River Wildlife…

We are lucky to have a very diverse array of wildlife along our stretch of the river and I would like to share a small selection of my sightings from the past 4 or 5 weeks.
I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them!

Juvenile Fox seen at Vaynor.

Juvenile Fox seen at Vaynor.

Male Kingfisher seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Male Kingfisher seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Painted Lady Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Painted Lady Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Red Soldier Beetle seen at Trehafren.

Red Soldier Beetle seen at Trehafren.

Juvenile Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Juvenile Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Comma Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Comma Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Juvenile birds….

Here are a few photo’s of juvenile birds that I have seen on the river over the past few weeks.

Goosander below Dolerw Bridge.

Goosander below Dolerw Bridge.

Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook entrance.

Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook entrance.

Dipper seen downstream of the Mochdre Brook.

Dipper seen downstream of the Mochdre Brook.

The Goosander is part of a family of 8; the Grey Wagtail was 1 of 2 juveniles seen and the Dipper is 1 of 2 juveniles seen.

Common Sandpipers return….

Glad to report that the Common Sandpipers have nested and raised chicks again this year, around the Vaynor area. The parents were calling continuously and eventually a single chick popped out of the reeds and scuttled along the rocks into the undergrowth on the riverbank.
The photo’s below show the parent birds and the very young chick. I noted that one of the parents has a leg ring.

Common Sandpiper calling to the chick.

Common Sandpiper calling to the chick.

Common Sandpiper seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper chick seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper chick seen at Vaynor.

Otter Sighting….

There have been numerous reports of Otter sightings around the area below Penarth Weir, so I was quite surprised when this lone Otter swam across the river close by me at Vaynor. It dived under the water after a fish, but I didn’t see it surface and it just melted away from view.
From the size of it, I would think that it is a dog Otter.

Otter seen at Vaynor.

Otter seen at Vaynor.

Kingfisher fledglings…

We have been fortunate enough to have a pair of Kingfishers breed successfully on our river and this resulted in 2 fledglings being raised. Below are some shots of them taken a few weeks ago.
At the time of posting, it appears that the parents may now have left them to fend for themselves.

The adult Kingfisher returns with a meal.

The adult Kingfisher returns with a meal.

A fledgling begs for food.

A fledgling begs for food.

A fledgling waits for the parent to return with a meal.

A fledgling waits for the parent to return with a meal.

Dippers on the Mochdre Brook

The leg-ringed Dipper (E05) that was seen on the brook last year, appears to have been replaced by a new Dipper (J81), which has found a mate and they are now in the process of nest building.
I believe that the Dipper with the leg-ring is the female of the pair.

Dipper (J81) at Mochdre Brook.

Dipper (J81) at Mochdre Brook.

Dipper with nesting material.

Male Dipper with nesting material.

The pair of Dippers at Mochdre Brook.

The pair of Dippers at Mochdre Brook.

Cormorant at Trehafren…

Although they are not seen on our river too frequently, a Cormorant has been seen on our stretch of the river for over a month and last week, I was lucky enough to get some shots of it.
Fortunately for me – (not for the bird) – it’s feathers were becoming water-logged and it needed to get out of the water to dry off and preen itself. It settled on the opposite river bank and gave me a brilliant view of those huge webbed feet and that large green/blue eye.
In the water, the feathers on its back take on an almost snake like appearance.
A striking bird, but of course – hated by the fishing fraternity.

Cormorant at Trehafren

Cormorant at Trehafren

Cormorant at Trehafren.

Cormorant at Trehafren.

Kingfishers on the river…

I am quite excited to report that the Kingfishers appear to be thriving along our stretch of the river. Their existence is always an indicator that the river is in good condition.
It looks as though there might be at least 3 individual birds between Vaynor and the Halfpenny Bridge. I have frequently spotted them glinting as they flash along the river, but have had little luck when it came to photographing them.
This weekend, I captured the enclosed photo on the riverbank opposite St. Mary’s Church and it astonishingly shows 2 birds perching together. I can’t quite decide whether it is 2 males or a male and a juvenile, as the feet on the one bird are obscured from view, but I wouldn’t have thought that 2 males would have tolerated each other in this manner.
Nevertheless, nice to see on our river and lets hope that they stay with us for a long time. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to spot them too.

Kingfishers by St. Mary's Church.

Kingfishers by St. Mary’s Church.

Nice to see the Dippers again

The Dippers appear to have recovered at Vaynor again, after the upset of Network Rail carrying out tree felling during the nesting season. There are a number of birds there now and you can almost guarantee seeing one, when you visit.

Dipper at Vaynor.

Dipper at Vaynor.

On my weekend walk, I was surprised at the number of Speckled Wood Butterflies that were around. Virtually every butterfly that I encountered was of this species!

Speckled Wood Butterfly at Trehafren.

Speckled Wood Butterfly at Trehafren.

River Wildlife

Whilst out walking this weekend, I managed to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Trehafren, numerous Grey Wagtails at Vaynor and a Kingfisher, also at Vaynor. There are also a lot of Jays to be heard, but as usual, they are quite difficult to see.
So although this is a ‘quiet’ time of the year for birds, there is still plenty to see along the river.

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Trehafren

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Trehafren

Grey Wagtail surveying its territory at Vaynor.

Grey Wagtail surveying its territory at Vaynor.