Saturday, December 29, 2007

Brambling Fest

On Sat 29.Dec with the promise of an hour's shopping at Festival Park on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale I conned Teresa into accompanying me to have a look at the large Brambling flocks which are currently feeding on the beech mast from the proliferance of beech trees which surround the village of Manmoel only a further 5 mins down the A4046.
Setting off from Maesteg the weather was indeed promising with dry conditions and broken sunshine but an hour or so later as we climbed the hill from Cwm to Manmoel the weather had taken a distinct turn for the worse with a gusty cold wind and heavy squally rain.

As we approched the village we both spotted several Brambling in the hedgerow and grass verge picking over the leaf litter and as we watched a dashing Wood Pigeon spooked them,the birds took flight only to quickly settle again,there must have been at least 100 birds and the few Chaffinches we spotted were well outnumbered.

I'd packed my 'scope and had hoped to have done a bit of digi-scoping but the awful weather soon put paid to that idea,I'd also taken my new Xmas pressie one of those new fangled 18x zoom "bridge" cameras (Fuji Finepix S8000fd) and could only manage a few snaps from the car.

It was not difficult to see why there are so many Brambling in the area as all the roadsides approaching the village and hedgerows between the surrounding fields are interspersed with mature beech trees on a scale far larger than any I've come across in Glamorgan.

We drove to the other side of the village and had a few sandwiches (got to use up that turkey!!) and a cup of coffee hoping for the weather to improve which it didn't !!...

We met up with another birder who had parked a little further on than ourselves who told us that he had seen another flock of 200+ birds but they had moved on by the time that we had met him.

The rain wasn't letting up so we decided to call it a day and with Teresa getting a little bit impatient and needing the "loo" (why do women go so much more than men?) we beat a hastie retreat to the shops.

I'd only seen Brambling in small numbers ie singles,two's or maybe as many as six up until today so to see so many at one time was something of a thrill although because of the awful weather I came away feeling that I hadn't done the visit justice as there is so much suitable habitat in the area that can be explored on foot.
I'd probably only "scratched the surface" so if anyone fancies another trip up there especially early in 2008 for a "year tick" count me in !!!


Wayne said...

Yes, count me in for another trip up there.

Tim Hall said...

There are still a lot about!

Wayne said...

Got about 100 very flighty birds at 3:30pm today at Smilog Woods aka Llantrisant Forest. May try early in the morning for a better view.