Monday, January 16, 2006

The Cardiff Four

Not another John Williams novel, but the four good species we managed to tick on Saturday, 14 January. An early start with Jeff and Dan in an attempt to see the owls at Mardy Road at dawn. At about 7:30am a little owl flew into the old oak tree. As the light improved Dan and Jeff picked out the shape of the second little owl that must have been in the tree before we arrived. One owl then flew to the roost hole towards the base of the tree while the second then showed nicely against the trunk of the tree with all its spots on show. Sadly, the barn owl did not appear before we left for an emergency toilet break at the nearby Tesco's. As we were nearby, we decided to take a quick look for a reported jack snipe in the reedbed at Green Point on the Rhymney Estuary. We had a good look around but it didn't show. Next port of call was the Barrage in the hope of getting ring-billed gull and black redstart. There were few gulls to be seen, and no sign of the American. We walked to the very far end of the Barrage, picking out a few meadow pipits, a rock pipit, stonechat and a linnet. Then Jeff saw a white wingbar and we were soon onto a nice male black redstart, shortly joined by a second. One bird stayed perched atop a fence for quite some time and Jeff managed a record shot through Dan's 'scope. We returned to the car, pleased to have connected with this species. On to Cosmeston in the hope of seeing the gull and some long-staying scaups. Again there was no sign of the gull, but we were soon on to a first winter male scaup and a nearby female. Another possible male/hybrid was close by too. On to Western Avenue for firecrest and yellow-browed warbler. A few birders were already at the site watching two, possibly three close firecrests. We all enjoyed terrific views, but unfortunatley the warbler did not show. At least we were consistent with our 50% hit rate. We rounded the day off with a walk across to Pontcanna Fields in the hope of getting the lesser-spotted woodpecker. A football match gave us little hope of seeing it near its nest hole and unfortunatley there was no sign of one along the river. Another enjoyable morning out, and I'm pleased to have connected with two species I missed last year - firecrest and black redstart. As I arrived home, Dan texted through to report the ring-billed gull was at the Barrage. B@ll%*ks!


Dan said...

I'm sure that toilet break cost us that Barn Owl!!

Tim Hall said...

The Barn Owl often disappears right inside its hole for the day, and is often invisible.
Last time I looked for Jack Snipe near Tescos, all I found lurking in the reads were some abandoned fridges.