Friday, March 04, 2011

Hugh'd Have Believed It?

Gethin is green with envy. The Boy Birder has discovered that he is not the Whitchurch (Glamorgan) Canal Nature Reserve's Top Lister - and not by a long way.

While flicking through my old copies of the Young Ornithologist's Club's Bird Life magazines (yes, I've still got them, beginning from the Jul-Aug 1977 issue right up to Nov/Dec 1985), the Twitchmeister came across an article entitled 'On My Patch' in the Jan/Feb 1985 magazine. The patch in question was the Whitchurch Canal Nature reserve no less! The piece was penned by Shetland Wildlife impressario, photographer extraordinaire and one time local birding luminary, Hugh Harrop.

Geth was very happy with his respectable patch list of 84 - but he isn't any longer. Much to his chagrin, Hugh's patch list was a mighty 94! There wasn't much detail in the article about what species Hugh had seen on the reserve but it did include Little Owl (which isn't recorded there anymore) and Gethin howled with pain when he read that it also included Red-backed Shrike.

The clinching sentence in the article about the patch was that Hugh "visits it four days a week". That's dedication. The Twitchmeister visits it no more than twice a week (but more often in school holidays), and so he's going to have to up his game to beat Hugh's total. A challenge, he tells me, he's willing to accept. How will he get on? Watch this space!


County Recorder said...

Looking at the archives, we have a list for the Canal area, which includes the Taff Trail at Forest Farm aswell as Long Wood SSSI that stands at 107 species. It does include Little Owl, last seen 1985. However the last definate record for Red-backed Shrike in Cardiff was 1947, so unless HRH wants to submit his record to WRP, it doesn't count I'm afraid till it's accepted. Also, according to the list, there are no records for Tree Pipit or Sky Lark, both of which must fly over that site.
Dan, if Gethin wants the GBC species list for the Canal area, I'll be happy to send it via email.
Cheers David.

Jeremy said...

I saw a Little Owl alongside the river near the bridge to Radyr railway station. Does that count as being on the reserve?

County Recorder said...

What are the boundaries of any site? The area used in the datbase is: to the north the M4. To the east the dismantled railway line to the footpath alongside Whitchurch Hosp. [which includes the large field between] which then leads to down towards Melingruffydd estate and the end of the canal feeder. To the south and west the river Taff to the M4.
The Radyr station mentioned is the otherside of the river and hence technically outside, however if you saw it on the east bank, then it was in the recording area.
Most observers have their own boundaries, however you can chose what to tick and where - that's birding.

Dan said...

David / Jeremy – thanks for your comments.

In addition to the database reserve boundaries outlined above, Geth’s patch also includes the River Taff north of the M4 up to Tongwynlais, and area we know as the ‘Radyr Flood Plain’ on the west bank of the Taff, east of Radyr.

Jeremy – when did you see the Little Owl near the bridge to Radyr railway station? It’s outside the reserve boundaries but within Gethin’s patch.

David – Geth would be chuffed if you could email him a list of the species seen in the Canal area. Nice one. Thanks.

Could HRH have been referring to the historic RB Shrike sighting in his article? Was the 1947 bird around Forest Farm? I can also confirm that both Geth and I have seen Skylarks flying over the reserve. I’ll submit a record for the database. Tree Pipit is definitely on our list of target species this year.

Jeff said...

Come on Geth pull your finger out !!

Dan said...

LOL! Jeff - I think Warren Gatland should take a leaf out of your style of 'management'!

Wayne said...

Jeff, haven't you got some tips for creative ways of boosting TM's list?

Dan said...

Surely Wayne, you're not suggesting that the TM follows the SOU (Slocombe Ornithologists Union) List which would allow him to tick the Aylesbury Duck which has been hanging around the Canal for the last few months?