With many of the wetter areas on Sully/Cog Moors frozen yesterday, a Green Sandpiper was on a bare section of riverbank on the Cadoxton River at ST 14894 69299. Further upstream a Kestrel was mobbed by corvids and soon flew off. Several Nuthatches were singing and calling in Park Wood and at Michaelston-le-Pit there were 17 Moorhen and 3 Little Grebe on the Salmon Leaps pools and a Grey Wagtail and Great Spotted Woodpecker nearby. Walking back towards Dinas Powys, Siskin called from riverside alders below Casehill Wood.
Bumped into local birders Mathew Meehan and Alex Bevan [not literally!]. Matt informed me that the Hawfinches were still around [now c.10 birds]. After a few minutes standing in the rain, 3 suddenly appeared in the tree tops, then dropped out of sight, then 5 more appeared and sat in the top twigs of a tall tree. I managed to fire off a few record shots. They were at the top of 40-50ft high trees and about 100 – 200m distant, and against a light sky. So 2 ‘as taken’ shots below and 2 mega crops from effectvely the same shots. Camera was at max Zoom [600mm DSLR equiv]. One crop shows a bird just as it dropped off its perch, showing the very distinctive broad white wing bars. The cropped perched in the open shot shows the charateristic short tail with a white terminal band. Apologies to those familiar but if you’ve not seen one before these are features to look out for if and when you get the chance. Also present on W lake were a pair of Wigeon, a pair of Gadwall and 2 pairs of Shoveler. Very thin sprinkling of snow.
A walk along the coast to Cosmeston from Sully yesterday morning, starting about 2 hours after low tide, revealed 2 Grey Plover, 3 Dunlin and 15 Ringed Plover close to the water’s edge. An adult Mediterranean Gull showing first signs of its summer plumage black hood was on the playing fields with a small group of Black-headed Gulls. Good views of a perched Sparrowhawk and Jays along St Mary’s Well Bay Road, where a Green Woodpecker was calling.
On Cosmeston’s lakes Pochard, Shoveler and Gadwall added variety to the usual horde of Tufties, and on the way home along Lavernock Road a Raven flew over calling as it headed west.
Nothing too exciting but a nice sunny walk. The House Sparrows in the clifftop bushes were enjoying the sun, and a Common Gull flew by as we walked along the esplanade. So clear that both bridges were visible – the first time in ages.
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.
At least 16-Snipe on the south side of the island this morning.
Late morning before the rain. No show by any Hawfinches this morning, although I didn’t linger very long. Couple of Rooks in field beyond far end of W paddock was a year tick. W lake had 1 drake Wigeon and 1 drake Gadwall by the posts and a Common Gull on the posts. Little Grebe was whinnying frequently. There were 40 Pochard – 35 on E lake and 5 on W lake, all drakes exc 5. It was sunny, but dark clouds to the NW had a rainbow which was reflected in the dragonfly pond.
Walked along Sully shoreline to walk the dog. There were 17 Curlew feeding on the sports field, and 15 confiding Turnstone amongst the seaweed at the top of the beach. About 15 distant Shelduck on Sully Island topped up my year list [as did the Curlew as it happens]. The grassy path is very muddy so we walked back along the rocky shore and came across a smart tail-less Pied Wag which I’ve named Short-tailed Wagtail [Motacilla alba brevicaudatus :-)]. A couple of Rock Pipits and normal wagtails were on the cricket pitch and as we got back to the cricket clubhouse start point, a smart male Stonechat was posing on top of the concrete posts there.
Pair of Willow tit in area of wet scrub at the western perimeter of reservoir fence line.
28 Turnstone on the beach, 5 Oystercatcher and 5 Rock Pipit on grassy area between primary school and beach;
18 Curlew on the playing fields along with 3 Oystercatcher and 100+ Starling;
2 Grey Plover, 23 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 95 Oystercatcher and 4 Shelduck on Sully Island
Nice surprise this morning, when I met Graham Smith and Matt Meehan. They’d seen a Hawfinch, found earlier by Alex Bevan. Not showing when I arrived but after c.20 mins Matt refound it and I got flight views until it landed at the top of a tree. It then almost immediately flew back again and was joined by two others at the top of a tree in the eastern fringe of Cogan Wood. Viewing was from by the muddy track beyond the dragonfly pond. Also in the same trees a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew out and a Green Woodpecker showed briefly. A pair of Great Crested Grebes displayed briefly on W lake, where there were the usual Tufties and 32 Pochard, plus a drake Shoveler hiding in the edge of the reed bed.
Lavernock Road was very busy and there must have been at least 80 cars, probably more, in the car park, so not many people are obeying the exercise from your front door rule.
Cycle round bay from home: female scaup and ring necked duck side by side just in front of the ice rink board-walk
Kingfisher at the confluence of Rhondda fach and fawr and later lovely views of 5 Goosander downstream at Britannia ( 2 pairs and a single drake who tried to join the gang but was given short shrift by one of the others )
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.
A Green Sandpiper was at a shallow pool on Cog Moors between Sully and Dinas Powys today. Other species seen or heard on the moor included Mute Swan, Grey Heron and Cetti’s Warbler. In fields alongside the Cadoxton River there were Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush and an overwintering male Blackcap. Along Green Lane there were three Jays, a Goldcrest and a small flock of Goldfinch. An egret spotted from Pop Hill was always distant and landed out of sight on Sully Moor.
There were 40 Pochard in total this morning, split roughly 50/50 between the two lakes – my highest count of Pochard here since a count of 37 in Feb 2019. The Tufted numbered about 200. There was 1 drake Wigeon on W lake, calling quite frequently and a couple of Teal skulking along the reed edges. In the snipe enclosure a pair of Bullfinch flew across one of the cut ‘rides’, a new bird for 2021, and there were 2 Green Woodpeckers there too. Loads of Blackbird in the park [I got up to about 20] and there were around 50 Redwing in and around W paddock.
On Sunday there were at least 600 Tufted Duck in total at Cosmeston (330+) and Cardiff Bay (270+). Other ducks in the Bay included:
- Ring-necked Duck resting on a trapped log just south of the flyover
- Female Goldeneye in the middle of the bay in very calm conditions
- Teal (Wetland reserve), Goosander (4 near Watermark building, 1 drake downstream from Pont-y-Werin footbridge on the Ely) as well as a few Pochard scattered about.
On the walk home it was approaching high tide as I passed Sully Island where there were 20 Curlew, 39 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 14 Turnstone, 4 Shelduck, 92 Oystercatcher and a Grey Heron
On 10th a walk round and complete list produced 31 species. I added Reed Bunting for the year, and other highlights were all 5 thrushes incl 2 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, lots of Blackbirds and a sprinkling of Redwing and Fieldfare, and 6 Greenfinch. Green Woodpecker as usual in W paddock, 13 Pochard, and a Common Gull on the W lake posts. The S end of W lake was partly frozen and had a bunch of Black-headed Gulls sitting on the ice.
On 11th there were 23 Pochard with the Tufties on W lake.
My brother sent me this photo this morning of this bird in his garden in Trealaw (Tonypandy). Is it a Merlin or a young Kestrel??
19-Snipe today,also 40/50 Redwings on the fairways of st mellons golf club.