Friday, 25 March 2016

Valley today

First Chiffchaff of the year for me in full song at Bryn Cynan, Llangynwyd. Otherwise a flock of 40 Fieldfare containing 2 Redwing were in trees around the houses at Waun-y-Gilfach, Llangynwyd. Lots of Skylark, Raven and Buzzard in the air at My. Ty Talwyn and a couple of Red Kite were seen around the valley. This will be the last report of Red Kite until the autumn in-case any of the birds decide to stay and breed.

No hoverflies today but did have White-tailed and Tree Bumblebee.

Buzzard - strutting its stuff while worming
Red Kite patrolling

Monday, 21 March 2016

Some Dragonflies from Gambia 2016

 Black Percher [male]
 Black Percher [female]
 Broad Scarlet [male]
 Broad Scarlet [female]
 Epaulet Skimmer
Tawny Spreadwing

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Not much in the way of birds except 2 pairs of Siskin, male Sparrowhawk and pair of  Raven.

More of an insect day with three hoverfly species seen in Melanostoma scalare [1] being first of the year, Others were Eristalis pertinax [8] and Eristalis tenax [1].

Other insects included an Early Mining Andrena Bee, Bloody-nosed Beetle [complete with bloody nose, which is a defence mechanism against predators - in this case a Robin that had flipped it over as I approached.] and a Green Tiger Beetle.

No new species of flower in bloom.

 Melanostoma scalare -with a black scutellum and tergites [segments] of the abdomen longer than they are wide. Melanostoma mellinum has tergites that are square.

 Eristalis pertinax - pale tarsus [feet] on front and middle legs seperates this from other species of Eristalis.

 Early Mining Andrena Bee - first to emerge of the Solitary Bees.

 Bloody-nosed Beetle - complete with bloody nose

 Bloody-nosed Beetle the right way up

Green Tiger Beetle

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Caeau forestry areas

Had a walk around Caerau Forestry today in the hope of finding a Great Grey Shrike but to no avail. In fact there wasn't too many birds to see at all. Raven, Buzzard in the air, 4prs of Crossbill dotted around, 3 sightings of Green Woodpecker were probably the same bird as it was in company with a male Blackbird each time even though sightings were a mile apart. Low numbers of common birds like Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.

The only highlights being 4 Eristalis tenax basking and feeding on Dandelion along the forestry roads.

Few flowers starting to bloom though in Dandelion, Buttercup, Coltsfoot and Gorse [all yellow] plus Daisy [white]. The three Alpaca at Blaencaerau Farm are still going strong and survived their first Welsh Winter.

 Eristalis tenax
The  Black and White Alpaca Show

Monday, 14 March 2016

Around the valley today

Sunny but a brisk cold wind didn't seem to bother the birds too much. Saw 4 pairs of Red Kite at various sites today. Rooks have started building nests at Garth & Caerau. Even saw my firsts of the year in 2 Small Tortoiseshell [butterfly] and 2 Eristalis pertinax [Hoverfly]. Dippers and Grey Wagtails were back at their territories and displaying. Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrest were nest building down the sewage works and at Top Llan between the Waun-y-Gilfach Houses and My. Baeden were 21 Buzzard including one pale morph and one dark morph. 27 Fieldfare, 21 Starling and 51 Stock Dove were in the fields, supported by 60 Linnet, 34 Chaffinch and 2 Reed Bunting. A male Sparrowhawk flew through briefly. A group of 13 Magpies at Lletty Farm was unusual and the sewage works Pied Wagtail flock was quite low in only 60 birds. No sign of any summer visitors/passage migrants yet though.

10 of the 13 Magpie at Lletty Brongu Farm
 Grey Wagtail

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Gambia 2016

I've uploaded a trip report and photos to the trip report section on the  top right hand side of the home page.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Gambia 2016

Back from 8 days in Gambia, saw 232 species of birds, 71 were ticks, plus lots of other things. I'll add a trip report, checklist and photos shortly. Here's a taste of what was seen.

 Fine-spotted Woodpecker
 Elegant Acrea
 Callithrix Monkey
Nile Monitor