Greater Cardiff Bay recently

Over the last few days, I’ve been repeating my survey of House Martin Nests around the Greater Cardiff Bay Area. The colony at Adventurer’s Quay has collapsed to just 3 nests, but my impression was that other sites seemed stable – I now need to analyse the data.

An intriguing sighting yesterday was of an Oystercatcher flying along vegetation on the South side of the Roath basin carrying what looked like food in its bill. Do they nest nearby?

Today I had a good, if brief, look at a Cettis W at the river edge behind Grangemoor Court. A Reed W was heard.

Peregrine over Fairwater!

I was so excited this afternoon as a Peregrine, first seen flying away, returned to spend some time patrolling and circling over my garden and neighbouring gardens and the school field. Luckily, I had binoculars to hand, and as it was pretty low I had excellent views against the clear blue sky; it was really well lit. If only I’d had a DSLR in the garden… but it’s one of my best garden ticks since I moved here in 1995.

Common Sandpiper in Canton, Cardiff!

At the end of a challenging Breeding Bird Survey visit to ST1576 (Victoria Park area – two sections of my transect are now gated and inaccessible) this morning, my very last bird was a Common Sandpiper – a major surprise and the only one I have ever seen in that square. The preparation works for the Wiggins Teape Ely Paper Mill site redevelopment have left a deep scrape about 225mx30m parallel to River Ely, which has filled with water.

I saw the bird fly across perhaps 100m from my end point (but in my square) and disappear behind some vegetation. I immediately thought it was CS, but slowly moved nearer till it reappeared on the muddy bank and I could see it well to confirm. By next year, this site will probably be housing, so I’ll probably will never see this bird on ST1576 again, unless by the Ely.

Aslo saw 1 sparrowhawk, 1 blackcap (gathering nesting material) and heard 1 chiffchaff. Other than that, the usual jackdaws, gulls, feral pigeons etc. Finches represented by only one goldfinch and one (heard) greenfinch, whereas there always used to be good numbers of each, plus chaffinches, wrens, dunnocks and robins, before their scrubby home was turned into a new school. Of course, the greenfinches have declined in general.

28 species in Fairwater Park, Cardiff (The Dell)

Headed up by a Kingfisher flying along the brook in brilliant sunshine, what a jewel. First I’ve seen here since 2006.

A Greenfinch calling was the first this year. They are now quite scarce in Fairwater – I only saw 2 in the Dell last year, none in 2013, 1 in 2012.

However, I am visiting more often now that I am retired, so the effort is not comparable.

Other than that a good selection of usual suspects, incl. Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, 30+ Redwings, GSW, Nuthatch etc etc

River Taff

Walked both sides between Radyr and Cardiff Centre. Basically – usual suspects, but on a  gloriously bright day, enjoyable.

Highlights were 5 Goosander (1 male south of Blackweir, 2M, 2F North of Western Avenue, and 1 redhead in the Melingriffith outlet). Also at least 125 redwing around Pontcanna riding stables,  2 dippers (1 S of Blackweir, 1 N of Llandaff Weir), grey wagtails, herons. I was told about a kingfisher which I had just missed, just S of Western Ave bridge.

Seemed to be fewer LTT than usual at this time of year on this stretch, but I’ll need to analyse records – I counted every bird of every species today!

Bedlinog area

Highlights from BBS visit on 18th (Good Friday): 2 red kites, 2 male redstarts, 2 wheatears, numerous singing warblers (willow, blackcap, chiff chaffs), skylarks seemed in relatively good numbers, 1 tree pipit, reed bunting in a new square, and curlew heard a couple of times, which is encouraging.