More random Cosmeston wildlife, from when it was bearable to stand still and take photos in the sun. Won’t be doing much in the next few days for sure – this heat is too much for me. 😥

A youngish looking Greenfinch, acres of umbellifer sp, Small Copper, 6-Spot Burnet moth on Knapweed, a Black-tailed Skimmer with a broken left forewing, and a Grey Heron. I think the hoverfly [last 3 photos] is Eupeodes latifasciatus, but have yet to check.

Dunstanburgh Castle – Northumbs

Here’s a few images of the lovely Dunstanburgh Castle, which we visited on our recent trip to Northumberland. To visit entails a 1-2 mile walk along the coast from the tiny fishing village of Craster. The castle sits at the top of some impressive cliffs where there is a large Kittiwake colony, plus a good number of Fulmars and a few Razorbills.


A few from Cosmeston recently, mostly lepidoptera but a couple of other things of interest. The small group of 11 Tufted Ducks on E lake [they were v distant hence c**p pic], were new arrivals and a sign of early returning autumn visitors [presumably non-breeders]. The only orchids now worth seeing are the Pyramidals, which a recent count by the rangers and volunteers amounted to 4000 odd spikes.! Anyway it was nice to see a normal one with an adjacent paler form. I like the Fumanchu antennae on the middle row rh end Burnet and the half coiled proboscis on the 1st one in the bottom row.

Cwm Cadlan NNR – 9 Jul 2022

I led a trip comprising 8 Glamorgan Bird Cub members at this location near Penderyn, WSW of Llwyn-on Reservoir. It’s NNR status is mainly for plants but it can be a good location for birds. By the road above we saw several Wheatear and Skylarks. At the initial meet point back towards Llwyn-on we had nice views of displaying male Siskins. On the reserve first up were a number of Mistle Thrushes, a family group we thought, and then one of the party found a Spotted Flycatcher. A number of Redstarts, both adult and juv were seen as we walked the trail, Blackcaps were singing as were Chiffchaffs. Willow Warblers weren’t vocal but were seen collecting food. At the top of the reserve we had a number of adult & juv Stonechats. A lone Sedge Warbler was a bit of a surprise, and on meeting Club member Martin Bell down at the small bridge, he got us on to a single Garden Warbler. Altogether 39 species were logged, plus a few interesting invertebrates. The full trip list can be seen here.

Shipley Country Park – Derbys

Still up at our daughter’s near Heanor, Derbyshire. Our daily walks take us into Shipley Country Park and environs, including the Young People’s Forest at Mead, where a former opencast site has been planted with 100’s of native trees. The area of forest saplings has many Skylarks and some Meadow Pipits. Also seen this morning was a male Red Mason Bee and a Kestrel.


Just a few photos of a batch of Hoverflies on the Hemlock Water Dropwort near the cafe at Cosmeston. ID’d with help from the UK Hoverflies Facebook group. I’m still learning!


Just a few shots of a rather smart ‘punk’ style juv Starling in our neighbours front garden. One of a clutch that fledged from a nest that was built in a gap behind their gutter.

Nags Head RSPB Forest of Dean 10th Jun

Had a mid to late afternoon visit omn 10th June with my sister-in-law Diana and her husband John with the hope of seeing some Pied Fycatchers and a Redstart or two. Late arrival due to traffic jams on A4232 and M4 enforced a stop at a pub in Chepstow for lunch. Got to get your priorities right! Sadly the reserve was very quiet with little or no bird action, apart from plenty of song from Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. We did see lots of female Minotaur Beetles along the trails, and a Wren did sit up obligingly in a good postion for a nicely composed photo.


There was plenty of birdsong around the park this morning, although not a lot of visible activity. Birds noted singing were Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler [one seen briefly], Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Wren, Cetti’s Warbler, Whitethroat, Goldfinch, and a Goldcrest by the Mile Road. In W paddock, a Goldfinch singing from the top of an adjacent dead tree was joined briefly by a Great Spotted Woodpecker. One pair of Great Crested Grebes has three 3/4 grown young and at the dipping pond the pair of Moorhens have had a second brood – I saw one of the first brood young feeding a new born tiny chick this morning.

Glamorgan Bird Club trip to Llanwonno

On Weds 1st June I led seventeen souls who braved the midges and met up in the car park of the Brynffynon Hotel, for the annual GBC foray to hear and hopefully see, Nightjars. We were pleased to welcome along Vikki Howells, MS for the Cynon Valley, who is the Senedd ‘Nightjar Champion’. We headed up the road to the west of the hotel and then took a track up the hill to the south of the road, eventually meeting a forestry track which we gradually walked along. It was pretty quiet compared to some previous years when Song Thrushes had continued singing until well after dusk. We had views of a few Tree Pipits sitting atop small saplings, and a few Willow Warblers were singing out of view. One of the Tree Pipits [the one in the photo] was pestered by a Jay. As the light began to fade it was just a case of patient waiting, watching and listening. At last some churring was detected so at least we knew there were bird[s] present. A movement was detected on the slope below us and eventually a few folk had a brief view of a male, flying into view and then disappearing behind a plantation, flashing its white wing and tail patches. Up to three birds were heard churring, then a sudden fly-by through the trees up the slope caused some excitement until I declared it a fly-by Cuckoo, albeit a brief one. Gareth Jenkins then spotted a Nightjar sitting atop a tall conifer some distance away. I hurriedly started to set up my ‘scope, which turned out to be the kiss of death and the bird flew off out of view. Others of the group then had a view of another bird flying between the trees up-slope from us. Some folk also hard a calling Tawny Owl. As always, it’s a bit hit & miss with Nightjars but at least we heard and saw some. Overall we thought there were 4-5 birds present in that area. John Wilson
Vikki Howells is to my right in the photo below.