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Spotted Flycatchers

Pontypool Uplands and Cefn Ila

Yesterday's upland birding session with Craig Constance brought about some nice migrants passing thru, starting off the day with a Juvi Merlin hunting over the moorland above the British, later picked up again as it flew over our parked car and flushed a flock of starlings off the road side! It continued to mob a Red Kite while heading south to the next mountain. Nothing great to show you photograph wise, only this very distance shot of it heading off in the distance. We also noted 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Redstart, 2 Wheatear and plenty of resident birds like Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Kestrel (3), Raven and plenty of Stonechat fledglings. It's starting to get a little colder on the mountain now but still plenty of insect life and this Devils Coach Horse Beetle put on a good show walking across our path. 

I visited Cefn Ila today also in search the Wasp Spider, previously introduced by local spider expert Mike Kilner. I was shocked however upon visiting to find that most of the pristine Wasp Spider habitat has since been lost and overshadowed by newly planted Trees and shrub. The site is run by the Woodland trust who've done a marvellous Job at planting a great variety of broad-leaf trees. No-doubt a wonderful woodland to come! But a shame to lose a fantastic spot for such an iconic species of Spider. I did however find plenty of the Spiders food with lots of Grasshoppers and Roesel's Bush Crickets (My favourite british cricket). Also at Cefn Ila were lots of Spotted Flycatchers near the Bee Hives / Orchard. 

Back on track

Back to work and back on track! I think it goes to show I lucky I am when the place I spend my days off at, is also the place I work. Llandegfedd will always be a special place for me and this weekend it revealed some more of its secrets, this time in the form of a lovely Butterfly called a Purple Hairstreak. I've heard they were present but never seen them for myself till today. I didn't get anything great photography wise to show you, as they remain high up in Oak tree canopies, not to mention they are pretty darn small so even a bigger lens than my own wouldn't quite cut it. Other notable species this weekend - Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Kingfisher, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Little Egret, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Scoter and the today ended with a Juvi Cuckoo. 

Pontypool Park

Upon receiving a phone call of birding friend Craig Constance, I was quite pleased to hear that Spotted Flycatchers have taken residence in Pontypool Park. They are quite wide-spread in the Uk but late breeders and very illusive. I was lucky to sneak up on this one behind a hedge while it was feeding. Our local park has so much to offer and today I was reminded and rewarded for my patience. 

Spotted Flycatcher

Was also very surprised to see so many Marbled White Butterflies alongside the Ski slope. Because the grass is on a steep bank they've held back on cutting. The meadow is quite healthy with Burnet Moths, Small/Large Skippers, Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites aplenty. I've seen more Marbled Whites here than anywhere else this year, including Llandegfedd which is usually a hotspot. 

Marbled White

Small Skipper

Patch Tick! (South Sebastopol)

Wasn't expecting to see a Spotted Flycatcher on my regular walk along the canal today! A pair was feeding in their typical way in the tree tops. 

Brecon Beacon Red Kites & Usk Reservoir

The trip finally arrived and despite having all kinds of weather thrown at us, the Red Kites really did deliver the goods today. This was my first time visiting an official feeding station and I wasn't at all disappointed with the views. I honestly didn't want to leave... That said, myself and Paul Joy did spend a good few hours exploring the surrounding environment and we must have recorded nearly 40 species of bird. Willow tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Snipe and Garden Warbler to name just a few.