Tuesday, 10 October 2017


A text arrived this afternoon saying that there were a pair of Goldeneye's up on Cwmtillery Lakes. I haven't seen a Goldeneye for a good many years so up there I raced camera and binoculars at the ready to twitch these new arrivals which would have been at least as far as I am aware a firsts for the lake. I could have then shared this wonderful news with the birders of Gwent.

oh dear!
And here they are, well this is one of them a Tufted Duck there wasn't even a pair two females that must have arrived at the lake this morning.

the second female tufty
I suppose they do have yellow eyes so I can see how the mistake was made, but I think an I.D guide for Christmas is a must for you Cwmtillery Lake rarity finders, mmmmm!!!!!!

There was a little bit of compensation as I watched this Dipper feeding on one of the small tributary's that run into the lake.

 I suppose at least it got me out of the house for an hour and a tufted duck is not a common bird on the lake, they must be birds passing through on migration, oh! but I would have loved to have seen them Golden-eyes.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017


Set up my feeding station with a couple more perches hoping that the birds will kindly line up to have their picture taken.

my bird feeding station
I've been lucky enough so far to have had 35 different species visit my feeders, I also should imagine I've missed the odd rare visitor. 
Although birds will come into a feeding station all year round I find that the busiest times are early spring when the birds a trying to get into peak condition ready for breeding and on freezing days in winter when food is scarce.
Here's some of the more commoner birds that frequent my feeders.





female chaffinch

great tit
male chaffinch

It's set up now so lets see what the autumn and winter brings in, something rare or unusual I hope (fingers crossed).

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A CREEPING " familiaris "

Whilst watching and taking some pic's of the birds visiting my feeders, this Treecreeper came onto the trunk of a tree at the top end of my rather rough looking wildlife garden. It stayed for a while making it's way up the trunk looking for it's insect food and then dropping back down again to start all over again.


A very pleasant surprise and a new tick for my garden list.

Sunday, 3 September 2017


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.


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.

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


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


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:-

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

There were couple of these:-


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


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.