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Clwydian Hills AONB (1 Viewer)

glennmanc

Well-known member
Sep 18th 2018. This is a good time of year to visit Ysceifiog Lake, since enough leaves have fallen to make the lake visible from the footpath, but the footpath has not yet become its usual boggy winter self. Teal (46), Mallard (24), Tufted Duck (16), Gadwall (4) and Coot (32) were all present with Moorhens and Little Grebes.
 

Peugeot

Well-known member
Sep 18th 2018. This is a good time of year to visit Ysceifiog Lake, since enough leaves have fallen to make the lake visible from the footpath, but the footpath has not yet become its usual boggy winter self. Teal (46), Mallard (24), Tufted Duck (16), Gadwall (4) and Coot (32) were all present with Moorhens and Little Grebes.



A lovely lake, in a lovely area of North Wales, and a place that I should visit more often myself,.......may I ask, how have you found the surrounding woodlands for birdlife, they were relatively quiet during my last visit a few years ago?
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 2nd 2018. The pool at Star Crossing had a flock of 10 Goosander this morning, joining 7 Mallards, 2 Teal and the resident Lapwing family. Along the Cilcain Road in Pantymwyn, a young male Sparrowhawk was mobbed persistently by 2 Jackdaws and a Magpie, even risking a brief talon contact with one of the Jackdaws. It held its ground because I saw it twice more over Pantymwyn during the next half-hour.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 5th 2018. A late start to my morning walk around the village yesterday and by 10.30am it seemed that few birds were showing, but then I was lucky enough to look up and watch two migrant Red Kites glide overhead along the Cilcain Road. It's worth remembering that even Buzzards, now very common here, were rarely seen in Pantymwyn before the big range expansion began in the mid-1980s. Meanwhile, back at the Star Crossing Pool this morning, Goosanders were up to 14, with 13 Mallard and 5 Teal. I had been wondering whether the Lapwing family would disperse as winter approaches, but this morning their numbers were up from 5 to 8.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 7th 2018. There were many signs of the coming winter in Pantymwyn this morning. A sudden influx of male Blackbirds (14 with 3 Song Thushes; no Redwings yet) feeding on the haw berries, increasing numbers of Common Gulls flying over (14 in half-an-hour) and an abundance of Jays collecting food to bury for the winter. Moel Arthur seemed desolate in comparison; only a pair of Ravens to keep the Jays company and an adult male Sparrowhawk showing its red chest as it took off from its perch on a drystone wall.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 12th 2018. A adult male Sparrowhawk is now visiting the garden feeder every day, but without visible loss of Bullfinches so far. I checked my own records for Pantymwyn in the past 10 years and found only 5 Kestrel records compared with 71 for Sparrowhawk (for the whole UK, it was 258 Kestrel and 250 Sparrowhawk). There were 165 Common Gulls in a field north of Cilcain, my first big feeding flock of the winter and the Goosanders (8) are still at the Star Crossing pool, but there were no Lapwings there this morning. A walk near Moel Famau yesterday found 12+ Ravens taking advantage of the updraughts on a breezy day and 30+ Meadow Pipits on the heather. Down in the Clwyd Forest, there was an abundance of Fly Agaric mushrooms among the pines but the dominant bird is now the humble Robin.
 

jogresh

Registered nutjob
Nice thread, thanks for posting your sightings. My cousin lives in Nannerch and i pay them a visit from time to time. Great news about the Lapwings. Whereabouts is Star Crossing Pool?
I can only add one bird to your list - Hawfinch, seen in the churchyard at Christmas in 2014 and 2017 ( http://www.northwalesbirding.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7845 )
Ysceifiog lake sounds good, we sometimes go to the Fox so i'll have to have a look next time.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 19th 2018. Exasperated with the apparent absence of Redwings in Pantymwyn, I took off for the Cilcain moors and had no trouble locating flocks of 30+ Redwing and 30+ Fieldfare feeding on the rowan berries and on the ground. The surprise was at least 5 very vocal Brambling, mixed with Chaffinches, in a total flock of 30+. The Star Crossing pool, in contrast, was empty of all except a single Little Grebe, possibly because of some earlier disturbance (a one-sided Battle-of-the-Somme between Homo erectus and local pheasants was taking place within hearing distance).
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Nice thread, thanks for posting your sightings. My cousin lives in Nannerch and i pay them a visit from time to time. Great news about the Lapwings. Whereabouts is Star Crossing Pool?
I can only add one bird to your list - Hawfinch, seen in the churchyard at Christmas in 2014 and 2017 ( http://www.northwalesbirding.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7845 )
Ysceifiog lake sounds good, we sometimes go to the Fox so i'll have to have a look next time.

Star Crossing is where the road to Cilcain turns off the main Mold-Denbigh road
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Oct 23rd 2018. A cold and windswept morning but a Peregrine soaring along the Alun valley made the village walk worthwhile. Plenty of woodpigeons here, so the Peregrines probably hunt regularly and it's just a matter of luck if you happen to see one on their 20-30 second visits. Common Gulls crossing from the estuary all morning now and flocks of 100+ in the fields around Cilcain. Redwings are regular now in Pantymwyn but no large movements seen as yet. The Star Crossing pool was completely deserted; not even a Little Grebe! As I sat writing this post at 12 noon, a male Sparrowhawk crashed into the feeders outside my window, but so quickly that I couldn't tell whether it managed to carry off one of the Bullfinches.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Nice thread, thanks for posting your sightings. My cousin lives in Nannerch and i pay them a visit from time to time. Great news about the Lapwings. Whereabouts is Star Crossing Pool?
I can only add one bird to your list - Hawfinch, seen in the churchyard at Christmas in 2014 and 2017 ( http://www.northwalesbirding.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7845 )
Ysceifiog lake sounds good, we sometimes go to the Fox so i'll have to have a look next time.

I haven't yet been able to work out how to edit an old post - in order to add Hawfinch to the list. But Hawfinches once nested in the Alun valley (40 years ago) and have been recorded in Pantymwyn in winter more recently, but not by me.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Nov 5th. A walk up the north face of Moel Findeg near the Owain Glyndwr pub uncovered a very large flock of winter thrushes with 250+ Redwings and 10-30 each of Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds (I suspect a few Song Thrushes may be among the Redwings, but they are hard to pick out in large flocks). As I reached the top of the hill, a large Sparrowhawk flew past me, hugging the ground, and put up a second Sparrowhawk, also a large female which succeeded in seeing the intruder off. Up at Moel Arthur car park the day before, a similar Sparrowhawk had flashed across the road, barely a foot above the ground and so easily overlooked by the casual walker. Pipits and chats had largely deserted the moorland here, but I saw a large bird flying low along the Cilcain ridge, long, strong and direct, like a duck, but the binoculars revealed a Red Grouse landing in the heather. Ironically, grouse are much easier to see on shooting moors than here, where they run safe and free, but where the populations, both Red and Black, seem to be at least stable.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Dec 5th Not a lot happening here in winter, so I'll leave off this post until closer to Spring - but please do your own posts here if you seen anything of interest. The Chwiler valley pools have been devoid of waterbirds for some time and the Redwing/Fieldfare flocks have mostly moved on, although Blackbirds are still present in good numbers in the villages.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
I managed to escape the North Wales winter by spending it in VietNam (13 new birds bringing me up to 540 for that country!) but am now back on a very pleasantly warm St David's Day. Pantymwyn village has (at least) 4 Bramblings, 4 Siskins and 4 Redpolls at the moment, coming occasionally to garden feeders. In the Chwiler valley near Cilcain this morning, there were 580 Common Gulls in a single flock - these are the gulls that fly over Pantymwyn and surroundings in the early mornings (but they will leave us soon). A young male Sparrowhawk made a half-hearted pass at a couple of House Sparrows crossing the road, though it didn't seem to bother them unduly (no doubt they saw it coming). Up at the Hendy pools, there were 20 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 4 Mallard and 4 Coot, a very respectable haul for such small ponds.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
March 6th 2019: I've always had the impression that Brambling numbers in Pantymwyn built up during March and early April and this was supported by a count of 10 this morning along the Cilcain Road-Cefn Bychan ridge. They were all attracted to nearby garden feeders though we haven't had them in our own garden yet. As I climbed the path from Devil's Gorge to the village, a Sparrowhawk glided towards me just inches above the tarmac and passed me only a yard in front of my feet.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
Still a good variety of birds in Pantymwyn, with winter visitors like Brambling, Siskin and Redpoll still present around bird feeders. A Kestrel this morning (chased off by two Jackdaws) was a pleasant surprise, though they are common enough across the valley around Cilcain. Although I've yet to hear a Chiffchaff in Pantymwyn village, good numbers have been singing in surrounding areas for nearly a week and a male Wheatear was back at its regular nesting site above Cilcain yesterday. The large daytime flocks of foraging Common Gulls have left us already but the ducks (4 species) at Star Crossing pools show no sign of dispersing yet.
 

glennmanc

Well-known member
The last day in March brought my first Swallow in the Chwiler Valley and my first Blackcap in Pantymwyn, while Chiffchaffs are singing everywhere now. Although Brambling (at least 7), Redpoll and Siskin are still visiting Pantymwyn bird feeders today, the Star Crossing pool had lost its Shovelers by Mar 31st and Teal numbers were down to 5. On a trip north to Morecambe last week, I was surprised to find Tree Sparrows common in the town and Eider ducks common along the seafront - another world out there.
 
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glennmanc

Well-known member
Apr 10th. Brambling numbers were up to at least 21 this morning and the road down to Devil's Gorge was alive with their buzzing and squeaking. As I climbed back to the village, a Badger lumbered down the road towards me. I was downwind, so it continued towards me and passed by just a couple of feet away. Remarkable to see this mainly-nocturnal animal so active at 10.30am. Spring is almost upon us in spite of the cold weather - the blackthorn blossom continues its blindingly-white display and one might almost forgive its intrusion onto the orchid-rich pastures of Pantymwyn (almost, but not quite). Yesterday, I found my first Willow Warblers of the year around the old lead-mine workings at Rhes-y-cae (along with singing Skylarks) and on Sunday, my first Redstart at the Connah's Quay Reserve.
 
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