Trip reports

Trip to Rudry Common

Cuckoo perched in tree

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A sunny and calm day for our circular walk. We felt lucky considering the wind and heavy rain had been a feature in recent weeks leading up to the outing. Even before the walk started, there were two different species of bird which caught our attention. Firstly a flock of Crossbills passed over the car park. These birds like conifer plantations which are a feature on the main road from Caerphilly to the Common. A Sparrowhawk made a brief appearance, disappearing low over bushes.

We set off along the footpaths through lowland heath plants. Calls of Tree Pipits attracted our attention. They have a distinctive call display, rising from a tree and parachuting down to another tree. Meadow Pipits have a similar display, which were also a feature on our trip. We came across a field which on closer inspection produced a Wheatear. This bird is an early migrant from Africa. Sightings are normally seen in Britain from the middle of March. Once a male Wheatear was spotted others suddenly appeared, five in all. A Swallow was obliging, flying close to us. A distant Cuckoo was heard. The previous day a Cuckoo was spotted on the Common causing mischief amongst pipits when it was going from bush to bush appearing to want to lay its egg in another birds nest.

This was a trip where birds were calling left, right and centre, separating the species was quite hard. A distant Great Spotted Woodpecker called amongst different warblers. These included Whitethroat, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. The Woodpecker appeared and flew close by with its distinctive undulating flight. More than one Nuthatch were seen, showed well scaling the trees. Skylark and a Reed Bunting were singing, the latter being particularly difficult to spot.

We approached a farm where a party of Long-Tailed Tits appeared and also House Sparrows chirping along a hedgerow.

As well as birdlife there was pond life. A mass of tadpoles as well as a water boatman brought added enjoyment. Near the end of the walk the sun brought out Speckled Wood and Peacock butterflies.
Two Buzzards were on a mission over conifers.

Last part of the journey we entered a meadow with Tree Pipits showing well, with a couple of Swift making this more into a Summer's day.

Our walk produced 35 species of bird.