Finally got out into the fresh air today, feeling much better. Emma and I took a stroll at The Wilderness in Porthcawl. Fresh and cold and blue skies after a frost, the pool was mostly frozen but still good numbers of birds there, a Little Grebe (only the 2nd I’ve seen there), Grey Heron, 8 Shoveler, 2 Goosander, 45 Black-headed Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit a Redwing, 4 Goldfinch and a Bullfinch. 5 Grey Geese flew over calling heading for Rest Bay, probably Greylags. Looked for the regular Curlew flock who were partially out of sight at Manor Court Farm, at least 20, probably more.
Its been very wet lately and numbers of Starling in the murmuration and roosting have been much lower, peaking at 12,000 last week. This evening proceedings got underway at about 4.45pm and by 5pm there were approx. 5,000 birds in one tight flock, first hit by a Peregrine and then at least one Sparrowhawk. The murmurations always get better and better with more aerobatics after raptors turn up. All birds roosted by 5.15, again in garden Cypress trees between Broadlands and Oaklands Road.
At 7.50 this morning the sound was incredible as at least 10,000 Starling left the main roost in Oaklands Road to head east. Later a superb murmuration of at least 12,000 Starling this evening between 4.20 and 5 pm. They did not all roost in one place this evening, using cypress type trees in several gardens. There were still several hundred flying around preparing to roost at 5.10pm in near darkness.
Last night was an amazing spectacle over our neighbourhood in Bridgend. Approximately 10,000 quickly massed and performed superbly ranging over to the Broadlands and back by 4.30pm before roosting in Cypress Trees (just visible in the 2nd photo) between 4.35 and 4.45pm. They all seem to come in from the east, perhaps feeding out in the Vale by day? They quickly left the roost at dawn/8.00am and headed off east. This is a new phenomenon in the neighbourhood and began with just 500 at New Year’s Day. We had about 1,000 during the snows several years ago in a slightly different location with less trees but only for a week or two.
Tonight’s murmurations were a little later but eventually at least 6,500 birds roosted in Cypress/leylandii trees between Oaklands Road and Broadlands. Only a couple of weeks ago there were just 500! Quite a spectacle, I wonder how big the flock will get? …….
Tonight’s murmuration mainly over Oaklands Road was an impressive sight with more aerobatics. Most of the birds appeared to mass on wires south of Broadlands before heading over here. It was enlivened by a Sparrowhawk successfully attacking the flock and knocking a bird which it took after it plunged into a local garden. There were 2,000 Starling together at one stage and the majority of them dropped into conifers between Oaklands Road and Broadlands between 1625-1635h.
Just enjoyed watching 2,000 Starling going to roost in conifers between Oaklands Road and Broadlands, Bridgend. The flock had been slowly building up in number over the past couple of weeks and fragments have been performing aerobatics this evening. Most of them seem to come in from the south east gradually from about 4.15pm, settling in by about 4.45 usually. The sound right now is amazing and I’m only about several hundred yards away looking down on them.
I popped down to check for these at midday, ran into Rob Jones (@glambirder) and by about 1245h they flew in from the east with some Canada Geese. They were wary but eventually swam out and waddled onto the north shore and walked up the field. They look to be albifrons race. The south side of the hedge overlooking north shore was a good hide to pop a few record shots off. Still present at 1400h.
A short visit between 0900-1000. The two Slavonian Grebes are still present in south pool area. A Whooper Swan dropped to join 7 Wigeon and a variety of other duck, but was flushed by a fisherman at 1000 and flew off toward Margam Park. A Black-tailed Godwit continues to feed along the east pool shore. Apart from that several mobile Mistle Thrushes and a Chiffchaff were in south pool bushes.
Six Hawfinches were still present today mainly in the Orangery / Margam Park area, but close and viewable from the SE corner of Margam Abbey graveyard. They were mainly feeding quite low down in deciduous trees, calling intermittently and also mobile at times giving good flight views and record shot opportunities. Photos by Emma Cram.
I popped in to the graveyard between 1 and 2pm this afternoon on the off chance of Hawfinches still being there. I ran into PH who had been seeing up to 4 birds up in the pines before 1pm and also into the yew at the eastern end of the graveyard that borders Margam Park. After 1pm I could hear at least two calling birds occasionally but did manage two good flight views of at least one bird. I think a good tactic may be to also access via Margam Park as a lot of the calls I heard seemed to be coming from the park side of the wall. Also present is a nice mobile flock of 20+ Greenfinches, 2+ Siskin, 10+ Redwing and 10+ Mistle Thrush and also 2 Goldcrest and 2 Nuthatch.
Apologies for late posting here, both Emma and I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler calling several times in the bushes to the rear of Frankie and Benny’s in Landore, Swansea yesterday evening about 5pm. It was with a tit flock, but we didn’t manage to see it as the weather was foul! Plenty of habitat down there especially along the Tawe and to the south and east of the Liberty Stadium nearby.
A short seawatch between 0900-1015 saw Emma and myself strike lucky with 10 Leach’s Petrel down-channel, getting closer as the wind pushed them in towards Hutchwns Point. Also noted 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Guillemot, 1Common Gull and 4 Skylark. We believe NPR also managed to see 1 between Ogmore and Southerndown.
Emma, James and I popped down this evening at about 6pm to check out the Grey Phalarope and there were two waiting for us along with The Wader! Adult winter and juvenile moulting to first winter. The adult appeared to give “peep” call as the juvenile flew toward it (markedly smaller). It did make us wonder if it is parent and young? Regardless, I have a funny feeling there are more of this species to be found around the county!
Whilst carrying out a WCBS (Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey) in the square, I noticed 4 Spotted Flycatcher feeding in the woods overlooking the River Ogmore. This was at about 1350h when a very brief light rain shower sent me a present in the form of 2 Yellow Wagtail low over calling, heading towards Merthyr Mawr. The survey itself was uneventful just a few Small White, Large White and a Speckled Wood, the highlight being two cracking Beautiful Demoiselle flying low along the Ewenny near Cobbles.
Encouraged to count at least 18 Swift this morning over the River Ogmore in Bridgend Town Centre this morning. All feeding between the Church and the Council Offices. We counted 20 on arrival last month, so very good news indeed.
A short seawatch 0535-0705 this morning off Irongate point in strong WNW winds at high tide produced the following all flying down-channel: 4 Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, 1 Fulmar, 1 GBB Gull and the highlight a Storm Petrel from 0615 which was lingering close in a few hundred yards off the shelter. Several Starling, House Sparrow and Linnet were nearby and a Siskin flew over calling.
A short seawatch in strong westerlies with blustery showers produced the following all down channel: 430 Manx Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, 1 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 6 Common Scoter and 6 Kittiwake.
41 species recorded on this mornings late visit to the square, taking the species total to 50 for both visits, slightly down on last year but was very pleased to add a singing Spotted Flycatcher which is new for the square. It was quiet at Watermill itself, just Crows and a couple of Canada Geese, but a few Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers were singing closeby. Sand Martins appear to be doing well in two different colonies. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers as well as a Kingfisher were noted at Coed Pwll-y-flew as were a surprise Red Fox and two lovely Beautiful Demoiselle dragonflies.
A Little Tern flew south / up-channel at the north end of Lock’s Common at 0815. A lovely fresh morning with very light southerlies, the only other birds of note were 15 immature Gannet also u/c. No waders, so maybe a clear out overnight. A male Wheatear was present and fledged Starlings were present in places.