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

Sunday, 24 February 2019

A credible video

A credible video of a great grey shrike at the top of a mature lodgepole pine tree off Llanover Road, Blaenavon got me up and out early in the hope of tracking it down. As there is a substantial area of forestry clear fell at Blaenavon Community Woodland this is where I focused my attention. 

A clear mild morning was accompanied by a fair bit of birdsong. A song thrush was in full flow along with a number flyover croaking raven. Several hundred metres beyond the woodlands entrance is a remnant farm building here some kind soul has scattered bird seed and erected three feeders just out of arms reach. Here a nuthatch and coal tit fed briefly while redpoll called overhead. A couple of tree creeper moved from tree to tree and eventually out of sight. Despite a prolonged search of the tops of trees there was no sign of the great grey shrike. My attention drifted to some of the mature trees that were scattered around this lost farmstead.

Multi-stemmed mature beech and sycamore showed evidence of historic management, whilst an embankment displayed a few flowering blackthorn, not commonly found in the uplands. In a secluded dingle was a beech tree with the tell tale black staining of Phytophthora disease possible P.ramorum. Back to the main woodland thoroughfare and the dog walkers were starting to appear, so it was time to trek back, but not before noting the first frog spawn of the year in a small pond.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Lean times

Work has dominated my time over the last couple of months restricting opporunities to get out and to populate this blog. That said, I did manage a couple of hours last weekend taking in Tredegar House Lake and the River Usk in Newport. 

At Tredegar House Lake there were the usual cluster of regular wildfowl. Tufted duck numbers were just over 20 and some of the 13 little grebe were very focal. A male pintail was a welcome arrival and could be the same bird I recorded a few winters ago.

My little citizen science project of reading rings on gulls has not produced much this winter. Numbers of black-headed gull were close to 100 at the lake but only one bird was carrying a ring. This Dutch ringed bird had first been recorded at the same site in November 2013.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...