The January Report, 2011.
What a start to the New Year. The arctic conditions of the previous two months have mercifully gone. To be replaced by heavy rain and a week of severe gales and the inevitable Dovey in flood. The short eared owl, kingfishers and dippers regained along the Llyfnant have all vanished after the last arctic spell. The surviving regulars are 5 goosanders (2 males), 4 goldeneye ( 1 male), 2 pairs of kites, and a solitary little grebe. Corvids and raptors continue with their presence with menace as always.
Week ending, Sunday 2nd January.
Raptors in relays revisiting the osprey twin towers throughout the week. Either on surveillance spreading their malevolence over the area. A kite looking near starvation, was robustly chased and harried by a pair of buzzards. (2nd) The week produced only 2 very grumpy looking little egrets. Corvids in gangs tried to rob the raptors of their kills.
Week ending 9th. January.
A beautiful hen harrier slowly toured the Tyn O Hir bog (SSSI) and later moved on to repeat a slow and low hunting performance over the William Condry reserve(SSSI). Corvids (magpies, carrion crows and ravens) and raptors (buzzards and sparrowhawks) variously made 31 visits onto the osprey twin towers keeping the area under surveillance or to launch their attacks on targets of opportunity. 17 teal, 2 wigeon and 1 little grebe stayed close to the main railway bridge sheltering under tall mudbanks.
Week ending Sunday 16th. January.
A week of heavy rain and gales: Monsoon conditions with a nip in the air. The Dovey in flood providing 4 drowned sheep (at least) fetched up by the wind onto the edge of the saltings as a customary winter feast for 10+ great black backed gulls; 14 ravens (9 of the Llyfnant clan); carrion crows; no count, too many and constantly fighting. 7+ buzzards waiting patiently in the pecking order and 4 kites, always quickly driven off by the others and several herring gulls who tried to steal a space within the feasting cycle. 23 visits by raptors and corvids on the osprey twin towers to continue their predation with the corvids unhesitating in trying to steal the kills.
Week ending 23rd. January. 56 visits by relays of corvids and raptors who continue to use the osprey twin towers as high strategic surveillance perches, all to launch their deadly attacks on anything that moves into or across the area. 17 teal: YE GODS; when in past years we had them in high hundreds daily at this time of the year!
Week ending Sunday 30th. January.
From dawn to dusk, 63 visits onto the osprey twin towers, all recorded and all timed. By magpies, carrion crows, ravens, buzzards and sparrowhawks. All this over an area that is supposed to be a designated SSSI and SPA reserve. This week incorporates no records for tuesday 25th January, I spent the day in Aberystwyth and on thursday 27th. I had a meeting.
As with everything entered into my log books, great care has been taken over daily raptor and corvid activities on the MWT reserve. The osprey twin towers continue to be a monument to daily and year long predation or malevolent surveillance by both groups of species with peregrines inevitably making periodic visits to add to the mayhem.
During the week of heavy rain, gales and floods tightly packed groups of cormorants; 9, 3 and 5 for example; engaged in bouts of "sky-pointing" while resting on drier exposed strips of salting, all with their wings close reefed; for all the world looking like collections of dark and sombre Rodin bronzes as monuments to another age.
© Jim Marshall. 30th. January 2011