Thursday, 31 March 2011

Bird Count (2): March 2011 ~ and 2011 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Results

Birds seen and noted in March 2011, mostly in South Wales, UK

In case you are interested in numbers (some of these are approximates) ...

Carrion Crow (42)   |    Tern (30)   |    Rook (12)   |     Shelduck (11)   |    Long tailed tit (10)    |    Chaffinch (9)   |    Black Headed Gull (9)      |  Wood Pigeon (8)  |      Magpie (7)  |   Blackbird (6)    |      Blue tit (6)   |   |   Mallard (6)  | Dunnock (5)   |   Lapwing (5)  |   Coot (4)   |    Pintail (4)  |    Sparrow (4)   |   Great tit (3)   |  Wren (3)  |    Buzzard (2)  |    Gadwall (2)   |  Great Spotted Woodpecker (2)   |   Greenfinch (2)   |   Little Egret (2)   |  ChiffChaff (2)  |  Robin(2)   |   Nuthatch (2)   |   Red Kite (2)   |    Siskin (2)   |   Starling (2)  |  GreyHeron (1)   |   Tufted Duck (1)   |  Sparrowhawk (1)   |  Moorhen (1)   |   Curlew  (1) |  Pheasant (1)

  • March 2011: other observations include a Grey Squirrel, a Rabbit, several Common Toads, Toadspawn, Bumblebees (I must learn more about the different ones), approximately 12 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, a Common Quaker Moth, Snails, an Ant and a Ladybird (still to be identified from my photo).

One of my most appealing first hand observations was of a 'dancing' Blue tit, trying to impress (or reach?) its reflection in the large wing mirror of a 4x4. The display lasted for quite a number of minutes (I was sitting in the dentist's car park), with the bird flying off every so often, only to return for another attempt at showcasing its performance. I didn't have my camera with me at the time, but you can see a similar scene here from The Daily Mail, February 2008.  

Do take a look at the 2011 results for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (and here).

You might also enjoy my 'Pick of the Month' photo choice on 'The Lizard Naturally' blog ... utterly adders!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Beautiful Birds (21): WWT Llanelli ~ Part 2

A huge pair of wings flew across the water ...

... as the Grey Heron drew closer,

... and took up residence in his favourite spot.

Beautiful Birds (20): WWT Llanelli

Spring is in the air ... 
                 ... and the Terns were squabbling, making their presence felt once again. 

The bird was very busy preening ...
... and was quite unaware of my presence.
Here it is, all spruced up for spring.
The willows in the Wetlands are now in full bloom, and birdsong fills the air. 
These Pintail were enjoying themselves on the water ...
... while the Rook seemed quite contented on her nest. 
This Gadwall blended in beautifully with his surroundings. 
Let me know if you can identify this little fellow! Is it a female Tufted Duck, perhaps?
King Cormorant of the Castle! 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Seasonal Splash (6): Spring Sunshine at Dinefwr, Wales

We went on an expedition to try out the new boardwalk at Dinefwr ...

... We liked the wildlife motifs (several different ones) on the new benches.

The sun was shining, but these Scarlet Elf Cups reminded us that a long winter was not far behind us.

They were not the only species of fungi we encountered. This Bracket Fungus (Trametes versicolour)
was eye-catching.

Wrens were busy in the twiggy undergrowth by the water ...

... and I was delighted when I spotted this string of toad spawn.

I think this is a Common Quaker moth, Orthosia cerasi (thanks to Stuart's Donegal blog). 

The Nuthatch was flitting about in the trees.

This was my first Violet of the season, complete with ant!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Beside the Sea (3): Laugharne, Red Velvet Mite and Curlew

Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK
We took a trip to Laugharne and walked along in the shadow of Dylan Thomas. His famous Boat House home is the white building closest to the estuary, at the end of the path that skirts the castle. 

Eutrombidium rostratus. Order: Trombidiformes

We kept our ears open for the sound of the Curlew. We heard a few Oystercatchers. There were plenty of Cockle shells on the shore. My eyes alighted on this tiny red creature above. It was less than a centimetre in length and, thanks to Ray Wilson's photograph, I can say that it appears to be a Red Velvet Mite. My thanks to David for his photo (posted above) of this minute creature. It belongs to the class of Arachnida and the sub-class, Acari. You can read more on the BugGuide.

We noticed this bird of prey on a telegraph pole. I tried to photograph it, but I was shooting into the sun. I would be grateful if anyone can identify it from this picture and the one below. I think it was smaller than a Buzzard.

 There was no sign of the Heron on Dylan's 'heron-priested shore' - though we noticed a solitary Little Egret. Laugharne, however, would hardly be Laugharne without a Curlew ...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Butterflies and Moths (14): Spring is on the Wing!

Small Tortoiseshell
I spotted my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year in our garden on some white heather today. Sadly my photo (taken through glass) was too fuzzy to post ... so here's one I 'took earlier' (in 2010). I have just noticed a pair cavorting through the air as well. I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell on the same clump of heather, one Valentine's Day in the snow - so these butterflies today are running a month behind!

Update: 18.30 ~ we have just spotted our first bat of the season. A sign of things to come.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Beautiful Birds (19): WWT Llanelli Part 2

We saw this beautiful Gadwall gliding along ...
. . . in front of his mate. 
Time for a bit of pecking and preening!
The Lapwing looked on ...
. . . while the Redshanks showed off their legs ...
. . . and this Greenshank balanced precariously.
There were certainly signs of Spring in the air. I particularly enjoyed watching this fastidious Gadwall ...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Beautiful Birds (18): WWT Llanelli

Shelduck ...
... on the look-out.
Little Egret: grooming time!
The majestic Mute Swan
A Tufted Duck ...
... and a Shoveler.
Cormorant ... off-duty!