2 Kingfishers from the main bridge y’day and 1 this morning. Max 22 B-h Gulls recently including at least 2 this years imm. Reed Wblr at the dipping pond this a.m. GC Grebe with 1 fully grown imm still with stripey head. Water Vole v brief appearance at the dipping pond this morning. Also an amazing carving recently installed near the dipping pond, carved out of a single tree.

Peterston Moors R. Ely valley

On Weds 11th Jul 15 GBC members had a morning walk through Lanlay Meadows NT and on to Peterston Moors (R. Ely floodplain) near Peterston-super-Ely.  It was very hot and humid in overcast conditions.  We saw 32 species in all, highlights of which were 2 Green Sandpipers, adult Grey Wagtails with young, Sand Martins entering nest holes in the sandy river banks, and exc views of Red Kite, Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk. The full list ca be seen by clicking here.

Cosmeston – last couple of days

Today there were 9 Black-headed Gulls on W lake posts including 2 of this years juvs. The Canada Goose pair have lost 1 of their 3 goslings but the remaining 2 are quite large now. Silver ‘Y’ moths seen this a.m. plus Comma. 2 Days ago there were 20 or so each of House and Sand Martin feeding over the upper dovecote field, plus a few Swift. Here’s a few recent photos:


A nice find [and my first there since 2007] was this Cuckoo on the posts of the ‘snipe’paddock’ fence this morning. Also fem Mallard with 8 v small ducklings on W lake, and 7 Black-headed Gulls on the W lake posts, the first for me since the winter. Also v annoyed to see that some morons have chucked the life belts back into the lake, 2 days after they had been retrieved and put back on the holders by the park staff.IMG_6772 copy


Pretty quiet at Cossie this morning due to the heat I guess. Did see one of the Kingfisher pair from the main bridge plus the pr of GC Grebes with 2 now pretty advanced young. Other wildlife included several Emperor dragonflies ovipositing at the dipping pond, and a Comma sunning on the path through Cogan Wood. Several Swift were over the meadow by Sully Brook with a few Swallows.

Bargoed & Cefn Gelligaer

11 hardy souls faced the all day drizzle and had a long walk around the NW Bargoed area including Cefn Gelligaer, thanks to Club member Lee Taswell showing us round his local patch. Despite the weather we saw 42 species, although Cuckoo was only heard. Highlights included at least 3 Common Redstart including a juv bird, 2 male Whinchats, 3 Red Kite, Tree Pipits, a Curlew display flighting, lots of Skylarks, Green Woodpecker and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and quite a few young birds including Stonechat, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin. A fly by flock of 4 Stock Dove were also noted. Many thanks to Lee. Full list will be added to the GBC trip lists page shortly.

Odd Green Woodpecker[s] at Cosmeston

A follow up re my melanistic Green Woodpecker of 8th Jun. I thought I had it again today when a dark looking Green Pecker came & landed on a post by the dragonfly pond at Cossie, whilst I was sitting on the bench opposite. Hence I got a better shot and I think it’s a different bird, but still with unusually dark plumage for a Green Pecker. I’ve posted both photos here to compare. The second one is clearly a male and does have some green tinges on the upper parts but there’s still a lot of very dark plumage there. Any thoughts? Agree they re diff birds? Top bird today, bottom bird was on the 8th. Comments on FB agree they’re different.

2 Melanistic pecker IImelanistic green pecker IMG_6566


I rec’d an email tonight re a bird someone saw in a street in Ely – Cardiff at 1:05 a.m. Sun morning when he returned home from work. He didn’t know what it was and showed his pal today, who ID’d it and emailed me. Night-heron in a street!! – incredible. It’s prob gone now to find somewhere with water, but I’ve asked for more detail if poss. I would guess nearest water would be R. Ely?image1


There were 7 adult Gt Crested Grebes present today, including the pair with 1 young. One of the Kingfisher adults was fishing from the horizontal dead tree on E lake, viewed from the main bridge. A Common Whitethroat as doing its full fluttering song flight by the dipping pond.


An additional bird from yesterday which I forgot to post here, was this melanistic Green Woodpecker which I saw briefly in the ‘snipe paddock’ in the morning. Pretty unusual I think – certainly generated a lot of interest on social media.

melanistic green pecker IMG_6566

Cardiff Bay & Barrage

Wet walk across the barrage & back this morning. Wet weather had brought the Swifts down, although not as many as one would hope – I guestimate 30+, some flying across the barrage at head height. Similar with Sand Martins and a few House Martin, a number of the former landing to rest on the pontoons by the environment building. A pair of Ravens were sitting on the railings by the ‘sails’, and there were a number of Pied Wags including juvs.

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.

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.

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.


An adult Grey Heron was on the far side of W lake. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing and seen briefly by the high level path that runs behind the far side of W lake and a Common Whitethroat seems to have territory by the dipping pond – the photo below is of that individual. A pair of Mallards were on the dipping pool 2 days ago with 6 small ducklings – this morning they were already down to two [mum + 1 below]. I wonder what’s taking them. In the band of trees between the dragonfly pond and Cogan Wood proper, there a a lot of Common Spotted Orchid leaf bracts so it will be a really good show in there when they finally produce flower spikes.


Got back from Cosmeston this morning to find a Goldfinch on the brick pillar at the entrance to our drive. Kept hovering under the overhang of the topping stone. Grabbed the camera from the car boot and shot off a few shots w/o checking settings. It was apparently grabbing spider webs from under the overhang then puling them apart on the top to get at the little spiders inside. I there were 2, and I think they are nesting somewhere nearby. The pics are more or less in sequence. Click on the thumbnails for the full sized images.

Cosmeston a.m.

Pretty quiet again. There was a pair of Jays coming down to the edge of Mile Road near the bridge, being unusually confiding, and caught in the act of collecting nest material [it’s not often you can report probable breeding of Jay]. A drake Pochard in W lake bay was a little unexpected at this time of year. In the long narrow meadow by Sully Brook [beyond the Dovecote field gate], there were 2 Common Whitethroats, one of which I managed to grab a shot of in song [pretty hefty crop tho’], and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing there too.

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay late afternoon from W side of the bay just along from Prospect Place/The Watermark flats: 2 Arctic Tern, 3 Common Tern, 1 stunning Ad summer Little Gull, plus 1000+ hirundines over the water, mostly Sand Martin & Swallow 50/50 approx, but with a few [say 30] House Martin, and a lot of Swift as I arrived [c.100] mostly high but as I left starting to fly low over the water.