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Post Info TOPIC: Glamorgan


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RE: Glamorgan


To all intents & purposes our holiday was over but a lucky break gave us one last afternoon out! We headed back this morning to Glamorgan to my In-laws and by chance a rarity had dropped in down the road yesterday pm. We headed down the Gower to near Llanrhidian and soon found the small moorland location where our target was showing atop a telegraph pole, a stunning adult male Woodchat Shrike. We watched it catch insect prey and it came pretty close to our viewing point on the roadside. As usual there was always one person pushing it too far, a photographer turned up & started tape luring. I never saw him but was told after we had left otherwise I would have said something! After he started the bird flew off & ended up far from the road, which is when we left. What a great bird to end the holiday on.... probably!

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Just stayed local today. Started off going onto Rhumney Great Wharf because the tide was high, giving the chance of waders being pushed up closer to the sea wall. After a short walk our reward was a group of 8 Whimbrel, but no sooner had we found them than they were flushed by dogwalkers. Given that the dogs were running along the shoreline we decided to give up. Later on we checked an area of scrub for any warblers arriving but to no avail. Even better though we unexpectedly discovered a booming Bittern in a small reedbed. The location has to remain secret but will be reported to the Glamorgan County Recorder.

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Headed down to Cardiff Bay again this morning and first stop was Cardiff Bay Wetlands NR. After a short scan I picked up the drake Ring-necked Duck looking immaculate in adult summer plumage. Over 100 Sand Martins flew over but still no House Martins. Next we headed over to the Barrage on the Penarth side of the bay. Here, after a bit of a search we found a male Wheatear, at least 4 White Wagtails ( amongst 15+Pieds) and 3 Common Sandpipers. Not a bad little haul for a morning out a few minutes from my in-laws house!!

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Easter away in Cardiff Gain with a few days birding in prospect! Arriving late we had only an hour to check out Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve where a Ring-necked Duck has been seen. With limited time we never saw the duck but added Cetti's Warbler to our 2017 list with several heard but one seen and Reed Warblers in the reedbeds. Over 30 Sand Martins flew through too. On the way down along the England/Wales borders we saw only 1 Red Kite, but not bad I suppose as we were well east of the core area.

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On our final morning in Cardiff, Carys and I decided to travel around 5 miles away again, this time down to Cardiff Bay. We headed into Penarth and to the new development at Penarth Marina.

Our first port of call was Plas Taliesin, a quiet group of houses by a boat mooring offshoot of the dock. Immediately we saw a male Black Redstart here, which showed well on the roofs of the houses, sunning itself & flycatching. This area is a hotspot for this species and must be the easiest place that I have ever been to see Black Redstarts.

Next we walked along the barrage to the sculptures known as The Sails. Very close in were the 7 Scaup that we had seen a few days earlier, but this time amongst them was a fabulous Long-tailed Duck. We sat and watched this mini sea-duck fest for a while, the ducks totally unphased by hordes of tourists walking past and only swimming away when a dog swam up to them. Once the dog had gone though, they returned to close in off the barrage. For no particular reason the Scaup flock took off and returned to the Ice Rink side of Cardiff Bay and once the Long-tailed Duck realised its pals had gone it flew after them to join them over that side.

A great little morning in the sun, only a few minutes from our 'holiday' home.



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A fabulous day today, self-finding a national rarity, a great way to come to the end of 2016! We headed five minutes away from my in-laws house to check out a tip off about roosting owls, but failed to see anything. So we decided on a slow crawl along the roads through the Wentloog Levels. Coming round a corner only 10m from the road in a horse paddock was an Egret. We are used to seeing Little Egrets on the levels but this. It's was squat, had a yellow shorter, sturdier bill and immediately we knew it was a Cattle Egret!! None had been reported in the area before so this was a new bird. I managed a few record digiscoped shots but this bird, in the company of 5 Little Egrets, was very flighty. The road is well used by cyclists & the birds frequently took flight. I reported it out to RBA and the bird was well twitched until dusk, when it roosted at Hendre Lake nearby. We revisited the Cattle Egret mid afternoon, meeting a couple of folk twitching it. The added bonus was finding a Barn Owl roosting in a tree hole. What a brilliant day, again this year of looking for, and finding, our own birds had paid off!

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Down in Cardiff again at my in-laws with little time for birding, but did manage an hour down in The Bay this morning. The main thing of note were 7 Scaup in a large flock of Tufted Ducks. These consisted of 4 eclipse drakes and 3 females and showed very well in the small bay behind the ice rink.

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We also popped in to another site in Cardiff that may be of interest whilst away, calling in late am on Easter Sunday 27th March. This is called Lamby Lake but is in the process of having its name changed! So for future reference it is the fishing lake next to Lamby Way adjacent to Lamby Landfill Site! Just in case anything turns up that folk want to twitch and they use the new name (Parc Tredelerch by the way! if it gets on the info systems with that name). Either put into a search engine will find it!

In the past it was famous for a returning Ring-billed Gull which gave fabulous views coming to bread, but not any more! We always hear & see lots of Cetti's Warblers here and this visit we also had a Kingfisher, two Chiffchaffs and other common stuff. At least 25 Sand Martins dropped in as well as 10 Swallows, all ahead of bad weather and then departed as that arrived. Our first sighting of each of these species this year. Great Crested Grebes, Coot, Moorhen and Mute Swans all breed on the lake too. Always worth a quick pop in to see if anything has dropped in smile



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Whilst away over Easter we made two trips to Cosmeston CP, near Penarth to the SW of Cardiff. A regular place that we visit it is a bit of a tourist trap, getting very busy on holidays and sunny days but you can soon get off piste as it were & lose some of the crowds.

On our first visit on Thursday 24th March it was raining quite hard so we were almost on our own and this paid off big time. Just along the boardwalk by the visitor centre right by the swan feeding area was a small flock of Tufted Ducks, probably about 10 in total. With them were two 'grey' backed drakes, one being an aythya hybrid, possibly Pochard x Tufted, or from its structure possibly Pochard x Scaup and the other being a drake Lesser Scaup, the long staying, returning bird here. We kept still and got views down to about 2m, amazing, having never got this close to this Lesser Scaup before. We watched on our own until the storm just got oo bad to even use optics in, then we left!

A second visit saw better weather so we headed off into the woods on the west side, a new area for us. Here we found our target, Marsh Tit, with 3 birds seen as well as at least 3 Chiffchaffs, Nuthatch, Coal Tit and other woodland species. The drake aythya hybrid was again on Eastern Lake but no sign of the Lesser Scaup, local patcher John Wilson reckoning that it had left. Over 100 Sand Martins and 3 Swallows also dropped in early morning on poorer weather but all departed as the weather improved.

I can recommend this site if folk have never been, it allows great photo opportunities and has turned up some good birds over the years smile



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