My outings around our local patch this summer have been rather like my blogging activity of late – patchy at best. It was therefore a pleasant change to steal away for a couple of hours last Tuesday evening in an effort to catch up with proceedings. As it turned out I couldn’t have timed things better with a large passage of birds really bumping up resident numbers. Chief of these were the huge number of House Martins that seemed to fill the entire valley, their white rumps being picked out a treat in strong sunlight. Numbers steadily increased as I walked further inland with the largest concentration being focused around the old colliery site.
Back up on Bryn-bach-Common and another large influx, this time Linnets, were doing a slightly better job of posing for the camera. Much of the hundred plus flock were perched up on those infamous cables, a popular haunt for anything of interest passing through this particular area. Although my records are far from extensive I’m pretty sure that, like the House Martins, this is the largest single gathering of Linnets I’ve yet seen on patch.
Elsewhere things were rather quiet which is not too unexpected given the time of year. Most birds are now well fledged and either moulting or have found such abundant food supplies that there really isn’t much need to move around. The Stonechats were still about though and look to have had another successful season with at least two youngsters seen, whilst overhead one of the local Buzzards put on a fine display. With such bountiful offerings on my doorstep I often wander why I haven’t spent as much time up here as I’d have liked, and sadly the answer is all down to local abuse of the land. An occasional dirt bike is sadly the norm these days but recently people have been arriving in transit vans to make a day of it. Hardly the peace and tranquillity I was after and there’s also a sense of unease at walking around with optics and camera when such folks are in the vicinity. Secondly the blatant trashing of common land areas is getting beyond a joke now with refrigerators, building waste and even bags of household rubbish being left everywhere you look. Why people choose to dump this material up here instead of driving a similar distance to one of Swansea’s many refuse sites is a complete mystery. Worst of all though are the grass fires which have thankfully been far fewer this year but are always a constant threat. Even during this brief visit someone started one on the opposite side of the valley though thankfully it burned itself out before I needed to ring the fire service.
Despite the negatives though I just can’t abandon the place as not only does it allow me to clear my mind after a hard day in the office but it also offers some of the best views around. Sure it doesn’t rival Mull where we hope to move one day but there can’t be much better within touching distance of a major city.
Back to the birds and a quick check of my Patchwork Challenge list shows that I am now up to a respectable 52 species. Hopefully a few autumn migrants will help to bump that total further as I’m still aiming to beat last years score.
52 Species / 53 Points