the waterbus stop were two large fish [Grayling?]. At Penarth Marina, there was plenty of House Martin activity but it seems that some residents are trying to deter them from nesting under the eaves by hanging glitzy strands of tinsel-like ribbons from their upper window frames, so they blow around and ‘flash’ in the breeze.

May 2021

Highlights: A female Black-headed Wagtail was an excellent find at Cardiff Bay (14th), where two Bonaparte’s Gulls remained at the start of the month. A Turtle Dove was briefly at Merthyr Mawr Warren (11th). A Hooded Crow was reported from Cowbridge (6th). A drake Garganey called in at Hamadryad Park, Cardiff Bay (2nd). A Great White Egret visited Llanilid (30th), with a Little Stint at a nearby private site (31st). Seawatching obserations from Lavernock included seven Pomarine Skuas (9th), 10 Black Terns (9th), eight Arctic Skuas (3rd), eight Great Northern Divers (21st) and maximum eight Storm Petrels. Porthcawl also recorded Pomarine Skua (3rd), along with two Arctic Skuas and up to eight Storm Petrels. Two Arctic Terns graced Cardiff Bay. A Short-eared Owl was seen at Kenfig. A Hobby was at Monknash. A Nightjar was a surprise arrival to a Splott garden, roosting on a fence.
Summary by Paul Roberts

Lavernock

An adult Rosy Starling was found at Lavernock late this afternoon and showed until about 6:45 p.m. It was with a small flock [c.12] of Common Starlings in the big coastal field north of the Church and the two big houses. This large field has quite a few nesting Skylarks so do not walk across it – just walk around the periphery – it’s a big field but this must be stuck to.

Cardiff Bay

An Arctic Tern has been feeding in Cardiff Bay today. First seen at around 8:30 this morning by Peter Howlett on his regular round of the Bay, I wasn’t able to go until early afternoon. I set my scope up by Plas Taliesin by Penarth Marina and after some scanning soon picked it up flying back & forth more or less mid bay, looking towards the Taff road bridge. It continued to fly back & forth in that general area all the time and was still present when I left at 2:30. The House Martins from the nests in the Penarth Marina apartment complex were very busy feeding over the water. On my way back I came across the smart male Grey Wagtail below on the concrete wall at the opening of the entrance into the Penarth Marina locks. When it few off it was joined by another.

Cosmeston

There was 1, poss 2 Spotted Flycatchers present this morning, in the edge of Cogan Wood about 75m beyond the dragonfly pond. I had 1 in open view for about 10 secs, then it moved back into a leafy tree, and appeared to be chased by another, then both birds disappeared further into the trees. I’d tried checking on the path just inside the wood but couldn’t relocate. A Green Woodpecker was in a tree just down from the pond and a few Swift were feeding overhead. A couple of Buzzards were thermalling.

Dinas RSPB reserve, mid Wales

Yesterday, 22nd May we had our first proper field trip since Covid restrictions were eased, although we stuck to our limit of 10 participants for the time being. Despite an unexpected wet start, we enjoyed good views of Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Wood Warbler and Tree Pipit in the oak woods, plus plenty of common woodland species. A Garden Warbler also gave good views near the car park. Alan Rosney has the foresight to bring some seed to ‘bait’ the feeding log by the car park and we had superb views of a male Yellowhammer and a Marsh Tit dashed in and out too, plus a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. In total we saw 40 species. The Afon Tywi was impressive and, incredibly for the time of year, was in full spate. Clear of the woods we saw several Red Kite, a couple of Buzzards and a Kestrel over the nearby ridge. Photos clockwise – Pied Fly, Common Redstart, Tree Pipit, Yellowhammer, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Warbler, Pied Fly. The Pied Flycatchers and Wood Warbler were nowhere as near as the images would suggest. The full trip list can be seen by clicking here.

Cosmeston

This morning, cuteness x 6! We think the nest was one right near the cafe. Reed Warblers are still singing in both reed beds, Cetti’s Warbler was shouting somewhere near the cafe, Grey Heron far side of W lake and the Lesser Black-back was yelling whilst we had our coffee under the trees in the car park. Two Swift flew over whilst we sat there.

Cosmeston 17th May

During a pause in the rain I was walking along the main boardwalk, on the ‘T’ by the cafe, when I noticed a couple of birds chasing each other in the reeds, one suddenly perching up on a reed stem – a Reed Warbler. The first time one has shown decently since they first arrived, despite having been singing well for the last 2 weeks. I just had time to grab a couple of shots before it disappeared back down into the base of the reeds.

Cosmeston

Lots and lots of Blackcaps singing today, the pictured one high in a tree. The Wren was singing in the reeds by the dipping pond, and the Cormorant was drying its wings by E lake. In a dense clump of bushes and trees 100m past the dragonfly pond, I’m pretty confident I had a singing Reed Warbler which is a bit unexpected considering how far it is away from suitable breeding habitat there. Here’s a link to a short vid on youtube – no bird, but the song coming from the bushes! … https://youtu.be/yoZBTwJmqfg There were some nice twisted branches in Cogan Wood which I took a nice image of but the B&W high contrast version works pretty well.

Bryngarw CP – 9th May

Decided on a change of scenery and drove to Bryngarw Country Park on a very dull day. It was a very pleasant circular walk, initially alongside the R. Garw, which was a raging torrent. A Dipper was resting obligingly close on a mossy tree that had fallen across the river and a Grey Wagtail showed briefly in the same area. An active Goldcrest had moss in its bill and looked as tho’ it was buiilding a nest behind some Ivy on a tree. There was plenty of common birdsong including many Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Wood Anemones and Greater Stitchwort were in flower. Whilst having a coffee outside the cafe, we were entertained by a tame Nuthatch, which had a nest in a hole in a nearby tree.

Cosmeston

Pretty quiet bird-wise this morning although plenty of common birdsong – Wrens, Robins, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Warbler. A pair of Mute Swans with a nest on W lake, Coots and Moorhens with young and a Moorhen sitting at the dipping pond [photo]. There were 5 Great Crested Grebes but the only nest I was aware of seems to have flooded out – not unusual. The insect is a nomad Bee [one of three species which are v difficult to ID from a photo apparently].

AGM 2021 -a summary

The 2021 AGM took place on 27th April and was attended via Zoom by 27 participants for which we are very grateful. It was followed by an excellent and enjoyable quiz devised by Alan Rosney. Thanks Alan! Minutes have been compiled by reference to the recording made of the meeting and can be seen, together with the accounts, on the GBC documents page on this site – click here to go there, and scroll down to the bottom. The minutes contain verbatim, our Chairperson’s [Jean Haslam] Trustees report.

April 2021

Highlights: A 1st-winter Bonaparte’s Gull, which had previously been at Cardiff Bay in February, returned after a sojourn over the border in Gloucestersire and was then joined by an adult bird, with both subsequently remaining until the month end. A Ring-necked Duck was still frequenting Lisvane Reservoir. Two Turtle Doves were reported from Nash Point (27th). A Great Grey Shrike as found in the forestry near Craig y Llyn, Hirwaun (11th-12th). A Woodlark was briefly at Lavernock (11th). An Avocet was present at the mouth of the Rhymney River (3rd). A Russian White-fronted Goose remained at Kenfig until mid-month. A Great Northern Diver was off Sker. Ospreys were recorded at Llwyn-onn Reservoir and Kenfig, where the first Hobby was also seen (14th). A particularly good passage of Bar-tailed Godwits was enjoyed, with several hundred noted along the coast between Ogmore and Kenfig, along with 100+ past Lavernock. Greenshanks passed through at Ogmore Estuary, Llanilid and Parc Slip. A Green Sandpiper at Kenfig was an unusual spring sighting there. A good count of 24 Purple Sandpipers was made at Porthcawl. Four Arctic Skuas were logged off Sker, with a single from Lavernock. A noteworthy arrival of 12 Little Gulls occurred at Cardiff Bay (24th). Several Arctic Terns called in at Sker. A Black Redstart was at Llantrisant. An early Whinchat was at Cwm Cadlan (3rd). Ring Ouzels visited Dare Valley Country Park, Cog Moors WwTW and Cosmeston. A Wood Warbler stopped off at Kenfig. Migrant Pied Flycatchers graced Pant Norton, Llanilid and Groeswen (Caerphilly). Four or five Hawfinches were seen at St Fagans. Two Bramblings visited a garden feeding station in Southerndown.
Summary by Paul Roberts

Cosmeston

Interesting brief encounter this morning. Whilst walking past the snipe paddock towards the dragonfly pond a bird suddenly appeared flying across the open area and settled briefly in a tree by the sipe paddock, then flew off again – a Hawfinch! A small wintering group had been present up to at least 18th Mar, but a record in May is interesting. I couldn’t relocate it. All three hirundines were over the lakes in the steadily increasing wind.