Viewing entries tagged
Great Crested Grebe

Forest Farm

Our Leopard Gecko 'Maze' had to undergo surgery yesterday in Cardiff to remove undeveloped eggs, having suffered from a disease called Follicular Stasis. Happy to report that the surgery went well and she's now in recovery which may take some time. Unfortunately Lizards, Gecko's and pretty much anything with scales, don't quite heal as well as mammals so she'l need the stitches out and will need a lot of monitoring over the next 6 weeks. I'll keep you updated in future blogs on her progress. 


While Maze was awaiting surgery, I had a lot of hours to kill, so rather than travel all the home, I had a day in Cardiff. Lucky I brought my camera with me as I didn't end up picking Maze up till 8pm. I spent a few hours at Forest Farm, a cherished nature reserve that many people love due to its very tame wildlife. This is a fantastic spot with 3 hides setup slightly different and offering completely different species to observe. Kingfishers are usually very obliging but they are currently breeding so use the ponds less at this time of year. Plenty of other visitors to keep me occupied with a Heron fishing for 3 hours straight, picking out small fish. Lots of baby Rabbits emerged from the hedgerows too and the cuteness levels hit the roof. Many people feed the animals at FF so I had lots of Grey Squirrels popping their heads into the hide wanting food and I had both a Robin and Great Tit feeding out of my hand, even though I didn't have anything to offer them. (Mistake of the day). Also at FF I heard a Grasshopper Warbler! A first for me! And as far as I know, possibly a first for FF? I'll have to find that out. I had an Early Mining Bee, totally high on pollen and could barely fly it was that loaded up - This gave me opportunity to snap quite a few photos, though I wished I had a macro lens, I did as best as I could with my 100-400mk ii. 

My favourite image of the day though had to be the Feral Pigeon. A bird that many people disregard in their birding life as they are extremely Common and found in places most birders try to get far away from. Personally though, I love them! They bring meaning to what would otherwise be a concrete, lifeless wasteland. And how beautiful are they?! I'm colourblind and even I can see how beautiful those colours are, if only absent in the Reds. I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of the photos. Nobody has probably read this far anyway and if you did, I appreciate your time. 


Typical wet and windy weekend but still went out with the camera regardless. I love looking for signs of spring and there were plenty today even in the rain. I visited Llandegfedd, one of my favourite locations. The Great Crested Grebes have already got their spring plumage with crests getting larger every day and some are already displaying to each other.

Great Crested Grebes Courtship

Wild Primrose is flowering in the surrounding meadows, along with our native wild Daffodil which is becoming harder and harder to find in the southern parts of Wales.. I see plenty of them on the way to work in Brecon however. 

Wild Primrose

Another pre-spring sign can be found in the wintering Wildfowl that are hanging around, much like these Teal that are all squabbling over a single female, most of which are already moving north. Short video below shows them displaying to the female.

Saw my first batch of Frogspawn up the British also and with it, a Grey Heron! Haven't seen a Heron on this patch before and certainly wasn't expecting to flush one while walking through a Gorse patch. 


With new development on the cards for 'The British', its unknown at present, just how much we will retain of the wild reclaimed slag-heaps, that are proving to be great for wildlife! Who would have thought that are scarred post-industrial history would give birth to such a hospitable habitat, not just for our bird population but our Invertebrates, Flora and even our Bryophyte moss species. The site is currently used mostly by Dog Walkers and Off-road vehicles like quad bikes and scramblers, so weekends are a no go if you want to see Birds, but plants thankfully don't move and the un-touched areas of the slag-heaps are reclaimed by many species of Grass, and in this case Bryophyte, as shown in the picture below that shows a cluster of both Reindeer Moss - cladonia impexa and I think the start of Silky Wall Feather-moss - homalothecium sericeum which as its name suggests, prefers wall / rock environments, but in this case, the Coal is acting as a good alternative.  

Reindeer Moss - cladonia impexa & Silky Wall Feather-moss - homalothecium sericeum

Late Breeders

Was great to watch the Great Crested Grebes re-bonding yesterday. Some are pushing for a second brood already! but most at Llandegfedd are really late breeding this year and are only just hatching their first brood of eggs. This was due to low water levels at the beginning of the season which meant there were no ideal breeding locations. Green Pool was completely cut off from the main body of water by at-least 15-20ft of water. 

Easter Migration

Despite the bad weather this easter weekend, spring migrants have still been turning up. Chiffchaff being my first this year followed by a Swallow and Sand Martin. Llandegfedd is yet to pull up an Osprey though and with some already arriving in their breeding grounds up North, we may not get one at all this spring. I hardly took any photographs today as I spent most of my time at Llandegfedd helping general public navigate their way around the Res. Till this day, I really don't condone the actions of Welsh Water to open the site to Public. I feel that a lot has been rushed and therefor neglected since the opening of the new visitors centre. Our wildlife conservation has since been forgotten. The only comfort I have at the moment about securing the future of Llandegfedds Wildlife is the fact that I'm well connected with staff onsite. I hope that my contacts and influence will have an effect on decisions made for this SSSI site. My patience is wearing thin however so alternative solutions are being considered. 


Didn't commit to anything particular today. Just wanted to explore my local patch for whatever I found. I just so happened to find some really promising signs of species that I'm yet to even see although photograph. I won't give away the species just yet but it's all very exciting finding something new locally. Just when you think you've seen it all, my patch has delivered yet again. 

Llandegfedd was so busy today! All levels of the car park were full including the north car park. The water level is almost back to full level now which has brought our special Great Crested Grebes back into their breeding grounds. They haven't really had much chance to breed on Llandegfedd yet this year because of this factor. There simply hasn't been any sights for them to build a nest as the tree line has been set back far from the water line. I'm predicting that will change in the next week or so and we'll start to see typical behaviour from them.