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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Owen's Wildlife 2024 (2 Viewers)

April 20th

Enjoyable sunny family walk along the Ely river brought my first Large Whites and Orange Tips and my first UK Small Whites, lots of brimstones too and one Holly Blue, finally felt properly springlike after some false starts. Only got photos of a female orange tip.

16 Large White
17 Orange tip


Birds 213 mammals 12 herp 4 butterflies 17. Total 246 lifers 14
April 24th

Quick after work visit to the blorenge in the black mountains. Was nice to just get outdoors after a days work and there was a nice variety of birds even if they didn't ever get particularly close. Some mid range Whinchat including two males squabbling over a perch and my patience in waiting and waiting for them to get closer didn't pay off as far as the whinchat went but did mean I got to see a cracking male redstart. Also that little too distant for a decent photo but a really striking bird.

214 Whinchat
215 redstart

Birds 215 mammals 12 herp 4 butterflies 17. Total 248 lifers 14
April 25th

A quick visit to the bay to scope a pair of Common Scoter, a patch and uk year tick but not eligible for this blog. They were sat sedately on the water just in front of the Welsh Parliament.

Up to Wenallt woods where someone had had a wood warbler a few days ago, its a lovely wood where I saw my only Red Flanked Bluetail a few years ago. Nice range of woodland birds but no wood warbler.

A couple of miles further on to Rudry Common, again a really nice range of birds, nice to see Redpoll which I dont see near me very often and one song-flighting Tree Pipit. The only photo was of it's back and quite distant so I'll spare you guys that. Depending on the weather I should get to go a bit further tomorrow

216 Tree Pipit

Birds 216 mammals 12 herp 4 butterflies 17. Total 249 lifers 14
April 26th

Ham Wall in Somerset for a morning today. Got there about 8.30 and as always loved every minute. So many close birds, every tree seemed to have blackcaps and every reed bed Cettis and Reed Warblers. Quickly saw a trio of Glossy Ibis and a nice spotted redshank as well as getting close up views of a Great Egret with green breeding plumage lores, not really taken that in before.

Took about 3 hours before I saw a bittern despite constant booming. One was flushed from maybe 10m away by a great egret and watched it in flight over the reeds. A second gave a flyby about 3 feet above the water for the whole length of the clearing in front of the avalon hide. I stuck to bins for that one and it was probably my best ever flight views. Tons of Marsh Harriers and a few sightings of a crane that apparently was the first breeder for the site this year, always good to watch them whatever the ins and outs of reintroductions.

Heard a load of Garden Warblers and one Sedge but weirdly no whitethroats. Eventually managed awful photos of garden warbler in the canopy as well as my first swifts of the year. As I was driving out of the reserve in the early afternoon I had a hobby flying over the car as it crossed from shapwick heath to Ham Wall itself.

Luckily for the Hobby dragon and damselflies were in good supply, my first ones of the year but the damsels in particular were quite numerous. Also plenty of orange tip and peacock and a few speckled woods and green veined whites. The reedbed loop also provided a tiny grass snake.

Always one of my favourite places in the world and another great visit.

217 Swift
218 Bittern
219 Garden Warbler
220 Hobby
5 grass snake






Birds 220 mammals 12 herp 5 butterflies 17. Total 254 lifers 14
Pair of Parakeets on the way to work, near their main cardiff site saves me a half hearted trip at a later date

221 Ring necked parakeet

Birds 221 mammals 12 herp 5 butterflies 17. Total 255 lifers 14
I had no idea they had spread that far!

Big fall of warblers (and greenland wheatear) in Cardiff bay this morning, only a couple of days after everyone was bemoaning the lack of migrants. Today we had ever more excited whats apps through the first few hours of the morning

Car was in the garage so I missed the early showy Grasshopper Warbler but by the time I got there it was still absolutely packed out with common warblers, often clearly multiples in small patches of reeds or hedge and the noise was amazing. As the fog and drizzle set in it was largely just standing in amazement at the sheer volume of sedge warbler calls. Spotted Flycatcher and Garden warbler were, like the grasshopper warbler, clearly on their way through. I saw both but the next birder to arrive saw neither and I had a fly over Yellow Wagtail as well which like Garden Warbler is not an easy Cardiff bird. The sedge warblers were the stars though, largely hidden but so so noisy.

222 Spotted flycatcher
223 yellow wagtail
224 common whitethroat
225 Sedge Warbler.

Very bad visibility so the photos arent great



May 4th

My first ever visit to RSPB Gwenffrwd-Dinas in mid wales today with ex-Birdforumer Rich/Clarkgriswold. I've always been a bit put off by the travel times and the fact I work on the edge of the Forest of Dean means I usually see it's specialities there but I was blown away by the reserve and the sheer number of birds. Countless Pied Flycatchers, probably 7 or 8 wood warblers including one singing just in front of us. Marsh Tit, singing Common Sandpipers, lots of redstarts and a heard only cuckoo.

The wood warbler was definitely the highlight, like a lot of people I find it hard to see most years and often settle for very quick views of a warbler near a tree with the right song but it was great getting tuned into call and song and repeatedly finding them nearby.

Stopped and scanned on a few mountain roads so Rich could year tick Whinchat which also brought quite a few yellowhammer, not an easy bird in wales and an UK year tick for me.





226 Pied flycatcher
227 wood warbler phototick

Birds 227 mammals 12 herp 5 butterflies 17. Total 261 lifers 14
May 9th

Spent the morning at first Goldcliff and then Uskmouth RSPB reserves and very much enjoyed the sunshine and birds without adding anything new to the lists. Lots of warblers and good numbers of butterflies and dragonflies but nothing I hadn't already seen.

Nearer to home at Cosmeston I managed my first slow worms and Dingy Skippers of the year. The skippers were especially good, saw 4 or 5 including ones already zooming around in twirling flight together.





6 slow worm
17 Dingy Skipper

Birds 227 Mammals 12 Herp 6 Butterflies 18 Total 263 Lifers 14
Nice early start at Slimbridge where the bluethroat showed a few minuts after i arrived, nothing like my previous dips or even my eventual views in 2022. Scope views were excellent but photos weren't, views through the reeds are actually very easy right now and it showed every 10 minutes or so while I was there. Heard only grasshopper warbler and cuckoo too.

added an egyptian goose and a lovely summer plumage Grey Plover before heading to Rodborough Common for great views of Dukes of Burgundy and Green Hairstreak and enjoyable flight views of a swirling pair of Brown Argus. Pretty sure i also had small heath but they'll come.

13 bank vole
228 bluethroat +
229 Egyptian goose (not sure if i saw one last year)
19 Duke of Burgundy
20 Green Hairstreak
21 Brown Argus

Birds 229 Mammals 13 Herp 6 Butterflies 21 Total 269 Lifers 14



May 11

Paid a quick family visit to Merthyr Mawr on the glamorgan coast today, an amazing site with huge sand dunes and plenty of specialist wildlife. Its my nearest site for Grizzled Skipper and managed to see a few. Also a very nice Brown Argus that was a lot more posey than normal, all my other photos are of very worn ones so it was nice to get a fresh one and to manage a photo at all after seeing some yesterday

My wife and daughter found a decent sized slow worm but I couldn't spot any common lizards which i normally year tick there. I'm sure I'll see one somewhere.

Got a few sites for Fritillaries hopefully lined up for next week if the weather allows, nice to be in butterfly season.

22 Grizzled Skipper

Birds 229 Mammals 13 Herp 6 Butterflies 22 Total 270 Lifers 14


Nice walk around local patch this morning. Was a little too overcast for much butterfly action making me worry a bit about tomorrows Fritillary trip but did manage one common blue on top of a few species I’ve already seen.

Not having any butterflies to chase I had a real look at the hedges and found loads of scorpion flies and caterpillars as well as a few toads and the start of a new orchid. Some nice general naturalism.

23 common blue.

Birds 229 Mammals 13 Herp 6 Butterflies 23 Total 271 Lifers 14


Another trip to the cotswolds today, which was thankfully a lot sunnier than the forecasts for some great early summer insect watching.

Selsey Common was full of orchids, not unfortunately the Fly orchids I wanted to see but it's a big place and when I asked a dog walker where was best for orchids he definitely sent me to a great couple of spots. Loads of Green Winged and Early Purple and some common twayblade and Common Spotted. Also my first confirmed Small Heaths of the year and some lovely skylarks.

On the way to my next stop I went past a muntjac eating away in a roadside orchard and had to pause to let 5 fallow deer cross the road in front of me.

Siccaridge wood was an amazing site, very taken with the Longhorn moths and Lily of the Valley but the big draw was Pearl Bordered Fritillary. I didn't manage to confirm a sighting last year as unbeknownst to me the only place I went for them also had Small Pearl Bordered and I didn't get any pics. Made up for that this time and saw maybe a dozen with 4 at a time in one section. Lovely things.

A brief stop at strawberry banks brought marsh fritillary but I was a bit worried about delays on the drive back so cut it short. Getting home in plenty of time I paid a visit to the local, illegally released Marsh Frits. Probably the best looking of all Britains butterflies. Another common blue at this stop but still no photos and dingy skipper at all the stops.

24 small heath
25 pearl bordered fritillary +
26 marsh fritillary
14 muntjac
15 fallow deer

Birds 229 Mammals 15 Herp 6 Butterflies 26 Total 276 Lifers 14


early purple orchid.JPG

Small Heath 2024.JPG

Skylark Cotswolds 2024.JPG



Not really an addition but back in post 1 I said that one of my main targets was a new Odonata in the UK, been meaning to target Red Eyed Damsel this week as it's found in a few sites in Newport but a local birder got a weird teneral female damsel in the local marina yesterday that turned out to be Red Eyed so I popped down this morning and sure enough there was a Male a few hundred meters from her spot. Stuck to slime patches quite a way out so the photos arent great but was nice to find it succesfully. Had my first UK painted lady of the year as well.

Not quite as impressive as one of the Emeralds but still a tick and apparently a new site for the species.

Possibly a controversial one but I think I remember Farnboro John saying they were tickable and almost all of uks mammals are introduced anyway

Family holiday to snowdonia and Ireland. Some new plants and insects and pied flycatcher and redstarts as the best of the birds.

A drive around a very wet snowdon today brought some Feral Kashmiri goats.

Anglesey’s rspb reserves and a crossing to Dublin should bring some sea birds tomorrow.

16 feral goat +

Birds 229 Mammals 16 Herp 6 Butterflies 26 Total 277 Lifers 14
Sat on a ferry in Holyhead harbour. Hopefully the journey will provide a few birds. Quick but enjoyable visits to Cemlyn Bay and South stack this morning. Just beat the rush at south stack which was gridlocked coming in by the time we left.

Was expecting a few more puffins but picked out a handful amongst the thousands of guillemots and razorbills. Plenty of chough and fulmar as well.

Loved Cemlyn. Hundreds of terns flying in from the bay with fish, hurtling just over head. Amazing experience.

230 common tern
231 guillemot
232 puffin

Birds 232 Mammals 16 Herp 6 Butterflies 26 Total 280 Lifers 14


That’s a good uni to choose for birdwatching. My first time at both. My first time on ynys mon for a good few years. Loved them though. I’d like to give south stack a proper look for flowers and insects and I loved the tern colony

Just had a pair of Manx shearwater from the ferry for 233
Good memories of great places, I used to visit both South Stack and Cemlyn Bay a lot when I was at University in Bangor.

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