Heol y Cyw

Garden observations from the weekend. Friday 22nd heard first Cuckoo moving through the woodland. Didn’t stay and moved quickly northward towards higher ground. Also saw first Swallows over the garden (pair) but they also moved on after a short spell of hawking around.

Plenty of singing birds daily including Chiffchaff and Blackcap with more distant Willow Warbler in next field over. Observed mating Woodpigeons, Collared Doves and Green Woodpeckers. Mistle Thrush, Goldfinches and Bullfinches also appeared paired up. Young Robin seen with parent and empty egg found on ground that looks like Song Thrush.

Flyover by two Greylag Geese was unusual sighting for the garden.

Heol y Cyw


Just had 5 red kites over the garden. Daily bird but more often as a single or pair. Haven’t seen 5 together in this location for some time. Accompanied by a buzzard and a sparrowhawk passed through for good measure. 15 minute raptor-fest.

Also had a pheasant in the garden for the first time in a couple of years (male).

Feeders are getting busier again – blue, great, coal tits. Long tailed tit party feeding in willows but not using feeders. Several nuthatch and a great spotted woodpecker.

House sparrows and chaffinches ground feeding with robins, blackbirds and dunnocks.

Both grey wagtail and pied wagtail present.

More jays appearing now. Pair raven over daily, carrion crows, jackdaws, magpies.

Woodpigeons also building in numbers and collared dove pair resident.

Mistle thrushes reappearing, particularly late afternoon/early evening, song thrush.

Heol y Cyw

Catch up post from a few of days ago.

Used to having resident Mistle Thrush in the garden here but hadn’t been noticeable for a little while so Mistle Thrush calls overhead caught my attention around 4:30. Was surprised to see a huge group – I would say between 80 and 100 heading north south from the higher ground, just before the really hot weather set in.

Heol y Cyw

Garden observations from last week.

Really pleased to have greenfinch back in the garden – not had any since 2016. Also seen return of pheasant in our woodland area after several years’ absence.

Was treated to a Spotted Flycatcher, doing what it says it does, early evening on the 1st June but not seen again.

Pair of swallows arrived pretty late and nest building in barn. Had a few groups of swift over and also a few house martins but not seen every day.

Daily garden list usually has a singular herring gull but have had much larger groups circling pasture land and adjacent fields over the last couple of weeks – up to 60 on one occasion. Not sure what has brought them in?

Cuckoo calling from woodland for a couple of consecutive evenings before, presumably moving on.

Good take up of nest boxes by great tit in particular plus blue tits. Young birds include mistle thrush, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker, robin and chaffinch.

Daily pair of raven overhead, regular singular red kite, several buzzards and occasional Sparrowhawk.

Other birds seen pretty much daily include, blue, great and coal tits (no long-tailed for a while), sparrow, dunnock, robin, blackbird, song thrush, bullfinch, goldfinch, blackcap, carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, woodpigeon, collared dove, green woodpecker, pied wagtail, occasional grey wagtail and regular tawny owl.

Heol y Cyw

Was pleased to see first swallow of year over the garden today.

Had singing blackcaps in garden since the 1st April following first garden chiffchaff earlier in the week.

Nesting mistle thrush have been fending off groups of magpies.

Nest boxes being used by blue tits, great tits and sparrows.

Heol y Cyw

A few observations from my ‘working from home desk’ this morning.

Treated to a goldcrest hovering the other side of the window like a humming bird whilst picking insects from under the eaves – fantastic to see but no camera to hand!

Another first was a pair of mating chaffinch . See chaffinches everyday but have never witnessed them actually mating before – Spring is in the air.

Otherwise, a really splendid looking male bullfinch, treecreeper, 2 nuthatch, lesser spotted woodpecker, grey wagtail checking out the pond, great, blue and coal tits, several robins and blackbirds, dunnock, house sparrow, wren, magpies, song thrush and a resident mistle thrush. Not easy getting any work done!

On the weekend, usual buzzards (up to 4), pair raven, single red kite and sparrowhawk, but also a peregrine. Still awaiting garden chiffchaff and other migrants such as blackcap and swallows. Carrion crows are still carrying lots of nesting material and have a woodpigeon on a nest in a conifer. Redwings may have departed.

Heol y Cyw

Red kite over the garden at last. First one of the year just makes the January garden list. (I’m counting flyovers for my own list)

Had first ravens over yesterday – x2 and first garden sighting of a bullfinch for the year (female). Garden list at 32 for year. Can’t wait for the warblers to return.

Redwings seem to be acting differently – maybe about to head off? Odd small groups of 3 or 4 in the garden apart from larger flock of 20+ moving around surrounding fields.

Heol Y Cyw

The buzzard first seen associating with our garden feeders a week or so ago is now a regular visitor and providing interesting observations. Whereas a Sparrowhawk appearance completely disperses the smaller birds (principally tits) they stick around and appear to mob the buzzard when it perches in the trees around the feeders. It does not seem interested in the small birds but has made visiting the feeder area and telegraph pole outside the front door part of a daily routine. We have a rural garden rather than urban, surrounded by pasture land and trees.

Heol Y Cyw

Noticeable ramping up of birdsong in the garden over the last few days is great to hear. Song thrush now vocal and not just visible. Great tits have started to sing, as have a few blue tits and the robins never seemed to stop.

35 redwing ground feeding in the paddock yesterday. The flock has been moving around the surrounding fields for a while now and occasionally holds a couple of fieldfare.

Garden list for 2021 stuck at 28 for a while now and yet to see Red Kite or Raven which are daily birds throughout much of the year. Assume they are sticking to the higher ground further north at the moment.

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Nice to have some sunshine yesterday. I was really surprised to see a bat hawking around the garden in bright sunshine at 1.30pm. Watched it for about 20 minutes. Used to seeing them around the house and garden at dusk but can’t remember watching one in the middle of the day before. Pretty impossible to capture on camera given speed of movement but blurry crop below under excuse of record shot. Seems bizarre against a blue sky.

Aside from the bat, red kite, 3 buzzard, raven, carrion crow jackdaw, magpie, jay, 20 redwing ground feeding in paddock with green woodpecker, blackbirds and goldfinch, bullfinch, robin, dunnock, wren, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, treecreeper, 2 goldcrest, grey wagtail, house sparrow, herring gull

Heol y Cyw

Pleased to see young bullfinch with female parent in garden. Had pair of bullfinch present for last 4 years but this is first young I have seen.

The three young great spotted woodpeckers seem to have dispersed (hopefully nothing more sinister) after being ever present. Young green woodpecker(s) daily as are at least two nuthatch. Feeders are busy with tits – up to 5 each of long tailed, great and blue tit and 2 regular coal tit together. Goldcrest and treecreeper showing occasionally but pretty secretive.

The large groups of mistle thrush seem to have moved on with singles seen occasionally as are song thrush.

Up to three buzzard together with single red kite and two raven are regular (likely daily if I spent more time in the garden – thankfully the raven are always vocal). Plenty of jackdaw, carrion crow, magpies and still have a couple of jays present. Suspect sparrowhawk could be daily but I spot one once or twice a week.

Average of around 15 species daily either in or over the garden which climbs into the 20’s if I spend a bit more time observing. Had 26 on 7th August. A bit less rain would be nice.

Heol y Cyw

24 mistle thrush feeding in field next to garden this evening either side of 8.00pm.  Hadn’t been out to watch the adjacent field for a while due to poor weather but lovely sunny evening tonight at last. Began watching at 7.45 when 2 separate groups of 5 mistle thrush were ground feeding in the field. More and more arrived, all coming from the next fields to the south until by 8.00pm, there were an amazing 24 birds. The behaviour seems common to all of them in sweeping the grassland from south to north, almost in a single flock whilst sub-groups of around 5 birds seem apparent. I will take a look at same time tomorrow.

Also in the same field, 2 spotted flycatchers (amongst trees along boundary fence), single song thrush, blackbird and robin. The field is around 5 acres of rough pasture with marshy areas of reed and grazed by sheep. Seems to have become a hot spot for mistle thrush in an evening.

Heol y Cyw


Mistle Thrush numbers now at 14, either around the garden or in the field next door. Usually appear early evening and squabble with the resident Magpies.

Lots of action around the feeders with plenty of young across several species. 4 juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers with adults. 3 juvenile Nuthatch with adults. Other family groups include Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird. Wren have used old swallow nest in garage and had 3 young. Sizeable House Sparrow colony. Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove present with young.

Quieter for birdsong now – Blackcaps quiet but Chiffchaffs still going strong along with Song Thrushes. Haven’t heard Cuckoo in woods below house for a few weeks now.

Pied Wagtail daily and Grey Wagtail regular. Bullfinch pair still present but no sign of any young. Similar with Jays (who have bred the last two years)

Regular raptors over include up to 4 Common Buzzard at a time, Red Kite (usually singular), Sparrowhawk, Kestrel.

Carrion Crow and Jackdaw using garden whilst Raven (usually 2) staying high overhead.

Lockdown has been great to focus on what is immediately outside and better understand the dynamics between species and the timing of everything.