Sunday, 3 August 2014

Fighting On

It has been a long while as I have spent a lot of time in hospital dealing with the dreadful side effects of chemotherapy.

Juvenile Tawny Owls - photo Roger Tidman

Not much on the bird front but groups of Blue Tits are active in the garden as are Blackbirds goring themselves on rowan berries.  The highlight was juvenile Tawny Owl which spent an hour creaking in the garden a night or two ago.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

A Small Expedition

I am delighted that my son Jeremy is over from Canada for a week so this afternoon in wonderful sunshine he suggested a little drive out.  Heading through Cwmdu a female Redstart flew into a hedge and Common Buzzards soared overhead.  We stopped at Talley Abbey and scanned the lake.  Only a couple of Greylag Geese were noted.

Grey Wagtail

We also stopped at Edwinsford in the hope of a Dipper.  No luck but a beautiful Grey Wagtail.  Abergorlech was more successful with a pair of Dippers and at least one young.  Another Grey Wagtail and a Red Kite were added and we stopped to look at some orchids too.


A wonderful experience of seeing the Welsh countryside at its best even though I was totally exhausted on my return.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Enjoying The Sun

Male Blackcap

I have sent some time in the garden sun this morning trying to string a singing Blackcap into a Garden Warbler.  Without success I should say.  Not much birdwise although we do appear to have a pair of Bullfinches but no sign of any young.  Lots of silaeage cuttung up the hill so Red Kites and Buzzards are passing over.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Good News All Round

Wendell Thomas discovered Mediteranean Gull feeding a chick at Penclacwydd this week which constitutes the first known breeding record for Carmartharnshire.  Good stuff Wendell.

Mediterranean Gull

I managed my third chemotherapy session yesterday and that seemed to go OK.  I am back home but need to go back for a morning on Tuesday for a blood transfusion as I am a bit anaemic.  Now for a CT Scan to see whether wwe are beating the lymphona which I am sure we are.

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Bit Of A Setback

One off the more severe side effects of chemotherapy is mouth ulcers and oral thrush.  I have developed a bad case of the former in recent days which has led to my chemo session this week being postponed until next Friday.  Such a nuisance.

House Martin

Still I did get to see a House Martin yesterday.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Some Time At Home Again

Good to be home from hospital again and now waiting for my third chemotherapy session next Friday. Grey Heron became species number 13 seen from my hospital window this week but it has been the large numbers of Jackdaws nesting in the hospital buildings that have caught my interest lately.

Grey Heron

Their vocalisations have been very obvious and I must admit I had not bothered to take notice before.  Young in the nest produce a very high pitched strident call which an sound a bit like a group of parakeets in the distance.  Once they have fledged they do sound more like the adults. It is stimulating what you can learn from a common bird when you spend a lot of time watching them.


What has been depressing is to hear of news that Natural England are dealing with requests to shoot Buzzards to protect commercially reared pheasant poults and Red Kites at an RAF base.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Book You Will Need If You Are Birding In Kenya

Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley by Adam Scott Kennedy.  Princeton Wildlife Explorer Guide.  £18.95 ISBN 9780691159072       264 pages    500 colour illustrations.

This volume is a sister book to two titles already covered on this blog but one which deals with the birds of Kenya's Rift Valley an area very popular with Europe's birders.  The area officially covers the major National Parks of Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Mount Longonot and Hell's gate but this book can also be used at Masi Mara, Lake Navaisha and Lake Baringo.

As in the previous volumes there are good introductory chapters dealing with the habitats and in this case the important lake systems within the Rift Valley.  These sections also deal with the significant bird species to be found in these areas.  Excellent maps are also present which will help to plan routes etc.

By far the most impressive thing about this book is the wonderful collection of bird photographs assembled by habitat types covering well over 300 species most of which you might add to your list if visiting this region. I wish I had the opportunity to have this book in my bag on my trip to this bird paradise some years ago.  It would certainly have made identification much easier.  The layout of the photographic guide is so helpful.

Adam Scott Kennedy is once again the author of this splendid guide and his great knowledge of the birds comes through in the concise but helpful text.

You should not visit this area without a copy of this book.