Birds

Good News! Pied Flycatchers have Returned!

Spotted in Gwernavon woods, Llawr-y-glyn, Powys yesterday (13.04.2023) the first pied flycatcher to make it back from Africa through the gales and rain — the day before that it snowed and hailed here. The male bird looked in very good condition, plump and lively — probably fluffed up trying to keep warm.

No sign of last years swallows returning yet but some have been seen in Y Fan, just over the hill

Where are our babies? The swallows from the beam in the barn.

Last years pied flycatcher fledgelings were ringed so we might be able to spot them if they make it back — here’s hoping.

Tomorrow the rain will stop and we will look for the northern wheatears — I shall feel very much better when they are all back in their summer quarters even though I know many individuals will have been lost!

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Ecology

Spring Building Boom

Spring creeps slowly up our valley and in the last  week we have had 70 mm of rainfall, which is not at all unusual, but yesterday the sun came out.P1050503 (2)The new vibrant verges have splashes of bluebells and the pond surface trembles with life as the tadpoles jostle for a place in the sun.

Tadpoles jostle for the sun's warmth

Yesterday the first orange tip butterflies flitted between the pink flowers of the lady’s smock, the cuckoo called from the thicket on the hill and a tiny frog had his first taste of fresh air, albeit with the assistance of the author.

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I put him back where I found him.

But best of all –yesterday our swallows returned, flapping at our bedroom window  as the first rays of the sun struck the front of the house, they used to nest in this barn until we made it our home and ten years later still try to return to the beam above our bed.  We close the window and reluctantly they swoop off and renovate last year’s nests in the wood shed and perhaps accept our offer of a beam in the new barn.

The house martins that built their nest under the north facing eaves last year for the first time are back in force, at least two pairs.  Last year’s nest fell down in the winter but it looks as if they are preparing to rebuild.

The house sparrows are back in the hole behind the downspout that we left for them when we re-pointed (not because it was difficult to get at) and, needless to say, all is quiet on the bird-box front.

The moles have been busy re-boring their runs and Alan, not convinced by my argument that their efforts improve the drainage of our fields and that they should be left to get on with the job, stomped off to knock down mole hills. By tea time the mole hills were no more than a memory, smears on the pristine sward.  By breakfast today, with monumental earth moving ability, they had rebuilt three or four in each field, shifting hundreds of times their own weight in wet earth.  My admiration for the little velvet suited engineer is not well received by my spouse!

Rare sighting of mole. Is it still raining?

Local Hero!

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