Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Wing of a goldfinch

Got to Garnlydan Reservoir early this morning. Parked in Powys and walked back into Gwent hoping this upland reservoir was about to produce something worth the effort. It didn't, there were no waterbirds at all. The best on offer was a party of around 30 goldfinch, 200+ meadow pipit a couple of skylark and a single reed bunting.

Friday, 15 September 2017

End of the drawdown zone

Its with some sadness I have to report the signposting of the end of Llandegfedd Reservoir's fantastic drawdown zone. Sunday's visit was against a backdrop of rushing water a sure fire indicator the squeaky wheels of giant Welsh Water valves have been cracked open and sparkling spring water from the River Usk Special Area of Conservation (SAC) has started to cascade through the inlet to fill this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - somewhat perverse maybe?

So why am I bemoaning the loss of low water levels? Well as an naturalist the muddy reservoir margin during late summer is ideal for passage birds especially waders. Moreover, the herbage that fills this niche includes some botanical and bryological gems. This same vegetation provides an accessible food source for winter wildfowl such as wigeon once water levels return to maximum.

Kicking around the drawdown zone is just like an inland version of beach combing. Not only is there wildlife to be discovered but also an assortment of discarded human clutter. Much will be of modern day origin but some may have a bit more longevity.

Monkey flower

Marsh cudweed

Liverwort Riccia cavernosa

Zebra mussel


Any ol' iron

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Between the posts

This is a late post, from last weekend in fact, when I took any early morning walk around the edgeland habitat of Garn yr rew on the northward upper margins of Blaenavon. The abundant fencing in this locality is always good for a passage birds at this time of year. So taking advanatage of these elevated postions where many meadow pipit, at least two family parties of stonechat and single whinchat and spotted flycatcher. Elsewhere there was a single male wheatear, a female reed bunting and around 50 swallow on nearby wires.

Beyond the fenced enclosures and out into the post industrial landscape a disused reservoir with excessive feather drop appeared to have been home to a moulting flock of Canada goose. On the margins was a flush supporting hundreds of round-leaved sundew and a single lesser skullcap.

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