Finally the house martins have returned, counted 7 today. Also 1 pair of swift, with another pair further down valley in Merthyr Vale. Talking of swifts, did my first survey yesterday evening around Victoria Park, Cardiff – alas no swifts in my two squares, but I did find a nest in an adjacent square, so not a total blank.

St. David’s Vale – Abergavenny

15 GBC members attended a mid-week field trip to this delightful area just north of Abergavenny, below the slopes of the Sugarloaf. Cold to start but warming up later. A total of 32 species were seen. The delightful oakwoods were a little quiet with not much bird song but Wood Warbler was heard [and seen by some], plus Common Redstart and 3 Garden Warblers were heard, and one seen – conveniently the song could be compared directly with the several Blackcaps which were also singing. Once up on to the open higher ground we found at least 2 pairs of Stonechat, 2 pairs of Whinchat which showed very well, a couple of Tree Pipits, 10+ Linnet, 3 Buzzards playing in the thermals, lots of Meadow Pipits and a few Skylark. A distant Cuckoo was heard calling, and a distant Red Kite over Abergavenny, was seen by me as we prepared to leave. The list can be seen here. The ‘1’s merely indicate a species was seen – they are not counts.

Update – Forgot that new members Alun & Sue Reynolds heard a Tawny Owl in the woods.

Canton and Grangetown

Reed Warbler singing in scrub, Canton, 200 metres away from river. Sanatorium Park, one Whitethroat singing. Leckwith Hill/Ely Trail, Grey Wagtails holding territory. Grangemoor Park, two Whitethoats singing; one Cetti’s singing. Watkiss Way/Ely River, one Cetti’s singing

Talygarn Lake

WeBS at Talygarn Lake-  Mute Swans nesting, 17 Drake Mallard, only two Female, with ducklings, assume the rest are sitting.. 2 Coot, one on a nest. 2 Canada Geese, no Little Grebe-  up to 9 during the winter, and no Moorhen- have been up to 8.

The woodlands there were looking spectacular in the spring sunshine.- Magpie, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Buzzard, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Herring Gull, GS Woodpecker, Wren, Robin, Great tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch.

Kenfig NNR

There were twenty participants on a very enjoyable birdwalk on Saturday morning, good to see some new folk, lovely weather, lots of birds showing well, beautiful spring flowers,  a cinnabar moth too. The highlights were a little owl, 18 flying whimbrel, 20 fling swans, 4 dunlin in breeding plumage , a purple sandpiper and 2 ringed plover. Thanks to Strinda for leading the group.

Blackbird , Blue Tit , Canada Goose , Chaffinch ,Collared Dove , Dunlin , Feral Pigeon Great Tit , Grey Heron , House Sparrow , Kestrel ,Linnet, Magpie, Mute Swan ,Pied Wagtail , Reed Bunting , Robin , Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Turnstone ,
Whitethroat ,Woodpigeon, Blackcap , Buzzard , Carrion Crow , Chiffchaff, Cormorant ,
Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch , Herring Gull 12,  Jackdaw ,Lesser Black-backed Gull ,
Little Owl , Meadow Pipit,  Oystercatcher ,  Purple Sandpiper,  Ringed Plover, Sedge Warbler , Song Thrush , Starling , Swallow , Whimbrel ,Willow Warbler ,Wren

A total of 46 Species

Cadoxton Ponds – WeBS count and other species

Just Mallard, Canada Goose, Mute Swan and Tufted Duck on this morning’s BTO WeBS count at Cadoxton Ponds. Twenty five other species recorded included 5 Cetti’s Warbler, singing Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler, and a Sedge Warbler in song flight. The swift caller on the new swift tower seems to be working well. There were 5 Swift over Cadoxton seen from the reserve, along with 2 House Martin and 3 Swallow.

Pwll Waun Cynon NR

My first visit here for the GBC Willow Tit survey [in fact first time ever]. SAdly no Willow Tit this time. Only tits seen were 3 Coal Tit. The small lake had 2 pairs of Mallard with 9 and 5 ducklings, 1 ad Little Grebe, 2 Coot, a pair of Teal asleep at the edge. Passerines comprised, inter alia, 4 singing Blackcap, 6+ Blackbirds, pr of Dunnock displaying and another carrying food, and singing Whitethroat. Leps comprised Orange Tip Small Tort and Speckled Wood. An interesting little reserve tucked away by the railway line.

GBC Field Trip to Cefn Cadlan and Cwm Cadlan

Many thanks to John Wilson for leading Sunday’s GBC field trip to Cefn Cadlan and Cwm Cadlan, and to all 22 participants who came along on a warm, sunny day.

In total 38 bird species were seen or heard, including Cuckoo, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Red Kite, Peregrine, Kestrel and Wheatear.

Possibly the most surprising record of the trip was Yellowhammer, almost completely absent from North Glamorgan during the latest BTO breeding season Atlas survey:

Full species list: Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo, Swift, Green Woodpecker, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Wren, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Redstart, Stonechat, Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

Neath canal

pair of swans with nine cygnets by the metal box factory one of the swans has a very small metal ring on its leg can’t make out any numbers ,also seen were young moorhen on the saltmarsh behind square pond were 32 wood pigeons


The house martins seem not to have returned. I was surveying them last year for BTO, there were at least half a dozen nests and a dozen or so adults. I didn’t see if any fledged, but for seemingly none at all to have returned would be very worrying. Anyone else reported a lack of house martins so far this summer? Could they still be on their way?

Lavernock Reserve & Cosmeston

At Lavernock reserve: 4 Magpie, 7 Blackbird, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Blackcap, 4 House Sparrow, 1 Chiffchaff, Dunnock, 3 Robin, 10 Jackdaw, Wren, 2 Crow, 2 Swallow. Then Leps were – 3 Orangetip, 2 Speckled Wood, 4 Holly Blue, 1 Brimstone, 2 Large White. Finally I saw 1 Early Purple Orchid in flower in the wood and there were a few nice patches of Cowslips. At Cosmeston it was pretty quiet – distinct lack of birdsong everywhere. A Moorhen pair have 3 small chicks in the green weedy pool at the start of the Med. Village boardwalk. The Mallard pair on the dipping pond are down to 1 duckling out of an original 6. A Common Blue Damselfly there. 2 Greylags on W lake and 1 Tufty lingering. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the W paddock hedgerow.

Heol y Cyw

Cuckoo in the garden today. It didn’t dwell, moving through fairly quickly from south to north and on up towards the hills. Much later than last year. Garden warbler has been in an area of gorse and scrub on the edge of the wood for a week now. Very happy to have chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap and garden warbler all present.
Swallows and house martins today. 2 raven and 3 common buzzard over.

St David’s Vale

This morning, Ceri Jones and I did a recce of this site, north of Abergavenny, in advance of the club trip there on 23rd May. Some good sightings including Whinchat, Cuckoo, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit and Curlew. We had expected Pied Flycatcher and Red Grouse but sadly there was no sign of either. It was probably a bit early for Spotted Flycatcher but the site looks promising.