Monday, 31 October 2016

Middleton and Gower

Eddie Hunter had found a probable Hume's Warbler in a garden in Middleton, Rhossili on Friday, it was confirmed on Sunday from excellent photos from Jeff Slocombe posted on the web. So today I went down for a look after the rush hour traffic in Swansea. Arrived about 1215ish. Bird showed in the garden almost immediately but than disappeared for a while. A few other birders were present, I heard the distinctive call further up the lane and saw a small warbler flit across the sycamores at Middleton farm, but then it was found again back at the original garden some 100metres apart. So there maybe more than one bird. The views were pretty good [about 15yds away] and it called occasionally to confirm its ID. Also present in the village was a fem/1wp Black Redstart on the village hall roof.

Black Redstart not playing ball

After this I went for a walk around Mewslade Valley to check out any late flowering Ivy for hoverflies but all the Ivy had already gone over. But did mange to see some lingering species, all common.

Platycheirus albimanus

Called it a day around 3 and started home but took the scenic route and stopped off for pasties in Penclawdd and parked up at the pill to eat them. Usual stuff present like Little Egret, Redshank and Teal. One of the gulls had a Darvic ring on its left leg. So I photographed it and reported it when I got home. An almost instantaneous reply revealed that it had been ringed as a chick at Marsh Lane Nature Reserve near Coventry on 7th June 2016 and was the third time it had been reported from this site, which is 116 miles from its birth place.

 2BLN - 1st winter Black Headed Gull [147 days old]

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Top Llan - bad timing

A walk around top Llangynwyd had to be aborted when the quiet country lanes turned into the M4 after a crash at Coytrahen blocked the main road into Maesteg. Not much in the way of birds, only record of note was a late Platycheirus albimanus on a very late flowering Hogweed plant. First roadkill Hedgehog of the winter was seen at Waun-y-Gilfach and looked like a fresh kill, with blood still weeping out of the carcass, just bad-timing to cross the road with the crash traffic.

Platycheirus albimanus - some males tend to have yellowish markings on the abdomen, contrary to the grey spotted females.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Norfolk/East Yorkshire weekend

Spent the weekend birdwatching away with C. Gittins and P. Parsons on the east coast. This wasn't our normal weekend away where we try to see as many birds as possible, due to the fact that a run of easterly winds had dumped a large number of rarities/scarcities on the east coast, but we still managed a respectable total of 117 birds for the trip [113 in Norfolk]. Some of the scarcer birds are listed below.

Honey Buzzard - flyover - Wells Woods, Norfolk

Caspian Gull - Cley Marshes, Norfolk

Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, East Yorkshire

Siberian Accentor - Easington, East Yorkshire - 2nd for Britain

Olive-backed Pipit - 2 - Wells Woods, Norfolk

Barred Warbler - Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

Radde's Warbler - Wareham's Green, Norfolk

Yellow-browed Warbler -  2 - Wells Woods, 1- Wareham's Green, 2- Titchwell [All Norfolk]

Pallas's Warbler - Wells Woods, Norfolk

Firecrest - 2 - Wells Woods, Norfolk

Other highlights included - Marsh Harrier, Redstart, Lesser Redpoll, Egyptian Goose, Brambling, Red Kite, Brent Goose, White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Little Egret, Redwing, Fieldfare, Yellowhammer, Garden Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Greenshank, Ruff, Bearded Tit, Red-legged Partridge, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Pintail, Avocet, Kingfisher, Northern Wheatear, Peregrine and Crossbill.

 Greylag Goose
 Little Egret
Siberian Accentor - 2nd for Britain, following one at Shetlands on Thursday

Also saw quite a few other bits and bobs including - Stoat, Hare, Grey Squirrel, Muntjac Deer, Common Seal, Devil's Coach Horse [beetle], Red Admiral, Red-tailed Bumblebee and Hawthorn Shieldbug.

Grey Squirrel
Hawthorn Shieldbug

A few species of hoverflies were still on the wing, recorded 8 species, the best being Eupeodes luniger and Syrphus ribesii.

 Eupeodes luniger
 Syrphus ribesii
 Helophilus pendulus
 Eristalis tenax
 Melanostoma scalare
dusk at Cley Marshes

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Llangynwyd Lanes

Walked the lanes from Llangynwyd to Moel Sychbant stopping at patches of Ivy with sunlight. 16 species of hoverfly still on the wing, but nothing unusual. Red Admiral and Speckled Wood still feeding on Ivy, nothing much on the bird front except a pair of Jay and post breeding flocks of Linnet [65] and Starling [110].

 Xylota segnis
 Sericomyia silentis
 Helophilus pendulus
Huge bumblebee, probably Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Halfway House revisited

With all the fine weather, thought I'd give the Ivy another shot this afternoon to see if anything had changed. Numbers had taken a 60% dive, but the actual number of hoverfly species had gone up from 16 to 19, with late records for Chrysotoxum bicinctum and Xylota sylvarum being the highlight. Most common species were Platycheirus albimanus [30] and Eristalis tenax [25]. Other insects were sparse except for 16 Red Admiral which is a good count for the time of year. Honey Bees had dropped from 130 to 25, but I did have singles of Common Carder Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

 Red Admiral - 16 present on Ivy
 Syritta pipiens
 Xylota sylvarum
Eristalis arbustorum

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Half-way House Ivy blossom, Llangynwyd

Nice to have a bit of sunshine for a change as the past week has been dire. The Ivy blossom at the half-way house on the way to top Llangynwyd is just coming into bloom and is probably the best Ivy patch in the valley, with a solid 30yds of it along the path just below the house. It will probably be in bloom for a month and is the last chance for getting late insects. Used to come here while moth recording and get a lot of autumnal species just after dark. During the day it is noteworthy for late insects coming to feed from the nearby wood. Today was no different, with 130+ Honey Bee's being joined by 16 species of Hoverfly with large numbers of both Eristalis pertinax [60+] and Eristalis tenax [90+]. There were also an assortment of other insects, the highlights being three species of butterfly - Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Small White as well as a Hawthorn Shieldbug. The Ivy at Lletty Brongu Woods and Darren Woods are earlier bloomers and have now gone over, so wont be going there again this year for insects.

 Rhingia campestris
 Syrphus ribesii
 Eristalis nemorum
 Eristalis pertinax
 Eristalis tenax
 Helophilus pendulus
 Sericomyia silentis
 7-spot Ladybird
 Hawthorn Shieldbug
 Noon Fly
Small White