First of the Year

First of the Year

Well not quite as there was a walk last week but little to report apart from one solitary Bumblebee and the putting together of the new Moth trap.  But this week on a cloudy, cold but quite pleasant day we set out on the first bird count of the year, following the same route as the previous one in December.

So off past the Millenium square and towards Spring Woods and, as the ground was distinctly icy we split into two groups, one on the flat ground below the Woods and the other above.  The generally mild weather so far this winter contrasts very much with the freezing conditions in January 2013 and this seems to be reflected in the wild life and fauna.  A clump of snowdrops already out, though frozen, as was the Jelly Ear Fungus on one of the bushes and a pair of Robins disputing territory.  And in the woods behind the Aqualab were clumps of Elf Cups just appearing.  Last year these were the only signs of Spring until well into March.

Obviously different species frequent different habitats and certain species will tend to appear in specific places in the Garden.  Thus as we walked up past Spring Woods the Green Woodpecker again put in an appearance and, much later in the walk, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker landed on the top of exactly the same tree by Llyn Canol as he had in December.

Bird numbers were generally good, especially on the lakes which abounded in Mallards and Moorhens, together with Coots, Teal and at least 4 Little Grebes.  And in the meadow above the Slate Beds we could see at least 4 Song Thrushes at any one time and rather more Blackbirds.  A flock of Long-tailed Tits were again spotted flitting amongst the trees and bushes near the bottom of Llyn Uchaf and, in the wood behind the Aqualab a Nuthatch was calling.  Later on, as can be seen from the slideshow, another Nuthatch was very busy apparently trying to enlarge one of the nest boxes – this was down by the bridge leading to Waun Las.  Even better, in the river there we saw and heard a couple of Dippers calling to each other.

Of course it is not only birds that we observe on these walks, as can be seen from the fungi photos.  We are closely monitoring the Ghost Forest to see what fungi like African Trees and we have, as previously noted, already found one new one to the area, though not an African species.  As for mammals, no sign of any Otters down by the Gatehouse or elsewhere, but a Fox was spotted hunting down by the marshy area near Woods of the World.

Obviously doing just one two hour walk once a month means that we won’t be able to find all the species in the Garden.  The target number we were set for January was 60 and we are a long way from that.  This is where the public and other Garden members can help us.  So if you see or hear any other species apart from those listed below, send me an email – see below – saying where and when and, if possible with a photo
The 37 species that we saw and heard were as follows:
Song Thrush , Robin, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Grey Wagtail, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Jay, Jackdaw , Siskin, Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Bullfinch, Magpie, Mallard, Little Grebe , Moorhen, Long-tailed Tit , Coot, Nuthatch , Tree Creeper, Woodcock, Buzzard, Snipe, Teal, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Red Kite, Dipper, Redpoll, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail .
If any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please  send an email to Colin Miles  – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested.   If you click on any of the images in these blogs, or anywhere else you will see a larger picture. And if you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs.
If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.

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