Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
First stop, high tide at Ogmore-by-Sea. The Purple Sands were very confiding as usual and I managed to find 21 of them to the east of the car park. My highest ever count. They were accompanied by several Turnstone and Oycs. There were a few Rock Pipits around but I didn't find any that resembled the littoralis which which was found there by Roo Perkins recently. A Chough flew in from the east, circled over me and then prompty disappeared, and a Med Gull right at the very end of the path before it starts the climb to Southerndown was a surprise. I haven't had one there before.
The highlight at Ogmore estuary was a male Gadwall. Again, I haven't seen one here before. There was also a Little Egret, good numbers of Goldeneye, 3 Curlew and a sprinkling of Redshank there. I must admit that I didn't put much of an effort in to finding Paul Roberts' 3rd cal yr Yellow-legged Gull - and that's why I will remain a crap Gull Birder!
Newton Beach was the next stop. I hoped to find some Sanderling , Grey Plover and Ringed Plover here. I had a distant view of an RP and a probable distant flock of Sanderling flying into the sun which had been flushed by a pair of dog walkers. In fact, the beach was crawling with dog walkers and so I didn't hang around for long.
And so finally on to Llanilid. Thanks to Alun Hughes' excellent directions I easily found the field in which the Short-eared Owls had been hunting, and there were two of the beauties there to greet me when I arrived. One droppped down and caught a vole/mouse. It sat there for a while looking right down the barrel of my 'scope. What a pair of eyes and I even managed to see the 'ears'. Just as I was about to get a record shot the blighter took off with the prey in its talons. Top banana!
I went back to pick the kids up from school and you'll be glad to hear that I immediately gripped off the Twitchmeister! He's made me promise to take him up there after school tomorrow . . . I'm not complaining!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I'd just parked the car and switched off the engine when Geth said "There it is on that woody thing" - and he was right! Unfortunately, no sooner had we left the car than it took off. We spent the next 10 minutes or so watching it fly around above our heads - every now and again diving down to pick a tasty morsel from the surface of the lake or giving a B-h Gull a hard time.
Can you see it?
Geth now managed to grill the bird in the 'scope and note the clinching plumage characteristics.
Yet another lifer for the Little Larid Lister. You've got to hand it to the guy - the Twitchmeister is on fire at the moment!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Sunday morning found father and son, accompanied this time by daughter, back out in the field. We were on our way to Uskmouth, but we called in "at a site east of the River Rhymney" where we were greeted by a Little Owl sunning itself on a branch. (Another lifer for both the TM and his big sister).
A crap photo of 'Tim's Little Owl' - a new sub-species?
Only it didn't look like this anymore . . . . . it looked like this.
If only it had looked like this back in September 2007 even I would have had a fighting chance of seeing that flippin' Aquatic Warbler hiding in it!
I spent the rest of the time chuckling at Geth trying to find a Cetti's Warbler. They were calling all over the place but as usual they remained invisible. It was like watching a dog trying to catch rabbits but being outrun every time. I did warn him about this but nevertheless they drove him up the wall. He'll learn!!! Still, he can't complain 4 lifers in a week - oh, to be young again!!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
One of the tetrads I've asked for as part of the Atlas is ST17L (Michaelstone-le-Pit) and so I thought I'd recce the area today in readiness for a future visit, and also to start adding some Roving Records as very few have been submitted for this tetrad so far. One of the woods in this tetrad by the way is Coed y Dylluan in which Tim has been erecting a few nestboxes (do you want anymore Tim?).
Highlights of the walk were a Peregrine, several Buzzards, a yaffling Green Woodpecker, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, and 4 Little Grebes, 2 Common Teal, 13 Moorhen and 2 Grey Wagtails on the 'salmon leaps'. And of course, birds singing everywhere.
But it was when we crossed over into the neighbouring tetrad (ST17G - Wenvoe) that we had the real highlight of the walk. I'd just mumbled under my breath that this area of the woods was normally devoid of any birdlife when the sharp-eyed Little Lister called me over to say "What's that up there Dad? Looks like a Marsh Tit to me". I've learnt by now that it always pays to look at any birds pointed out by the Twichmeister. I raised my 'bins and right at the very top of a tall tree was a small bird skulking around some ivy. A Marsh Tit! How the hell did he spot that up there?! It was soon joined by another one and they even had the decency to utter a couple of Pitch-oo's to confirm that they were Marsh rather than Willow Tits. Another lifer for Geth and Gwenni.
Needless to say the Boy Birder was on top of the world. I think we may have a 'Martin Bevan/Neil Donaghy' in the making here guys!! I might start hiring him out.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Incredibly I did manage to find another Blackcap at a completely different location to the 3 I found on my 1st TTV back on Boxing Day. A lone female this time on the road up to Pantmawr Cemetry. The other 'highlight' was the sheer number of Magpies recorded: 51 of them, with 41 in the first hour. Sadly, no Lesser Pecker again at Forest Farm.
After finishing I had a very pleasant 20 minutes in the Llyn Brwynog Hide (which lies just outside ST18K). The female Brambling was still amongst the flock of c.35 Chaffinches, and Reed Buntings, Grey Heron (fishing) and Little Grebe made up a nice supporting cast. Unusually, I also saw a Common Snipe there - my first from this hide. I normally see them from the other hide but they appear to have been absent from there this winter. Well, they've avoided me anyway.