Pretty blustery this morning. c.20 Sand Martin, 1 Swift and a few Swallows feeding over W lake, Green ‘Pecker calling from nr Medieval Village, a few butterflies despite the wind – Meadow Brown, 6-Spot Burnet moth x 2, Small Skipper, Ringlet, and 1 Common Blue.
This evening’s GBC/RSPB walk [18th Jul] to see the swift tower and to learn a bit about the project, was well attended with 25 participants, for which thanks folks. We started at the Penarth end and Alan Rosney have a short introduction. Then we walked slowly across to the Cardiff side, and saw a number of Swift which gradually drifted higher and towards upper Penarth. A Raven was on the Bay shoreline. Across the other side we assembled by the tower, which is just beyond the environment building, and Alan talked in more detail about the project and its aims, and how the tower is set up, and also what other actions are being taken to encourage swifts to nest in our area. Afterwards, we went further along to the old Roath Basin dock where the Sand Martin colony was still pretty active. We also saw 2 Peregrines flying past over the channel, and some pretty large gatherings of Starlings [max one was about 100 birds]. Also in the shoreline bushes a Common Whitethroat gave good views as it scolded a tabby cat. An impressive ‘sun dog’ in the clouds, and a stunning sunset concluded a very pleasant evening.
A few from a quick visit this morning. A couple of Tufted Duck [not photo’d] were a reminder that autumn is coming soon. There were three ad Little Grebes which was quite interesting. I have only been aware of 1 pair and there was an imm bird the other day. Other than that there an imm Crow ‘playing’ with a bit of old black plastic tubing in E paddock [see pic]. The awful pic was taken 2 days ago when I saw an ad Song Thrush feeding three fully grown young. Unfortunately the camera was on the wrong setting when I grabbed the pic and came out completely under-exposed, but I managed to recover a rather grainy image.
Don’t forget our evening walk this evening across Cardiff Bay barrage, starting at 7 p.m. at the Penarth end car park, in partnership with RSPB. Basically a walk to introduce folk to the Swift Tower and to get an insight into what’s behind the Swift Project, how it is hoped the tower and other projects will help, and hopefully see a few Swifts and whatever else might be about.
Glamorgan Bird Club had a successful trip to Dare Valley CP yesterday with 20 participants. Typically for July there wasn’t a lot of bird activity but highlights over and above ‘common’ birds were in threes: 3 Peregrines putting on a good show, 3 Kingfishers at the main lake, and 3 Little Grebe families – an Ad and a juv on the main, middle, lake and remarkably 2 ads wit a total of 6 small young on the small upper lake. We had a few brief fly-over Redpoll and Siskin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, Swifts over the distant houses and a good number of House Martins feeding over the lake.
Excellent GBC field trip to Carms today enjoyed by 19 participants, visiting Kidwelly Quay, Pembrey Harbour and Penclaccwydd WWT. 50+ species seen. Highlights – 4 Common Sandpiper, 6 Greenshank and approx 100 Redshank at Kidwelly, plus a distant Gannet, 100+ Curlew and a Whimbrel. A Shelduck crêche of an ad with 30+ ducklings, plus some common passerines. At Pembrey Harbour just 1 Sandwich Tern but 100+ Mediterranean Gulls!, but a couple of Marbled White butterflies were lifers for some, and a Painted Lady there. Also there 100+ Sand Martin were on the beach for a while then all took off. At Penclaccwydd 4 Spoonbill of which two were unusually active [for Spoonbills!], then approx 100 Black-tailed Godwit flying in to the lagoon behind the main hide was spectacular and warranted a celebratory cuppa and piece of cake at the café.
Noted a pair of Goldfinch this morning at the far entrance to Cogan Wood, one of which was carrying nest material. Took some shots of a LBBG coming dome for bread thrown down for the crows by my pal Lindsay who some folk may know – he walks round every day feeding the crows at various points, and they know him well. Quite a few butterflies on the wing – plenty of Ringlets, a single washed out Painted Lady, Red Admiral, and the fem Large Skipper shown.
Having been noticeable by their apparent absence for some time, it seems a Little Grebe pair have bred by the W lake – an adult was feeding a juv on the far side this morning. Pic is a huge crop. Also the GC Grebe ‘humbug’ is doing well.
At Cossie a couple of days ago, 3 different Cetti’s warblers singing in the E lake reed area from three different positions. There has been song from nest the cafe for most of the last month or two. I suspect a pair have bred but of course no proof. Have not seen one on any visit but just heard.
Yesterday a Kingfisher was sitting in the fallen dead tree on E lake shore visible from the main bridge. Today in W paddock, a group of juv birds – Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and Dunnock. Song Thrush and 4 Goldfinch there and one Song Thrush in Cogan Wood, juv Blackbird in Cogan Wood, 6 Swift over W lake plus a few Sand Martins. 3 Rook flew over W paddock – not often seen at Cossie
Poss male Golden Oriole seen today nr the butterfly hide – per Facebook. Folk going to check tomorrow.
Don’t forget the GBC SGM this evening where we wind up the current charity and launch the new CIO [charitable incorporated organisation]. The formalities won’t take too long as there are no elections or anything of that sort. Just Chairperson’s report and short address and Treasurer’s report. There will be cakes! and a couple of raffle prizes. KNNR centre at 7:45
3 Swifts were over St. Agustine’s Church Penarth this eve while I was waiting for the Bonaparte’s Gull at Prospect Place. Waited until 8 p.m. when I left Phil Bristow and Graham Smith still looking. Got home to a tweet that it had arrived to roost at 8.08 p.m.!! Oh well, c’est la vie …. grrrrr!
Several swifts have been reported this morning.
A first winter Bonaparte’s Gull was seen and videoed in Cardiff Bay this evening. Seen from the ice rink boardwalk.
Just before the rain came in, managed to connect with at least 4 Whimbrel on the beach rocks at high tide, plus 6 Oycs. Jeff Curtis had a brief fem Wigeon on E lake at Cosmeston but it had gone by the time I got there.
Nice surprise this morning when looking for Common and Lesser Whitethroat down by Sully Brook – looked up to see what I thought were 2 high gulls, then the flight of one drew my attention – bins up and wow! male Hen Harrier circling high overhead! A first for me for the site. Panic stations with the camera and shot off a load of manual focus shots [it was v high] but got a couple of passable ones that show it wasn’t Monty’s. Pix later. Dipped on the Whitethroats but what the hell! Original taken with Canon EOS80D with 100-400mm MKII plus x1.4 converter MKIII at 400mm and man focus! It was v high!
Delayed Willow Tit survey visit a.m. No Willow Tits but Dipper & 3 Kingfishers on the river, Treecreeper and singing Blackcap of note.
Walked across the barrage and back this morning. On the way out the Common Tern was feeding mid-bay with 100’s if not 1000’s of Black-headed Gulls at around 12:00. Returning, eventually found the Tern again, plus and AdS Med Gull and also a 1st yr ‘W’ winged Little Gull. Pretty hard work picking them out with just bins but good practice!
Last few days – A Cetti’s Warbler has been singing for 3 consecutive days in the E lake reeds area. Yesterday there were 50+ Sand Martin over the lakes plus a couple of House Martin. Today just a single Swallow and Sand Martin. The Kingfisher was sitting outside the nest bank on E lake, same place as on 12th Apr. The Coot’s nest at the dragonfly pond was devoid of life as was the pond itself. Can’t help thinking the nest was predated. Very quiet on the small bird front due to the strong cold wind.
Interesting sight on W lake where an occupied Mute Swan nest is within a couple of feet of an occupied Gt Crested Grebe nest [far side of W lake].