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Beacons Job

Brecon Beacons National Park

Yesterday I started my new position in the Brecon Beacons as a trainee Warden. So far so good! Getting all the mandatory things out of the way first with quick tours of the area and health and safety checks to get on with for now. Really looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing more of the beautiful beacons. I should have brought my camera to work today as the views were incredible. Phone pic of Pen y Fan below. 

Photo 02-09-2016, 11 33 10.jpg

Straight after work I went to my local patch at Llandegfedd again, only to find that the Wild Flower Meadows had been cut for hay crop. While this is technically a good thing for the wild flowers next year, I couldn't help but feel really sad that all that biodiversity had to be killed for the sake of profiting off this small bit of land. It was only the other day I was speaking about how great this year was for Roesel's Bush Cricket and perhaps that is because most of them successfully bred last year as they didn't cut the grass last year. Can't have it all I suppose and in the greater scheme of things, perhaps this is a good thing.

On a good note, it was nice to see that my local Hobbys bred in the same place as last year with one or two successfully fledged chicks. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this site in the future as it's doing the Job for these fantastic birds.  

Wetlands Weekend

Not had the time for editing lately so playing a bit of catch up here. Last weekend I spent the morning wondering from the Gwent Levels right up into the Valleys of Pontypool and both on this glorious Saturday brought some great birding with the great company of Paul Joy. In the hope to listen to our first years Grasshopper Warblers, we ended up with a very different, but equally interest mix of species throughout the day. Highlight for me was seeing Gwents first Hobby flying North hitting the first mountain it found in the Valleys on the southern peak of the Brecon Beacons National Park above Pontypool. Below you'll see a female Linnet which was frequently attending to her already hatched chicks. Nice to see so many Greenfinches at Newport Wetlands, this is a bird that I don't get to see much of in Pontypool anymore. Another great find in the form of a Spider this time which is called a 'Furrow Orbweaver Spider' which I presume is common on the wetlands given the perfect habitat for this species. They use the Reeds to funnel themselves a perfectly camouflaged nest. Last but not least for the day was a picture of a beautiful Male Pheasant glistening in the sun with the punchy vibrant colours you would expect to see in the tropics. 

Hamm Wall Fun

Spent a couple hours with good friend Paul Joy today at Hamm Wall RSPB Nature Reserve. By far my favourite RSPB reserve with incredible diversity of wildlife and extremely well managed place. I was introduced to this site through my first 'twitch' to go see the Hudsonian Godwit. (Hudwit). On this occasion I just wanted to introduce Paul to the site so that he could familiarise himself with the place. I wasn't expecting to still see Hobby's but there were still a few around! Still LOTS of Dragonflies on the wing so it was a buffet for them! Plenty of Marsh Frogs still on the ponds with lots of newly transformed tadpoles. We saw lots of other birds from Kingfishers, Marsh Harriers, Great White Egrets, Snipe, Black-necked Grebe and lots of the usuals. 

Telinga Microphone Test

Trying out my new Telinga Microphone today for the first time in the field, really loving the warm tones in the mid-high range which is exactly what I need it for. That said, the microphone records really flat accurate lows/low mids so for those quiet background days I'll be happy to leave recordings unfiltered. Some really interesting sounds happening in this mashup, firstly starting off with what I think is a Meadow Grasshopper, secondly a sound I've never experienced before but it's actually 2 Hoverflies having a 'sing off' with their wings. I assume that this is a way of showing a female how strong their wings by demonstrating how high pitched the sound they can make. This is for sure,Natural selection in its subtleties. Lastly, a dark bush cricket with an unidentified 'cricket' sound which I'll be looking into asap.

In other news, we had such an amazing flyby from a Juvi Goshawk today! Also had a Migrant Hawker in the same area along with plenty of Grasshopper activity. Stopped off at Llandegfedd in the evening to see 3 Kingfishers hunting on the pump stream and starting to get flocks of Goosander coming into the bay late in the evening just before it gets dark