2 February A stride was required so I passed through Cosmeston as part of a longer walk. I did, as always, keep an eye out for unusual birds, though the only bird that fitted that category was a Buzzard in a tree by the dipping pond, exactly where a friend had reported it the previous day.
I scattered some seed around for my small and hungry feathered friends, and I did linger a while by the lake to take some photos of gulls. (I’m attempting to learn to recognise gulls of different ages but I’ll post separately about that when I’ve got more photos and information.)
4 February There are various routes I can take when I walk to Cosmeston; on this day I approached from the north, which produced a couple of Bullfinches near Old Cogan Farm and, further down Mile Road, a couple of Redwing feasting on ivy berries.
To escape the Sunday crowds, I headed off piste and almost immediately spotted a Green woodpecker and, seeing it fly to the ground, started stalking it. It flew off but then a mixed flock of tits and finches flew in, amongst which, to my very great delight, were 3 Lesser redpolls, a bird I’ve only seen once before and which is not often seen in these parts. They were feeding in an alder tree, moving often, doing acrobatics while suspended from cones, flitting from branch to branch, all of which made them difficult to photograph. But what a delightful 30 minutes I spent watching their antics.
9 February I was hoping to spot the Redpolls again today but lucked out, though I did spot a flock of perhaps 8 Redwings in the trees nearby. A handsome male Reed bunting was enjoying the seed a kind passerby had left on a fence post by the west lake, and it wasn’t just me who was finding the winds strong and gusty – this Tufted duck was having a bad hair day.
21 February This was school half-term holiday week in Wales, not a particularly pleasant time to visit a country park to enjoy the delights of nature as the parks are usually full of screaming children and frazzled parents at such times. I managed to avoid most of that by taking the paths less travelled but still found much of the wildlife was being scared away by the noise.
Still, I thought I’d make a list of what I did see: Great tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie, Goldfinch, Redwing, Carrion crow, Jay, Wren, Blue tit, Buzzard, Jackdaw, Long-tailed tit, Woodpigeon, Mistle thrush, Chaffinch, House sparrow, Starling, Green woodpecker, Reed bunting, Nuthatch, Coal tit, Coot, Cormorant, Mute swan, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Mallard, Tufted duck, Great crested grebe, Canada goose, Greylag goose and Pochard – not a bad list, with 35 bird species, and just one mammal, the ubiquitous Grey squirrel.
28 February South Wales was feeling the brunt of the ‘Beast from the East’, a freezing weather bomb from Siberia, when I paid my last February visit to Cosmeston so it was a short visit, partly for the exercise and I also bought a couple of bags of seed from the Rangers’ Office to feed the birds. You know they’re finding foraging tough when you see a Treecreeper come to the bird feeder – most unusual! And it was also unusual to have the sparse remnants of the previous day’s snow on the ground, so I had to get a few photos of birds (Chaffinch and Mallard) in snow as well. Let’s hope spring (re)appears soon.