Very pleased to see that a second pair of Great Crested Grebes have also hatched a family of 4 chicks. Let’s see if they can all progress to adulthood. The first cluthc of four are now down to 2 almost fully grown juvs now so they shd be safe. Yesterday there were 2 immature Herons by the far side of W lake but they weren’t there this morning. This morning there were a few House and Sand Martins over E lake and a Green Woodpecker near the dragfonfly pond. The drake Tufted Duck was also present on E lake yesterday but I couldn’t see the female.


A pair of Hobbies were displaying at the end of May at a site in the east of the county. For obvious reasons, I won’t specify the location, but the birds are in the former coalfield (far to the N of the M4) at an altitude of between 200 and 300 metres (depending on where they have since settled). The area will be monitored through the balance of the summer, but given that they are established at the location concerned, I would consequently expect them to be fairly widespread through the lower ground in the Vale of Glamorgan to the south, as well as more sparingly into the hills. It’s well worth searching out this species if you enjoy a challenge – they are hard to locate and can remain undetected even in well-watched areas, but experience elsewhere is that even incidental sightings of Hobbies usually denote undiscovered breeding pairs (Schedule 1 restrictions apply). The birds return to the same areas each year, so records from previous years are still worth following up.


Very quiet at the moment bird-wise but here’s a few Corvid pix. A juvenile Crow was ‘anting’ in the empty car park [3 images of the bird by the kerb stones]. You can see the ants on the plumage if you look carefully. And the remaining two are portraits of a Cosmeston regular who hangs out around the entrance and car park and by the ‘swan feeding’ corner of E lake. He’s known to afficionados as ‘Beaky’ due to the extra long hook on the tip of his upper mandible. I say ‘he’ but of course its impossible to sex them on outward appearance as far as I know. For good measure there’s a nice photo of a confiding female/imm Blackbird I saw by the coast parth at Sully on Saturday 6th.

Talygarn Lake

We were able to conduct our WeBS today, first time since ‘Lockdown’ began!

It was glorious in the woods and down by the lake – so green, lots of birdsong, ducklings and wild flowers. Unfortunately our WeBS was not so accurate because the permissive path across the lake bridge has been temporarily, but reluctantly, closed by the landowner since it is too narrow to maintain safe distancing.                                                The swans nested as usual, but this failed. It was very close to the bridge and path. We’re hoping they may try again.

Coot , Mallard , Moorhen , Mute Swan  , Blackbird , Blackcap , Blue Tit , Carrion Crow ,
Chaffinch , Chiffchaff , Collared Dove , Dunnock , Great Spotted Woodpecker ,           House Sparrow , Magpie , Robin, Song Thrush , Swallow , Woodpigeon , Wren

Strange birdsong

I have had a message concerning a strange unidentified and unfamiliar bird song/call heard from a thicket by J.32 Coryton by someone called Jonathan Harris and forwarded to me by GBC member John Aggleton. Jonathan did two recordings the links to which are below. They are stored on our Google drive so these links should work. The recordings are .wav files. Turn the volume up – it’s a piping call on some occasions with a descending trill at the end
First one: click here
Second one: click here

Good season for Long-tailed Tits

Despite the necessary restrictions on travel, I was able to keep tabs on the progress of five Long-tailed Tit nests during the spring (all on or adjacent to private land to which I had access). Remarkably, all five appear to have been successful – young hatched in all, when last visited were close to fledging, and all five nests were still intact a few days later (nests attacked by a predator are usually torn to pieces). Normally this species has a very high nest failure rate (around 80-90%), e.g. of 20 nests I monitored in another county last year, at least 15 failed – a dozen of them due to predation. Even though a small sample size from a highly localised area (all the nests were within 2 km), it suggests an outstanding season for the species – an impression reinforced by the family parties in evidence elsewhere (e.g. a flock of 14 at Nelson on Thursday 4/6).

Juvenile Birds In Pen-y-Fai

In the last few days in my garden there have been adult blackcaps, nuthatches, blue tits, great tits, house sparrows and starlings all feeding juveniles, as well as juvenile greenfinches, siskins and blackbirds. Also a first and second brood of starlings are eating a fat feeder square a day. The photo shows 2 juvenile blackcaps, barely able to fly, sheltering in the gloom after a thunderstorm.

P1010485 V3


4 Green Woodpeckers seen yesterday [5th] in a wet walk – 2 in E. Paddock and 2 in W. paddock. Today, 6th, small nos. of House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow over W lake and the NE corner of E lake. There are 100’s of spikes of Pyramidal Orchid in E paddock – I don’t understand why these are doing well but the Bee Orchids have suffered or not appeared at all in the dry weather.

Cardiff Bay Barrage 2nd June

First visit yesterday to the barrage since lockdown started. Managed a shot of a pair of House Martins doing some refurbishment on a house in Penarth Marina. By the water taxi embarcation jetty a Mute Swan with 6 cygnets. At the Cardiff end of the barrage a Common Whitethroat was singing at the top of a tree and a rather tatty looking male Blackbird was on one of the old mooring posts. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing just before the old Roath Dock. Plenty of Sand Martins nesting in the holes of Roath Dock. No sign of any Swifts at all.

Boverton, St.Donats, Wick.

c.30 Swifts heard (first) and then seen high overhead half mile east of St. Donats,1530. Red Kite half mile south east of Wick 1545. On relaxing with a cup of tea on the patio back at Boverton watched a Peregrine circling high above at about 1700. A minute or two later he circled again carrying some small prey before heading North and a minute or two later we watched him again, circling high over us for about five minutes – this time sans prey and with about a dozen Swifts above him.


Rather hot walk this morning and not much excitement. There were 19 Canada Geese, a lot more than in recent weeks [no-one to feed them!] and 8 Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebe pair still have the two remaining young which are now 2/3 their size, 2 Little Grebes [no sign of any young as yet], 1 Cormorant [there were 4 y’day], a pair of Tufted Duck on E. lake, 3 Swift over W lake. Not many small birds – 2 Blackcap heard, 1 Reed Warbler seen brifely from a distance, at the dipping pond.


Managed a few shots of a Reed Warber this morning, in the small reed fringes by the now defunct first viewpoint as you exit the wooded path that passes the bird table. A few Swallows over the lake and the Gt Crested Grebe pair that had a record 4 chicks now only have 2, which are now about 2/3 adult size. I saw a KIngfisher briefly over W lake yesterday. Have not encountered the three juvs again but I expect they are around.

Between Boverton and St.Brides Major (almost)

We did 3 consecutive early morning bike rides (Tuesday to Thurs.) via Llantwit,St.Donats,Marcross Broughton to the junction with the B4265 plus a couple of diversions to Nash Point (Fulmar,Stonechat,Meadow Pipit). A total of 39 species seen and/or heard. Notably only 1 raptor (Buzzard), 5 singing Yellowhammers, only 2 Swifts (Llantwit Church), no Long Tailed Tits and the only House Martins were over our estate in Boverton.