Not much birding today but 5, poss 7 Tufted Duck on E lake was a sure sign of early autumn. Of most interest was a large number of Autumn Lady’s Tresses orchids [40+] in and adjacent to E paddock. A Lesser Emperor dragonfly was at the N end of W lake but I did not check for that but it was seen.

Sully and Barry

Local coastal sites this morning over high tide:

Cadoxton Rivermouth – Wheatear, Whimbrel, Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 7 Oystercatcher, Rock Pipit

Barry Old Harbour – Wheatear, 2 adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Whimbrel

Sully Island – 24 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 58 Oystercatcher, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 7 Turnstone, Grey Heron


6th Aug: 4 Common Whitethroat in bushes in the snipe paddock, 30 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch, and 3 Greenfinch in W paddock area, and 2 adult Little Grebes with the 1 small chick on W lake
7th Aug: 1 juv Common Whitethroat in bush by the Mile Road kissing gate into W paddock.

Boverton etc.

Tuesday morning 4th August Green Woodpecker flying North over M4 1 mile south of McArthur Glen.

This morning, over garden, 3 Buzzards and 2 Ravens uneasily sharing a thermal. Then, 2 short bursts of a Green Woodpecker calling and a GS Woodpecker on a nearby dead tree.

This afternoon on a cycle ride saw another Green Woodpecker flying near Llanfihangel and then, a mile north of Llanmaes, a Polecat ran across the road in front of me


A fem Blackcap was feeding on Elder Berries at the far end of W paddock this a.m., and 2 Common Whitethroat were there also. 2 Green Woodpeckers present [1 E paddock, 1 W paddock], and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was on a treetop near the dragonfly pond. 30 noisy Swallows flew over the lower dovecote field, heading towards the coast.


An immature Common Redstart was in bushes 50m beyond the dragonfly pond this morning. Calling incessantly and pretty shy but it did show at a distance and flew a short way. My first this year! Pic below cropped as much as poss.


There was a fem Wheatear in E paddock this morning which then flushed and flew over the trees towards W paddock. The Little Grebe pair have at last got a chick on view – a single adult with a small chick was on W lake.

Cosmeston mid – late a.m.

Already getting very crowded around the car park and E lake area by mid morning. There were 6 Goldfinch twittering near the still inaccessible dipping pond [boardwalk access still closed off], 6 Linnet in W paddock and another Goldfinch there, a pair of Bullfinch flushed a little beyond the dragonfly pond, a few Swallows around the Medieval Village, 6 Swift over the car park.

Sand Martin colonies

Working in Abercynon this morning it was great to see dozens of Sand Martins using as nests the weep holes in the stone retaining wall of Abercynon railway station. Some were no more than 6ft high from the pavement. I’ve seen similar use of weep holes in Pontypridd and Porth, whilst in Pontygwaith their using holes in a wall right next to a busy road.

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.


Quick visit to Llanwonno yesterday eve – just 1 Nightjar heard churring but no flights seen. Midges were vicious!
Cosmeston this morning – 1 juv male Blackcap, 1 juv Common Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Green Peckers and a few Swallows passing through.
This afternoon in Penarth – House Martins visiting 3 nests on Barclays Bank building.

Southerndown – owls

Spotted a little owl on a wall at 5 in the afternoon opposite the three golden cups pub. I suspect it is probably lives in the barn close by. I’m hoping that it doesn’t decide to make use of the abundant cattle water troughs as I have found deceased barn owls who have made use of these troughs on more than one occasion this year (both in the same trough!) nearby another occupied barn in Southerndown. I’ve read that it is quite simple to prevent this from happening by fitting a steel mesh a couple of inches below the surface of the water. I wonder whether it would be possible to ask the relevant farmers in Southerndown if they would allow this to be done for them as it would might prevent a lot of owl deaths in the long-term.


On my way to my favourite birdwatching location by the river thaw in Llandough, I spotted a total of 5 bullfinches jumping in and out of the hedgerows. Shortly after getting off my bike in Llandough, 4 green woodpeckers including two juveniles, flew across a field into a tree right next to me – a welcome surprise after not seeing this species for some time.

After a short walk I saw 3 buzzards in a territorial dispute right above me. They shortly dispersed probably due to the constant mobbing of house martins which were present in great numbers. Remarkably, this wasn’t the only species of raptor I saw today as I also spotted a red kite heading towards Cowbridge.

Before leaving, I heard the resident male kingfisher calling repeatedly nearby. To make up for the fact that the kingfisher didn’t show himself, I saw a pair of spotted flycatchers catching insects which were flying over the river.