Friday, 20 October 2017

Green Elf Cup

I popped in to Cwm Nant-y-gwyddel, this afternoon and as well as these two unidentified slime moulds, I saw that the Green Elf Cup is looking good. The purple jelly thing was on Wych Elm. I've seen it on Wych Elm elsewhere.

Earlier, up at Bryn Pica tip access road, I found a group of thirteen Round-leaved Wintergreen.

Euro Disney take two

After my wife and daughter had told me I was going back to Disneyland again I thought yes it could be better this time of year it being October as the last time I was there was June. This was my first time to go though the channel tunnel, the trip though the tunnel was really quick and in just under half hour and we were through and the birding could start I thought. Unfortunately it was dead, there were miles and miles of farm fields with mostly crops were being grown. The small list of birds included Jackdaw  / Carrion Crow /   Magpie / Wood Pigeon / Collard Dove / Feral Pigeon / Black Headed Gull / Herring Gull / Lesser Black Backed Gull / Big numbers of Starling / Long Tailed Tit / Common Buzzard and a nice surprise was at least half a dozen Common Kestrels which felt like the olds days again when they were common. Once we arrived at Disney and got to our room it looked really good as it was in woodland and I could hear stuff singing from the wood and I was looking forward to my walk the next morning.  Well I was up at 6am and ready to go until I looked outside and it was still dark, it did not get light until just after 8 which was too late for me to go has we were going to be in the  park by 8.30. So day one was quiet and has I did  not have binoculars on me in the park so all birds were seen or heard only on the second day. I had a walk and I was out for hour and half and it was nice to have a break from the park. This a list of what I saw in three days in the park and the hotel grounds a Blue Tit / Great Tit / Coal Tit / Long Tailed Tit and another  surpise was I heard a bird  calling in the park which I thought I know this bird its a Crested Tit and on day two I had great views in the hotel grounds / Robin / Dunnock / Wren were heard only / Wood Pigeon / Collared Dove / Feral Pigeon / Blackbird / Song Thrush / Mistle Thrush / Redwing going over high / Pied / White Wagtail / Grey Wagtail / Goldcrest / Firecrest / 1  juv Green Woodpecker / Goldfinch / Chaffinch / 3 Chiffchaff / 1 pair Blackcap / House Sparrow / Starling and also of note was a bird singing high above the Tower of  Terror which I think it was Black Redstart.

In the Frontierland part of Disney there was a lake and  a paddle steamer go around it and I saw about a dozen Coot / 6 Moorhen  / Mallard / Canada Goose / 4 Little Grebe / 1 Kingfisher / 1 Cormorant / Black Headed Gull was the only gull seen on site / 1 Grey Heron. A big surprise was there were no birds of prey were  seen on site. Also strange was I saw no mammals in the grounds or in the park. I did see three species  of Butterflies which were Red Admiral / Small White and Speckled Wood, I also saw two species of Dragonfly which were Common Darter and Migrant Hawker.

 The Lake At Frontierland
 Paddle Steamer that takes you around lake on lake.
 Good numbers of Canada Geese

The lake near the hotel was very quiet and only had Mallard and Black Headed Gulls. There must be good water in Euro Disney as this is the biggest Fly Agaric I have seen .

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Better Late Than Never

A few photos of the last two weekends out with Martin Bevan. Rock Thrush on the Blorenge and Little Owl at Sker. Both distant shots and in the case of the thrush taken in a gale force wind.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Vis mig'ing and the Rock Thrush

This weekend was meant to be about athletes racing in Germany, so unusually I don't pack any bin's, or camera. Big Error. All day Friday and Saturday i watch small flock after small flock of passerines pass over heading in South Westerly direction. Of those I managed to ID, they were mainly Chaffinch, Skylark and Meadow Pipit, with smaller numbers of Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Hawfinch, Blue Tit, and Crested Lark. With bin's I'm sure I would have identified more species. The village we stayed in held at least 6 Black Redstart (prob a lot more) just round the hotel. Driving back to Berlin, a skien of Common Crane flew over.

Interestingly, all the crows around where we stayed, SW of Lipzig, were Carrion, whilst in Berlin they were Hooded.

The trip, however, got off to a fraught start as soon as I picked up the hire care, Mr Hill phoned to inform me of the Rock Thrush found in Gwent..... So it was with hope on my return to the UK that the bird would still be on site - A text from Phil on my landing confirmed its presence today and by 15:45, the Rock Thrush was on the list - my 7th GB tick of the year. Although looking into the sun I managed a few digiscope pics - the best of which is below.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


Working just outside Senghenydd this a.m. and for some unknown reason decided to drive home the scenic route. First record of whooper at Rhaslas, still carrying yellow stain.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Putting the boot in..

At 4am this morning I decided to try for the Booted/Sykes Warb found down the Gower by Ed Hunter, before coaching in Swansea later in the morning, so set of not long after 5am. After driving through some heavy rain which had me doubt my sanity, the Gower was surprisingly dry. I was the first birder to arrive on the scene and started my search as it grew lighter. Initially it was Robins everywhere but as the number of birders grew, so did the number of birds. A fair sized mix flock passed through containing both Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warb, but I failed to get on to either of these. I did get back into the groove picking up the first of the days Pied Flick's.

Soon the flock passed through again, and this time I managed to pick up the Y-b, but there was no sign of the main quarry. As we spread out to try to find the hippo' Mark Hipkin announced he had it and most of the assembled crew were quickly onto it as it fed in a stunted Sycamore, giving great veiws. After a couple of minutes it disappeared, but the agreed concensus was that it was a Booted Warb rather than the rarer Sykes. Mark didn't take long to refind it as it worked the hedgerow. At that point I had to leave so left the guys following it down the lane.

Phil and Bev decided to take the chance later in the day. When they arrived it hadn't been seen for several hours, but they didn't take long to refind it, in the same stunted Sycamore it was in earlier in the morning.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

I find these are in short supply this year, this is only my second record of the year and I have been checking Willow Herb religiously. I found this one by accident today in my lane. Also on Monday I had a mole over Robertstown north and yes a live one! In Abercwmboi I had a Ruby Wasp sp and have not seen them this late before.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Little bit of Cuba

Here are couple of photos from my trip to Cuba, first up Cuban Pygmy Owl  which was only seen on mainland .
 Cuban Emarald was very common and seen daily
 I had this pale Plover and I just knew it had to be Piping Plover
 Cuban Tody and for something so colourful took a bit to see.
 Cuban Green Woodpecker.
 Turkey Vulture.
 West Indian Woodpecker.
 Lauging Gull.
 Cuban Brown Anole
 Juv Cuban Black Hawk
 The Scarce  Bahamas Mockingbird and only a single bird seen.
 Greater Flamingo.
Mixed flock of White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill and a Ticoloured Heron.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

weekend wanderings

After coaching on Saturday, I took myself round a patch of local woodland I've never actually visited, mainly in the hope of finding Club and Saddle fungi.

About 3 steps into the wood and there was my first, a Crested Coral Clavulina coralloides, quickly followed by a couple of Golden Spindles Clavulinopsis corniculata, a Wrinkled Club, Clavulina rugosa, and several Pointed Clubs Clavaria acuta, all in a small area. After that, zilch apart from a few small Mycea (which I didn't see). I did, however, find a small white slug. Could it be the Ghost or another Worm Slug. A check with the hand lens found no pigment in the eyes and the pneumostome was located at the very rear of the body and a short keel at the very tail. Yes, a Ghost Slug, Selenochlamys ysbryda.  - one of the very few species with a Welsh word in its official binomal.

                                              Crested Coral
                                              Ghost Slug.

After Sundays tee-hugging session (see Phil's post), it was another wander round a local wood before the rain set in. Fungi were few and far between but Twig Parachute Marasmiellus ramealis was new for me. I did pick up three fine beetles - Woodland Dor, Anoplotrupes stercorarius is a familiar species I usually fine up on the hills, but I picked up my first Common Heartshield Nebria brevicollis and a host of the False Ladybird Endomychus coccineus, another tick for me.

                                             Twig Parachute
                                               Common Heart-shield
                                                False Ladybird

Finally on Monday, I noticed an attractive moth on the pillar just outside the house on Monday evening - not quite a Death's-head Hawkmoth, but a new moff for me - Large Ranunculus Polymixis flavicincta

                                                             Large Ranunculus

Monday, 25 September 2017

One for the Bucket list

After hearing that the Dead's Head Hawkmoths were back at Kenfig Pool for release I thought I had blew my chances of seeing them after hearing too late on Sunday they were there. But there's always a silver lining and Dave Carrington the Warden from Kenfig Nature Reserve said that if I still wanted to see them I could so and Phil jumped at it. It was brilliant to have the pleasure of seeing them The first time for me to twitch a moth.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Monknash - Nash Point


Martin Bevan slept late for the second time in a week and Martin Bell walked into a tree.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Just a figment of our collective imagination

It's 5am on Sunday morning and I'm standing at Fiddlers Elbow in the damp mist waiting to be picked up by Phil for a day trip to Weymouth and Portland. 10 past and the phone goes off, who's slept in? No sign of Mr Bevan. Phil is trying to reach him. 20 minutes later and the phone goes again, Bevan has surfaced, Phil will pick me up and then we'll pick up sleepy head. So about an hour later than planned, we set of for the south coast.

The rest of the journey went without hitch until we reached the outskirts of Weymouth, to find that a triathlon was taking place that morning and a number of roads would be closed. We hoped access to Lodmoor would be OK. Alas not, the triathlon was based at Lodmoor. We eventually managed to park in Weymouth, about a kilometer from Lodmoor, and wandered through the crowd to the RSPB reserve, hoping that the Least Sandpiper had the decency to stay put for another day.
Fortunately it didn't take long to catch up with this micro wader - a British tick for all three of us - ably put onto the bird by Kevin Hughes, who had managed to beat us down (he didn't have to wait for anyone else to drag themselves out of their pit). Unfortunately the Stilt Sand' had decided to hop it the previous day.
                                           a poor record shot of the peep

From Lodmoor we headed over to Portland, to see what, if anything, was passing through. The short answer - nothing! so we joined Kevin waiting for the long staying Wryneck to put in an appearance in the Obs quarry. After about 20 mins I picked the bird up as it hunted through the long grass and we all enjoyed good views for some time before we decided to leave it be.

From there we walked over to Southwell to try for the Hoopoe that's been hanging around for a while. It took a while, and we just making moves to leave, when it popped up onto a bare snag, a nice year tick for myself and the second this year for both Martin and Phil.

If the start of the journey was delayed, the delays on the return trip started as we approached the bridge tolls. We did, however, find out why Bevan slept in as his alarm went off at 4pm - clearly he was still in Cuba time.