Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Mediterranean Comes To Wales

The Great Spotted Cuckoo at Penally

I finally weakened and feeling up to it drove down to Penally near Tenby in a quest for a Mediterranean visitor.  The bird in question was an adult Great Spotted Cuckoo.  A spectacular creature which should be in Spain, Portugal or Mediterranean France just now.  These are really interesting birds migrating north from Africa in February and laying eggs in the nests of Magpies.  Having done that most of the adults have moved back to Africa by June.  An extraordinary life history.  This visitor to Wales must have lost its bearings and overshot Europe to arrive near Tenby to delight many people birders, golfers and walkers alike.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A Walk At Talley Lakes

Talley Upper Lake from the hide
Talley Lakes is just ten minutes or so from my house and is a Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales Nature Reserve.  The lakes are probably made by man and maybe the monks from the nearby Abbey ruins.  There is a pleasant walk through a lovely old churchyard and then along the western shores of the Lower Lake to the a hide in woodland overlooking the Upper Lake.  Today in more glorious weather I managed a very pleasant time.  There are always wildfowl and that made up most of my observations.

Talley Lower Lake

On the Lower Lake there we 15 Tufted Duck and 7 Goldeneye.  There were two males in the latter group and they were displaying by throwing their heads backwards.  There were also 9 noisy Greylag Geese and a couple of Mallard.  Overhead two Buzzards soared over a nearby larch wood.

Captive Great Scaup male photographed at Slimbridge

I soon made my way to the hide and must say I was very impressed by the new padded seats.  More Tufted Duck this time 20 but with a splendid male Great Scaup which I have only seen here once or twice before.  About 20 Teal kept to the reedy areas and a Little Grebe sailed into view calling loudly.  A pleasant walk and the Scaup a new bird for the year.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Is This Our Summer?

Red Admiral

Continuous warm sunshine which allowed us to have lunch outside.  Lots of bees and other insects obvious including this super Red Admiral soaking up sun on our woodshed.

Monday, 10 March 2014

More Great Weather

I found this Frog whilst pottering about in the garden this morning.

Common Frog
After lunch I drove up to Mynydd Llanllwni but not as good as usual despite the brilliantly sunny weather.  No raptors at all just 6 Ravens a couple of Meadow Pipits and the glorious sound of 2 Skylarks singing.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Glorious Warm Weather


I sat outside in the garden this morning enjoying very warm sunshine and hoping to hear a Chiffchaff singing.  No luck there but lots of birds feeding in the garden including Siskins, Goldfinches and a single male Greenfinch.


Blackbirds also building a nest near the house and Buzzards calling all around us.  Pity about about the rugby result the only downside of a great day. Incidentally the pictures are again with the new camera.

Friday, 7 March 2014

A New Toy!

Whooper Swans

A week or so ago I was at Penclacwydd and I met a a group of birders all using the amazing small Nikon Coolpix P520 camera with its extraordinary 42x zoom lens.  I was so impressed by its quality and specification that I went and bought one.  My recent ill health has meant I have had few chances to try it out but today I spent an enjoyable hour on Cilsan Bridge in warm sunshine.

Four youngsters from 2013

There were 30 Whooper Swans present really quite close to the road.  Also a male Goosander flew over.  I got a little practice with the camera and am not disappointed.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Please Help Our Welsh Seabirds

Guillemot colony

The recent storms have not only devastated the lives of many people but now it seems our seabirds as well.  Over 25,000 auks have been found dead on the Atlantic coast of France alone and those bearing rings suggest most are from British colonies.  french fishermen describe the sea as being filled with rafts of dead birds.  Puffins seem to be the most numerous with Guillemots and Razorbills next in line.  This natural disaster could have a serious effect of the breeding populations of our Welsh islands particularly on Skomer where there have been large and thriving colonies.

Puffin - perhaps the worst affected species

The big problem is Natural Resources Wales have decided to cut the money normally available for monitoring these and other colonies.  A really daft decision for a body responsible for our wildlife and given the exceptional circumstances.  The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales now have to find £10,000 each year to continue this vital work.  It will be essential to keep this monitoring going over at least the next five years to see how the colonies have been affected and whether they begin to recover.

Razorbill - another species suffering from the storms

Please consider making a contribution to The Appeal to raise enough money for this to happen by clicking on the following link