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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Post Christmas birding in South Wales

On Sunday 29th December, an early morning walk down to Cymisfael stream was atmospheric and cold with extensive hoar frost shaping the landscape like white icing on a cake. By the woods, just down from Mum's house, a Marsh Tit called "pitchou" and was seen briefly high up in the trees. Not many birds seen with just a female Grey Wagtail along the stream by the cottage right of the walk down hill. Walking back up the hill to Mum's house, a fine male Bullfinch flew towards me into the hedge bordering the road then eventually up into the tree canopy of the woods. Whilst walking along the drive, a Nuthatch was seen creeping down along the branch. Monday 30th visit was much better, the weather was milder but much wetter, with extensive rain overnight, water was running down the road side, running down from the roads. By the brook, male and then female Grey Wagtail were seen, the male perched briefly on a gate in the field by the brook end. Incredibly, opposite was a flooded field and in the north west corner swimming around was a fine female Goosander. My first sighting on my Welsh patch! Also 30 Redwing flew up from the field and into the hedge. sadly as soon as she saw me she took off flew towards me and over the road and eventually out of sight. Walking along the road to the two bridges. The road was completely flooded. Later investigating with Wellington boots the water was 14 inches deep and even though I waved at 3 cars not to attempt the crossing (risk of flooding the engine) 2 drove through with seemingly no ill effects. As I walked back to the brook, I heard the distinctive call of the Willow Tit and sure enough 2 birds moved through moving west along the hedge. One was definitely a Willow Tit, bull- necked with white cheeks, but I didn't see the other bird well enough. The Redwings were again in the field. A Raven was heard its deep croaking call somewhere in the distance but unfortunately not seen. Whilst walking back up the hill to Mum's house about half way along 2 fine male Bullfinches, fine birds with peach red breasts were seen and heard moving through the fence bushes bordering the road, before they too flew over the road and up into the tree canopy. On Tuesday 31st in the gloom at Reading East a fine Red Kite flew over the M4. Single Buzzards seen along the A12 at Kelveden & Capel St Mary.

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