Trip reports

Field trip to Lamby Lake and Rumney Great Wharf

Sunday, 24 February 2013

This was our first field trip for 2013 at this popular local birding site and it certainly turned out to be an excellent day. We are very lucky to find so many star species on our door step.
Twelve of us met at the car park and it was nice to see six new faces. It was a really freezing but clear day; it was definitely thermal gear weather. Even the Great Crested Grebes on the lake had their heads tucked under their wings.
Our luck was in as we met a local birder who knows the area very well. He told us that a Barn Owl was roosting in the hollow of a tree near Mardy Road, on the way to Rumney Great Wharf.
We decided to walk around Lamby Lake first, and then continue to Rumney Great Wharf. As we walked around the lake a few of the group fortunately saw a Bittern fly out of the reeds and head across the lake to the reeds near the far end, near the industrial buildings. Other birds on the lake were Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull and Tufted Duck. The iridescent colours of the Tufted Duck really stood out in the winter sunlight.
We then made our way under the over pass on the west side of the lake to see what waders were on the river. Although the tide was out Redshank were feeding in the mud. Teal and Cormorants were also noted.
On the far side of the lake, as well as the intrepid anglers being out on such a cold day, we witnessed a fight between two male Mallards with one definitely getting the upper hand.
On entering the scrub area near the industrial buildings we saw a Reed Bunting in one of the bushes. We also noted Long-tailed Tit flying by, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Blackbird and House Sparrows chirping in the bushes. We had spectacular views of a flock of fifteen Goldfinches acrobatically feeding on the teasels in that area. Such beautiful coloured birds. Then the group carried on to Rumney Great Wharf.
A few surprises were to be found at Rumney Great Wharf. In the field there were a few Curlews probing the earth. There was not much in the way numbers of wildfowl along the wide stretch of water leading up to the Wharf. A pair of mallards and the ever graceful Mute Swans.
We decided to divert from our present route to investigate the sighting of the Barn Owl. As described by the local birdwatcher earlier, the barn owl was sitting in the tree hollow. Luckily we arrived in time, as the bird disappeared deeper into the hollow after 10 minutes. There were reports of Little, Long-eared and Shorted Eared Owl in a two mile radius over that weekend, which will encourage some of us to return to the area.
As we returned to our route up to the Wharf, a large bird of prey was causing anxiety amongst a few crows. On closer inspection, it was a Goshawk, sadly it was being exercised by a Falconer. We thought it was a bit strange a Goshawk was flying about in that type of habit. On the positive side we felt proud about identifying this magnificent species.
There was an impressive number of a small wader, called a Dunlin. Up to 100 were circling the Wharf. Shelducks were taking advantage of the low tide. As we made our way back, a pair of Ravens flew over and were making their distinctive deep croak. Seagulls took advantage of the waste tip. Mostly Lesser Black-back Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. Enjoyable walk locally with a few surprises made the day that extra special.