Please Note - the most recent surveys appear first
FRIDAY JUNE 30th 2017 - POND SURVEY
Hannah Shaw from the Freshwater Habitats Trust led a pond survey at the Parc on 30th June with Friends and Gwent Wildlife Trust volunteers participating.We found a significant variety of creatures including fish, nymphs, water boatmen, insect larvae, pond skaters, diving beetles, snails, flatworms and a leech.
The water quality was declared excellent on analysis, with no phosphates or nitrates present.
Our thanks to Hannah for running an enjoyable and fascinating day.
WEDNESDAY 21st JUNE 2017 - REPORT BY NICHOLAS BESWICK
All our waterfowl have bred successfully – the Mute Swans have six cygnets, hatched about a month ago - please click on image (easily beating the Asda pair that only has three), also Mallard ducklings and Coot and Moorhen chicks.
Also of note was a very smart male Lesser Redpoll feeding on the path down to Machine Pond.
SATURDAY 22nd APRIL 2017 - PARC BIRD WALK
The Parc bird walk took place on 22 April, with the group of five finding a total of 37 bird species.
Our resident Mute Swans are nesting again on Machine Pond this year and a pair of Coots have their nest on the floating island. More exciting is that there were three Great Crested Grebes on the pond – they haven’t nested here for a few years so it would be good to see them back. A Common Sandpiper flew up from the pond: this wading bird is a summer visitor passing through, so we were lucky to catch up with it.
Around the Parc, the resident birds have been joined by Willow Warblers, singing everywhere, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. One Swallow braved the chilly conditions. There should be more very soon, along with House Martins and Swifts.
SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2017 - MONTHLY WETLAND BIRD SURVEY
(please click to enlarge)
The monthly wetland bird survey took place on 11 March. Nearly all of our winter visitors have gone north – just a pair of Wigeon and a male Teal remaining and our resident pair of Mute Swans have started to build their nest. There is now plenty of song from our resident birds and they will soon be joined by the first of our summer visitors.
Chiffchaffs have already started to arrive locally and they will be joined by their close relative, the Willow Warbler, by the end of the month. They are both small drab green birds but the Chiffchaff helpfully sings his name while the Willow Warbler has a sweet, rather wistful melody. Sand Martins will be appearing over the ponds, followed by Swallows around the end of March.
SATURDAY 12th FEBRUARY 2017 - WETLAND BIRD SURVEY
February’s Wetland Bird Survey took place on an unpleasant, sleety morning on 12 February. There were again unusually high numbers of birds on Machine Pond. The Wigeon were joined by a male Gadwall, only an occasional visitor locally. They are all likely to leave in the next few weeks to head for their breeding areas, leaving our familiar resident
Mute Swans, Mallard, Coot and Moorhens. Counts for the day :-
Mute Swan 2, Canada Goose 2, Wigeon 43 , Mallard 32, Gadwall 1, Tufted Duck 9, Goosander 4, Coot 20, Moorhen 5, Grey Heron 1, Snipe 2, Herring Gull 3
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5th 2107 - REPORT BY NICHOLAS BESWICK.
I plan to run two breeding bird survey visits this year in April and June.
There were many more birds than usual on Machine Pond yesterday :-
Mute Swan 2 (and 2 more flying over), Canada Goose 12, Teal 6, Wigeon 39, Mallard 34, Tufted Duck 14, Goosander 4, Coot 16, Moorhen 6, Snipe 3 (Horsetail bog) Also of note: a male Stonechat in the area below the garages, maybe establishing a territory.
By contrast, there was virtually nothing at Asda because the water level there was about three feet higher than normal. This does suggest that the Machine Pond outflow is coping better!
Martin Anthoney is keen to return for moth-trapping and I’ll agree a date in April with him for his first visit.
SATURDAY 30th SEPTEMBER - MOTH & BAT EVENING HELD IN THE PARC - REPORT BY NICHOLAS BESWICK.
We had a group of nine for the rescheduled moth and bat evening. The bat detecting was a success and we recorded several Pipistrelle, Soprano, Pipistrelle and Daubenton's Bats. Unfortunately, there was a communications breakdown between the moth experts and me. They went to the Ebbw Vale end of the Parc and we never met. As it turned out, it was a rather cold night for moths and they caught relatively little. However, they did find the Parc interesting and would like to come back next year. For the record, this is what they caught:
Angle Shades 3, Autumnal Rustic 6, Black Rustic 1, Canary-shouldered Thorn 1, Common Marbled Carpet 5, Large Yellow Underwing 2, Lesser Yellow Underwing 1, Setaceous Hebrew Character 1, Silver Y 1, Small Phoenix 1.
Also of note is that Liz heard two Grasshopper Warblers "reeling" back in May. This is our first confirmed record for the Parc - not an immense surprise as the habitat is right
but a good one of a scarce species.
SATURDAY 9th APRIL 2016
On the wildlife front, our first migrant birds have returned. Swallows were hawking over Machine Pond and two Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were singing. The adult Mute Swans have driven off last year’s cygnet – this is perfectly normal behaviour prior to their nesting again. The cygnet will probably have joined a herd of other immature swans and is unlikely to breed for another couple of years. Our plans for a butterfly survey were scuppered by the cold and windy weather but we will aim to monitor butterflies on our future work days.