Monday, 19 June 2017


As the nesting season is coming to it's final stage, although some birds are double and treble brooded so we'll still be on the look out for these, a lot of Steve's time and effort is now made with ringing especially the schedule 1 birds that  he has found dotted around the county.  These birds include Barn Owl, Goshawk and Red Kite.
No news yet on the Goshawks, but the Red Kites successfully reared one chick which was recently ringed.

red kite chick

Also his Barn Owl sites has been a triumph this year with these four beauties being ringed as well as another five owlets at another site.

barnie owlets
He's also been concentrating more on our migrants with both Willow and Wood Warbler nests being located. Both himself and a fellow nest finder Sean Price have found quite a few territories of these birds and there seems to be a fairly healthy population of both species.

wood warbler nest with chicks

willow warbler nest with chicks

We've had a good Redstart year with six pairs taking up residence in our nest box colony these are the latest brood to be ringed.

redstart chicks
This next image is the photo taken by Steve of the Reed bunting nest before it got predated. With so many predatory species at the farm there are going to be a number of smaller birds which nestlings and/or eggs are going to be taken, but like I said at the start of this blog a lot of these birds are double or treble brooded so will more than likely start again.

reed bunting chicks

This Magpie is just one of the many predatory species that live on the farm but we have to remember it's more than likely got chicks to feed itself, it's all about survival.

Lets see what the final few weeks have in store for Steve and Sean on this so far very productive 2017 nesting season. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Every spring it's always a great pleasure to have the call of the Cuckoo's about the farm. With so many nesting birds you think they'd be spoilt for choice for nests to lay their eggs in, but it seems that the one's up here specialise in Meadow and Tree pipits every time I spot a Cuckoo it's nearly always being mobbed by pipits. 
Their tactics are that the male draws the adult Pipits away whilst the female finds suitable nest site's to lay her solitary egg.

cuckoo being mobbed by meadow pipit
They arrive in late April and start making their way back to their wintering grounds in Africa in early July. Their offspring soon follow the adult birds so their stay here is very brief.
Steve has found Cuckoo eggs and chicks in pipit nests over the last couple of years and I've been lucky enough that he has shared his findings with me.

young cuckoo
We're into June now so it won't be long they start making their way back.

Still enough time hopefully for us to discover a cuckoo chick or two in the many Pipit nests that Steve finds each year.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


Great news on the Redstart front we now have 5 active nests the newest one has 6 eggs

redstart nestbox with 6 eggs

Two other boxes that were checked had chicks in that were a little to small to ring.

The good news was that one brood of youngsters in another box were big enough for Steve to ring. The video below shows Steve ringing the chicks, there were seven in there altogether and very cute they were to.

Steve also found a Reed buntings nest last week with young in and was hoping to ring the chicks on his visit Saturday but it was bad news as the nest had been predated.

He also found an active Green Woodpeckers nest you could hear the chicks inside the nest chamber.

green woody's nest hole
green woodpecker

It was a bit of a mixed bag Saturday but a productive couple of hours and a big thanks to Steve for his expertise top man.


Here's a short video of our trip to Skomer Island ENJOY!


skomer island

It's always been a dream of mine to go to Skomer Island just off the West Wales coast so the wife and myself finally took the plunge and booked up some digs in St. Davids (the smallest city in Wales) and went.
We arrived at a place called Martins Haven (where the boats depart for the Island)  at around 7.30 in the morning, the ticket office was a small hut called Lockley Lodge it didn't open until 8.30am so we thought we would be there in plenty of time to get our tickets for the boat ride over to Skomer, luckily we did go early as there was already a large queue forming.

queuing for our tickets 

Lockley Lodge
The boat trip was only a fifteen minute hop to the Island but as soon as you get to a few 
hundred yards before landing there are sea birds everywhere.

The first birds you see are the Puffins Guillemots and Razorbills

the puffins



The Guillemots were nesting in huge colonies along the cliff edge

Also on the cliff edge were nesting  Kittiwake's and Fulmar 



The Sea birds are being constantly harassed by the gulls especially the huge Great Black Backed Gulls. They are constantly on the look out for unguarded nests and also try to steal the catch of the returning nesting birds

great black backed gull

  Also along the sea cliffs I saw my first ever Chough, these are a member of the crow family and are a very rare sight now. A cracking bird with their bright red feet and bill.


The Oystercatchers were showing well.

The Gannets nest on another nearby Island called Grassholm where there is a huge breeding colony but they sometimes hunt just off the coast of Skomer here's a heavily cropped distant bird I captured.


You might also spot the odd Peregrine

We also had some fly over Curlew,


Inland there are a few passarine species I spotted Linnet, Stonechat, Wren, Meadow pipit, Whitethroat, Sedge warbler, Blackbird, Robin, Pied wagtail and Wheatear.

Here's a selection.

meadow pipit

female wheatear


heavily cropped sedge warbler

They say that the short eared owls on the Island show really well but I only saw one distant bird so no picture, but we were compensated somewhat when this Little owl appeared out of a pile of rocks.

little owl

There are also Porpoises and Seals around the Island but although I'd loved to we never saw any of the latter and I spotted one Seal out at sea and one basking on a rock when we were on the boat trip back after I'd packed my camera away ARRRRHHH!!!!

I must admit that after nearly five hours on the Island we were both knackered but what a place and a brilliant day out. The stars of the show are undoubtedly the Puffins but there is so much more in this beautiful place.