Monday, 17 October 2016


Redwings have just arrived over the last couple of days, no Fieldfare yet though. 
This winter thrush migrates here from Northern and Eastern Europe to spend our much warmer British winters here with us.


This Reed Bunting was also sharing the berry tree.

reed bunting
Lets hope the Fieldfares start coming in soon otherwise all the berries will be gone.

Saturday, 20 August 2016


Nice of this Buzzard to fly in and land on a post quite near my home. We got a couple of nesting pairs up here and are always great to see.


buzzard flight pic
The bird stayed for quite some time before it took off giving me a chance of a nice flight shot (above).

Saturday, 13 August 2016


Went over to Slimbridge WWT yesterday see if I could brush up on my( not the greatest ) Wader I.D skills. Managed to see and photograph the Cranes which I was hoping for and saw quite a few different species though couldn't photograph them all as they were sometimes a little to far out of reach for my camera.






Here's a Crane Slimbridge WWT have successfully re introduced these birds to the reserve with their breeding programme which was featured on Springwatch or perhaps it was autumn watch anyway they are impressive looking birds.

Crane with greylag geese in the foreground

The black tailed godwits are in really good numbers at Slimbridge this first bird has still got a lot of it's summer plumage where as the second bird has lost nearly all its summer dress and looks more like a winter bird (bleeding confusing this Wader ID).

blacktailed godwit (summer)
blacktailed godwit (winter)


Woodpigeons are everywhere and very tame

There's a rookery there as well a member of the crow family a rook is not a bird you see every day. It's bare patch at the base of the bill its best ID feature

There's a lot of captive birds also at the reserve although they're nice to see they're not truly wild. The Bewick swan vists Slimbridge from Northern Europe they arrive usually around October and stay for the winter before they return up north to breed. They have some captive residents around the lagoons as well here's one of three individuals that I saw.

bewick swan
An enjoyable day at the reserve but I still need to get better at my Wader ID, back to the class room me thinks.

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Went over to Llandegfedd Reservoir yesterday, this place was one of Gwents birding hotspots until the opening of the RSPB Newport Gwent levels reserve at Goldcliff in Newport. Welsh water has now opened up the top end of the reservoir to sailing and boat trips and has built a visitors center and cafe. Fly fishing off the shore and from boats still seems to be well catered for  while at the bottom end of the res where most of the birders go the hides are really in a poor state of repair and the paths and area's in front of the hides are massively overgrown with reeds and trees making visibility from the hides almost impossible. I heard that it's all to do with funding and that the sailing boats, fishing and visitors centre pull in money where the area's for wildlife do not. Having said all that the place still pulls in a surprising amount of good birds with the odd rarity now and again dropping in. An Osprey can be seen in early spring and late summer and good numbers of winter wildfowl the odd Diver and waders on passage from their breeding grounds can be seen here. In summer there's a good selection of migrants all singing and calling to establish breeding territories and if your lucky you might see a Hobby. There's also good numbers of resident birds passarines a plenty, herons, cormorants, grebe's, canada geese as well as a big gull roost.

I was not disappointing with my visit the highlights being a pair of little Egret, female Mandarin duck, Common Tern, and a pair of Kingfishers. There were still a few warblers about in the form of Reed, Willow and Whitethroats. The great crested Grebe's have had a good breeding season there were family groups all over the place. A very large flock of House Martins and good numbers of Herons, Cormorants, and Gulls were also on view.
Here's some pictures of a few birds seen on the day.

This Common Tern was a solitary bird but showed really well.

common tern

A pair of Kingfishers were flying onto this very strategically placed perch. 

This pair of Kingfishers were having a bit of an argument I think its a male on the right as female's have a lighter lower mandible.

The picture below shows a little Egret with yellow legs and feet where the legs are supposed to be black and the feet yellow "hmmm strange"

little Egret with yellow legs

You can see by this little egret in flight that it's legs are supposed to be black.

little egret in flight

This female Madarin was one of three birds I spotted sat together at the the edge of the res.

female mandarin

Below is one of the many family of Great Crested Grebes that were on the reservoir

great crested grebe with her chicks
Here's a nice pair of Mute Swans

mute swans
This Black Headed Gull (an immature I think)  is one of the many Gulls that make their home at Llandegfedd.

black headed gull
 Sorry about all the pics but I had to make amends after forgetting my camera on our holiday to Mull.
Llandegfedd is a beautiful place I just hope that Welsh water understands this and what an important area it is for wildlife and for the wildlife enthusiasts and tries to keep it so. There are not that many SSSI in Gwent so we should cherish them. Water sports can bring in revenue and as long as disturbance to the birds and other wildlife are kept to a minimum I can't see why they both can't be enjoyed together in this wonderful place. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


I was hoping to blog on here about my trip to The Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland and show you all the wonderful wildlife I've photographed but like the plonker that I am I left my camera, binoculars and telescope all at home ARRRHHHHHH!!!!!! What a complete idiot I felt when we got to our first stop off point in Dumbarton and I realised what I'd done. Although I was completely gutted I had to make the most of it. The wife god bless her went into the Argos shop in Dumbarton and bought me some bins to use on the trip so at least I had something to watch the wildlife with.

We went through Loch Lomond on the way there and stopped off a couple of places and took some pic's (with the wife's bridge camera) what an absolute wonderful and beautiful place.

We caught the ferry from Oban to Craignure and set on our way to Toblermory where we were based. It's where they made the children's series Ballamory.

We went on a birding trip where we saw White tailed and Golden Eagles, Red breasted merganser, Red throated, Black throated, and Great northern divers, Black guillemot, all firsts for me. We also saw Common seal, Otter, and Red deer. This next bird was also a first or lifer as it is called in birding circles. We got pretty close for this decent image. 

Hooded crow
What a beauty this Hoody is. Below is some Red deer that I took with my iphone.

Red Deer
Although I really wanted to we didn't go on any sea bird watching trips though I would have loved to have seen the Puffins. Lack of optical equipment oouch!! the expense and the fact that most of the sea birds have finished their breeding season and have gone out to sea for the winter leaving only a small number left and they could go at any time so I couldnt justify it.

We did go down to Loch Frisa where the Sea Eagles breed each year and was featured on Springwatch. A bleeding two hour hike to get down there and not a Eagle in sight.

Loch Frisa
We did get lucky on the way back to Toblermory, Aneurin our youngest spotted a White tailed eagle on the side of a mountain being mobbed by Ravens and what a beauty it was. We stopped the car and I quickly got out my Argos binoculars and watched as it soared by the mountain side. It went down for a while then up it went again and flew straight over the top of us across the valley and I had no bloody camera!!
Aneurin earned himself the biggest ice cream I could afford and I had a memory that would stay with me forever (or maybe even longer) it would have been a hell of a picture arrrrhhh!!

Mull is a stunning place "even without your camera"

The beaches are stunning white sand and birds everywhere, Oystercatchers, Gannets, Terns, Gulls, Waders, Sea Ducks, and on the grassland there's Chats, Pipits, Finches and loads more there's just life everywhere.
This is me birding on the beach
Just one bit of advice if you ever go-DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR BINS AND YOUR CAMERA!!

Sunday, 12 June 2016


The number of Redstarts that have taken up residency to breed in our nest box colony have been a bit disappointing this year with only two pair compared to last year when we had four. We've also put up extra boxes to encourage more to breed in them but they remain unused, for some reason it just hasn't happened. I don't think it's the lack of numbers as there seem to be singing Redstarts everywhere I think that there must be a good number of natural sites and this year the birds have chosen to use them.
Anyway the chicks in two that they have used are now big enough to ring so Stephen the conservationist Carter came over to do just that.

redstart chicks
Here's the adult male and female that have both been working hard feeding their hungry brood.


Below is a video of Steve ringing the chicks in both boxes.

Here's a couple of pic's of some nice birds at my feeders.

pair of Siskins

lesser redpole

who doesn't love a Robin

Hard to believe that them tiny Redstart chicks will be making their way to Africa in a few months time, bonvoyage!!