Saturday, 14 October 2017

Welsh Twitching

A few rare birds for Wales and Britain have turned up the last few days. So Colin, Sid and myself did a bit of twitching.

 13th October - Common Rock Thrush - 3rd record for Wales and British lifer for me [photo by permission from Colin Gittins] @ Pwll Du quarry, Blorenge, Gwent
14th October - American Golden Plover - Welsh tick for me - Gann Estuary, Pembrokeshire.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Halfway House. Llangynwyd Ivy now blooming

Some fine weather had me visiting again the Ivy Bank at the Halfway House on the way up to Llangynwyd. This time it was in full bloom. I recorded 11 species of Hoverfly, which is a good count for the time of year. There was also a little bit of Common Ragwort and Devil's Bit Scabious along the path. The Rhingia rostrata was still present, other good late records included 3 Sericomyia silentis, 3 Syrphus ribesii and 2 Helophilus pendulus.

 Sericomyia silentis
Helophilus pendulus

The other feature at this time of year are the moth leaf mines which become more noticeable with less greenery about. I have ID'd a few today including these below.

 Stigmella Tityrella on Beech
 underside of Hart's-tongue fern showed feeding signs of Psychoides verhuella/ filicivora - probably verhuella

Also present around the Ivy was 10+ Red Admiral and amongst the 30+ Honey Bee were 2 Ivy Bee a recent colonist of the valley.

 Red Admiral
Ivy Bee

From here I went up My. Ty Talwyn hoping for some bird migration, but the area was virtually void of birds. So I moved down to Parc Slip nature reserve and fared not much better, with the highlights being 1 Wigeon and 2 Eurasian Teal on the main pool. There was also a single Southern Hawker dragonfly but no hoverflies.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Some scenic shots from South Africa

 Augrabies waterfall - nearly dry because of drought
 Blue Moon Bay Hotel Gardens, Saldanha
 Endless Karoo near Poffadder
 Cape of Good Hope - Atlantic Ocean
 Cape of Good Hope - Indian Ocean [take from same spot]
 The Iconic sign

 Klein Cedarberg at dusk and my chalet
 Ceres escarpment
 Kgalagadi at dawn
 Kgalagadi red sand
 Klein Cedarberg main complex
 Cedarberg rock paintings
Table Mountain complete with tablecloth

Cape Town area

We spent the last three days of our trip around the Cape Town/False Bay area and visited The Cape Of Good Hope, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Strandfontein Sewage Works, Gordon's Bay promontory, Stony Point Penguin Reserve, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and even went on a Pelagic Trip [although this wasn't one of my highlights due to sea-sickness 2 1/2hrs into a 9hr trip].

 African Penguin
 Booted Eagle
 Cape Cormorant
 Cape and Bank Cormorant
 Cape Francolin
 Cape Rockjumper
 Cape Sugarbird
 Cape Teal
 Cape White-eye
 Crowned Cormorant [immature -I think]
 Egyptian Goose
 Orange-breasted Sunbird
 Red-winged Starling
 Rock Kestrel
 Southern Boubou
 Spotted Eagle-Owl
 Spotted Thick-knee - keeping an eye on me while facing the other way
 Southern Double-collared Sunbird
 White-breasted Cormorant
Helmeted Guineafowl

South West lowlands

This area covered comprises of Bontebok NP, Angulhas farm fields, Potberg escarpment and Da Hoop NP, which lie to the east of the Cape by about 200kms. All the areas have their specialist birds and we saw them all. Bontebok NP in particular was magical, with birds around the river plentiful and some quite rare for the area.

 Black-headed Heron
 Blue Crane
 Brown Hooded Kingfisher

 Malachite Sunbird
 Martial Eagle - immature
 Southern Red Bishop
 Olive Pigeon

 Brown-throated Martin
 Great Double-collared Sunbird
Hartlaub's Gull
Yellow-billed Duck