My aim is to see 200 different species of birds in Britain in 2018 but will I succeed?
1 January 2018, out my window, Penarth
- Herring gull
- Lesser black-backed gull
My first birds of 2018, on the roof of the church hall across the road from my flat.
The two crows on the left were on the weathervane on top of the steeple of the church opposite my flat. Later, near the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, I spotted a leucistic crow that I’ve seen before near the Lockkeeper’s Café.
- Feral pigeon
1 January 2018 continued, a walk around Cardiff Bay
This blackbird was enjoying a feast of Cabbage tree (Coryline australis) berries in the front garden of a house at Penarth Marina.
- House sparrow
- Black-headed gull
- Pied wagtail
- Mute swan
- Great crested grebe
- Little grebe
Always a favourite of mine, three little turnstones were foraging along the Ely embankment and a Black-headed gull was wanting a piece of the action.
- Great tit
- Blue tit
- Tufted duck
Six tufted ducks were in the pond at the Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve and paddled over to see if I had any food for them … but no.
- Long-tailed tit
- Mistle thrush
Posing very nicely on the grassy playing fields of Hamadryad Park.
3 January 2018, Penarth
A sweet little dunnock sang me a pretty tune as I passed by its bush on my way to the train this morning.
4 January 2018, Penarth and Cosmeston
- Collared dove
Birding out the back window, in winds of 40-50mph.
- Canada goose
5 January 2018, Cardiff parks and cemeteries
- Greylag goose
- Goldcrest (above left, cleaning up the gravestones)
- Green woodpecker (above right, perching on a gravestone)
- Tawny owl
Lovely to see this beauty again, though two Jays were screeching at it, presumably to try to scare it away.
6 January 2018, Bute Park, River Taff and Cardiff City centre
- Grey heron
- Song thrush
- Peregrine falcon
Peregrine falcons have been making their home – and breeding – on the Cardiff City Hall clock tower for several years. I’ve looked for them up there many times but today was the first time I actually saw one!
7 January 2018, Cosmeston
- Coal tit
8 January 2018, Cosmeston (again, as I was following up on the sighting of an Iceland gull yesterday but it wasn’t seen today)
- Reed bunting
- Yellow-legged gull (2nd winter)
11 January 2018, Ely embankment
- Grey wagtail (in fact, 4 Grey wagtails!)
In fact, 4 Redshanks, including this ringed bird I have seen a couple of times before and blogged about back in March 2017: see ‘Tracking Mr Redshank’.
- Rock pipit
14 January, coastal path from Penarth to Lavernock, and at Lavernock Nature Reserve
These two shelducks went flying past east-west as I was walking the coastal path from Penarth to Lavernock today and then, when I got to Lavernock Reserve, there was a flotilla of about 20 floating just offshore from the point where the pillbox sits, by St Mary’s Well Bay.
This Kestrel was trying to see off the much larger Buzzard that was invading its hunting territory.
17 January, Sully and Cosmeston
- Common gull
18 January, Bute Park, Cardiff
19 January, River Taff
23 January, Cosmeston
- Marsh tit
29 January, Penarth beach
- Mediterranean gull
30 January, Barry old harbour
- Little egret
2 February, Lavernock
Hunting over the fields – too fast for a photo, unfortunately.
4 February, Cosmeston
- Lesser redpoll (really chuffed with this one – not easy to find)
5 February, Sully and St Mary’s Well Bay
- Little ringed plover
- Grey plover
Pictured here with 3 Turnstones, the Little ringed plover is the small bird facing the camera, on the left, and the Grey plover, the bird on the right.
6 February, Ogmore and Kenfig
- Great black-backed gull
- Red kite
- Slavonian grebe
A life first for me (oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s the small black-and-white bird on the left … small and distant, unfortunately.)
- Golden plover
- Short-eared owl
Another lifer for me, and we saw two of these owls hunting over the dunes at Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Magic!
14 February, Rye Harbour
- Brent goose
- Egyptian goose
17 February, Cuckmere Haven
It was a glorious day at Cuckmere, with a definite feel of spring in the air, which was reinforced by the frequent song flights of skylarks all around as we walked along the bank of the Cuckmere River to the seashore. These two were ‘chasing’ each other, a behaviour that may be males disputing territory or a form of courtship display.
- Meadow pipit
18 February, Rye Harbour (top part of the reserve)
- Cetti’s warbler
20 February, Penarth Marina
- Black redstart
So glad this immature female stayed around till I returned from my week in Sussex. A pretty little bird, dotting around the rooftops of the houses at the marina, and a lifer for me!
22 February, Bute Park
- Great spotted woodpecker
’Tis the season when I try to follow the drumming of the woodpecker to get a photo and the bird inevitably flies off just as I get close.
25 February, Dryslwyn, Cilsan Bridge and Tregaron Marsh (a long day and very cold but with spectacular scenery in mid Wales, especially the Tywi Valley)
- Whooper swan
- Bar-headed goose
A bit controversial adding this as it’s not on the official British bird list but, hey, it was living with wild birds in the wilds of mid Wales so I’m having it.
- Great white egret
- Pink-footed goose
- Green sandpiper
- Hen harrier
This was the bird we’d gone to Tregaron to see and, though we had to wait till late afternoon to finally spot one, having our 12 pairs of eyes constantly scanning across the marshes in bitterly cold winds did eventually pay off. It was stunning to watch.
7 March, Forest of Dean
- Mandarin duck
Originally brought to Britain from their Asian homeland as ornamental birds for parks and zoos, escapees have established themselves in the wild, and the Mandarin duck is now an official British species – and perhaps the most exotic-looking bird on the British list. As usual with bird species, the male (shown here) is the most showy.
- Great grey shrike
Despite its ‘great’ name, it’s a small bird with a nasty streak, known for impaling its prey (of insects, lizards, and even small birds) on a handy twig or thorn. Though difficult to see, my photo shows a lizard we watched the bird catch and hang up.
11 March, Cosmeston
13 March, Forest Farm
Heard, not seen, but there’s no mistaking that call, and it’s wonderful to know the birds are making landfall after their spring migration.
14 March, Ely embankment
Spotted four Linnets on the Ely embankment this af’noon, possibly the same family I saw from time to time in the autumn, but I can’t be sure. Nice to see them though.