Sunday, 3 September 2017

A BOX FOR KES

This female Kestrel turned up this morning which was nice to see, the box next to her was set up by Stephen Carter and myself hoping that we could entice a Kestrel, Jackdaw, Stock Dove or any other hole nester to hopefully give it a go. No luck so far I'm afraid, and the box has taken such a battering off the elements over the last couple of years it might now be uninhabitable.


kestrel with our beaten up box



Other things of note this week were this Chiffchaff, which never comes up this high so must be on the move.


chiffchaff



Also there's still juvenile Stonechat about I think they've had a good year.


juvi stonechat


The swallows are gathering they'll be fattening up before they set off for Africa.


swallows
Most birders now are looking forward to the autumn migration which could blow a surprise or two our way, lets hope so.

Friday, 1 September 2017

THE BARREN LANDS

Went over to Llandegfedd Reservoir today the water levels are that low it looks more like the Gobi desert over there than a reservoir. The birds are so far out I think you'll be needing one of them NASA space telescopes to identify anything on the waters edge.






There were some birds there in the distance.

canada geese and cormorants (I think)

tufted duck (you'll have to take my word for it)

cormorant with grey Heron.
I digiscoped this next Heron pic with my phone.

digiscoped Heron

And I mercilessly cropped this Little Egret 

there's not a lot of pixels in this one
 One of the Rangers that works at Llandegfedd told me that the water levels are not managed by pumping more water into the reservoir (even though there's a pump house on site) they are heavily reliant on the rain fall to bring the water levels back up.
They want to hope it rains pretty soon or we could be watching desert Camels bounding across this barren land.

Friday, 25 August 2017

CWMTILLERY LAKE AND RESERVOIR

Went to my old stomping ground Cwmtillery lake and reservoir and around what we used to call the horse shoe bend. It's walk number 14 on the GOS (Gwent Ornithological Society) publication "Birdwatching walks in Gwent".

It is especially on a nice day a beautiful walk, (although not easy) as was the case yesterday - but to be honest bird wise there wasn't much to see. There was very little bird song or calls and I couldn't believe how quiet it was especially at the top by the horse shoe bend where it was almost silent.  I think August can be a quiet time especially in this sort of habitat. Soon enough though birds will start to move as part of the Autumn migration but there wasn't much movement or birds on this walk.


some waterfowl on the bottom lake

view from the bridge at the top corner of the lake



There were a couple of species of waterfowl on the lake.
Like a few of these:-


coot
The bird on the left is still sitting on the nest.

There were couple of these:-


moorhen

And quite a lot of these as there always are on and around the lake:-


drake mallard in eclipse plumage
Walking up to the reservoir I did spot this Heron resting in a tree.


grey heron
There were a few Swallows up and around the farm and treatment works, on the reservoir were some more Coots, a Little Grebe and a family of Cormorants.


walking along side of reservoir 

one of the adult cormorants amongst the volta- whatever they're called

the other adult with three juveniles on the opposite side of the res
I left the res and walked up the path to the woods, on the path were these bright yellow mushrooms I'd never seen them before.


bright coloured mushrooms
Through the wood and along the top there was nothing about a couple of great tit, a Nuthatch or two, some alarming Wrens a few Carrion Crows and the odd Raven an alarming Blackbird, some Woodpigeons, some Magpie's, a Mistle Thrush, and one solitary Willow warbler.


a nice view of the res

part of the path through the woods

top of the horse shoe bend the coity mountain to the right and the mynydd james to the left


at least the heather is looking nice.


I also did spot this juvenile Green woodpecker in a distant tree.




I walked around and back down to the bottom road and did a final circle of the lakes before I got in the car and headed home.


old mine shaft at the top of the lake below the mynydd james 

walking back down towards the lake above Cwmtillery (I can see my old house from here)
I did see a pair of Buzzards near the bottom of the road.  

I can't leave it there living up here for 40 years I know there's more here than it's showed me today and will hopefully get up and around here again. The habitat is superb for a host of different birds but they just didn't show for me today.
There's a lot of work been done at the lake (I don't know who maintains it, the council maybe?) and they've made it into a lovely beauty spot with some really good habitat created. I think perhaps an early winter and/or spring visit will yield a bigger variety of birds fingers crossed. 

Species seen:-
                        Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Raven, Magpie, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Nuthatch, Willow Warbler, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard.


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

FLYCATCHING

A nice surprise today a small group of Spotted Flycatchers were diving about the garden. This is only the second time I've seen these birds up here.

I think the humid weather we've been having over the last couple of days have coincided with the emergence of thousands of flying ants, they're bleeding everywhere.

 
spotted flycatcher




Although it was warm it was very murky today so I had to use a high iso setting on my camera so I could get a half decent shutter speed and so it made the pic's very noisy. I've got a Canon eos 450d and anything over 400 iso gives the pic's a lot of noise, I shot these at iso 800.

I also had a first in my garden today a Treecreeper, no pic's I'm sorry to say because of the bad light they were to blurred to publish. A nice hour though watching these two species just hope they swallow up most of them flying ants, I haven't stopped itching yet.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

AROUND THE FARM

After my week away in Norfolk I decided to do a bit of local birding today with a walk around the farm where I live suppose you could call it my local patch.
Total species list was 27 for the two hours I was out, not bad and nice to see some of the migrants still here and a couple of surprises. 

The species list is:-
Meadow pipit, Pied wagtail, Stonechat, Redstart, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Wren, Blackbird, Songthrush, Dunnock, Robin, Raven, Carrion crow, Magpie, Jay, Great tit, Blue tit, Coal tit, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Willow warbler, Swallow, Buzzard, Red kite and Sparrowhawk.

Here's some of the pictures I took on my walk.

meadow pipit

stonechat

redstart (first winter male)

coal tit


woodpigeon

willow warbler

red kite


swallow
  
swallow (juvenile)
I plan to get out birding a bit more in the coming months. I've been reading the GOS publication "BIRDWATCHING WALKS IN GWENT" there's a lot of good birding places in our county that I haven't visited yet so will hopefully get out and explore them and hopefully bring my findings and pic's back here to you. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

NORTH NORFOLK 2

SNETTISHAM........

This is the second reserve I visited on my holidays to the north Norfolk coast. The car park is situated about a mile from the reserve and there is a gravel path and some steps that you walk along which takes you onto the reserve. ( Be aware that there are no toilets at Snettisham so my advice is - do your bodily functions before you get here).You'll walk passed a couple of nice lakes with some scrubby bushy areas, as soon as I walked out from the car park I could hear the Common Terns and the noise of the Geese the lakes are quite active with Greylag and Canada Geese and I also spotted a small group of Egyptian Geese. There is also in Winter a huge migration of Pink footed Geese here.

greylag geese


common tern



This Egret was also fishing at the edge of one of the lakes.

little egret
I finally came out onto the shore line where there is a large estuary, luckily it was still high tide so the birds were still on the edge of the water waiting for the tide to go out.

There were Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin along the shore and out on the estuary were hundreds of wading birds which the main bulk of them were knot.

ringed plover, sanderling and dunlin


adult and juvenile oystercatcher

sanderling

estuary at high tide
There are three hides at Snettisham two of which look over a lagoon which is opposite the estuary. The other allows you to look over the mudflats of the estuary where once the tide recedes is very busy with feeding waders.

common sandpiper from one of the hides
 
the birds gathering on one of the scrapes in the lagoon

a greylag
The Common Terns nest on the lagoons and some were still feeding chicks, the Terns as well as a few other species were constantly flying back and forth from the sea to the lagoons.

cormorant

 
grey heron


little egret

more common terns (they were everywhere)

 

Finally when the tide goes out revealing the mudflats the birds all take off  in one cloud of whirring birds it was an absolutely incredible sight.

the waders take off





In late autumn and winter the birds numbers swell into the tens of thousands (or maybe even more) what a spectacle that must be. 

The North Norfolk coast is an incredible place for birds I only went to two reserves but there are a lot more reserves and wild places to visit and I wish I could have gone to them all but it was a family holiday and we were only there for a week so I had to make do with my two day passes off the wife " thanks love"but the memories will last a life time.