05 December 2015

The storms keep rolling in

First-winter Kittiwake heading down-channel

More gusts and bluster over high tide, a few more hours atop the sea wall, a few more seabirds bagged.  An adult-winter Mediterranean Gull went up-channel and two each of Great Skua and Kittiwake down.  No divers, no auks.  A very quick look at the pools produced naff all of note.

You know, they do say that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of storms in the UK,... so, whilst your kids' futures are a total clustf*ck of accelerated sea level rise, rising temperatures, extreme winter precipitation and flooding, endless summer droughts and heatwaves, the failure of critical infrastructure from water supply to healthcare, ecosystem collapse, international instability, mass movements of refugees, shortages of raw materials and commodities, etc., etc., with a bit of luck, in the short-term, we should get a few extra Kittiwakes in the county.


29 November 2015

Yet more seabirds

Another half-decent few hours at a chilly and westerly swept Goldcliff Point (luckily we were tucked out of it with tea and chocolate biscuits on tap).  Highlights included: adult Little Gull, Great Northern Diver (it's been a good year for these), two pale phase Pomarine Skuas, two Great Skuas (one coming right in over the point) and 22 Kittiwake.  The one member of 'Team Point' doing a Gwent year list was beside himself with glee.  Unfortunately this was the end of the era of comfy seawatching, from now on it's back to the sea-wall with us.  This time next week it will be a flask of lukewarm, metallic-tangy tea; the twin trails of nose across glove; and the creak and squeal of compacted spine and corroded tripod head,... *sob*. 

At Goldcliff Pools conditions were bloody awful (neither tea nor biscuits on tap) and only a Greenshank made it into the notes app. 

 Bonxie coming in to the point,...

... Bonxie passing over the point.

23 November 2015

Wholemeal crusts

Popped in on Ynysyfro in the hope that a roaming Whooper Swan (or seven) had dropped in,... they hadn't.  Also fed the ducks at Fourteen Locks, Newport's premier venue for random combinations of polluted Mallard DNA.


First-winter Mudwangler.

Oh dear.

18 November 2015

Barney,... not quite Wilma

 Two of the Great Skuas in the, slightly murky, estuary this morning.  Difficult to be sure just how many were knocking around but 5-10 would probably cover it.

First-winter Shag just off the point, had a standard metal ring on the right leg, same bird as seen at Severnside?

Storm Barney produced a few seabirds off Goldcliff Point today including two Gwent tart-ticks: Razorbill and Shag.  Had I not got stuck in traffic it would have been three but Guillemot eluded me again, definitely my Gwent list bogey.  Bird of the day, however, was probably a brief Slavonian Grebe on the water just off the point, all the briefer for me thanks to a show of despicable blocking tactics by the former county recorder (ungentlemanly conduct, bringing the game into disrepute, etc., yellow, borderline red, card behaviour).  The best non-seabird was a late Swallow heading off towards Weston-super-Mare.

Haven't had a bad few days 'channel-watching' with Common Scoter, Great Northern Diver, Leach's Petrel, Gannet, Shag*, Slavonian Grebe**, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Razorbill*, auk sp., Black Guillemot* and Kittiwake all putting in appearances.  Just waiting for the Surf Scoter to come and visit now. 

* - Gwent and patch tick; ** - patch tick.     

15 November 2015

The perfect wave of improbability

Remember me, Captain?

There are many obstacles placed before the frustrated seabirders of Gwent, dubious geographical location (does that count as sea?), distance to the deepwater channel, a limited choice in observation points, etc.  However, it is the evil conjoined twins of disbelief and self-doubt that are the most impassable impediments.  Anything half-decent flying up or down-channel is instantly trailed by a dense fret of vacillation.  But add the slightest imperfection of viewing conditions, or brevity of sighting, and the water at the foot of the sea wall broils and froths, spray fills the air and a nigh impregnable wall of watery irresolution rushes skywards.  And there you are, at the foot of an impossibly vertical torrent of unlikelihood, clinging to your possible penguin or probable petrel.  Momentarily a troubled, colourless face peers back then,… the wave breaks and crashes down, crushing down, pummelling the olive clad body without and the ornithological spirit within.  The under-current swirls around once planted, sliding, slipping, flailing feet.  Swept out into the sea of not-quite-knowing, gasping, thrashing, turning to see,… to see nothing but unbearable wave after wave of incredulity, bearing down, barrelling down.  Submerged, wide-eyed, white-eyed, silent screams; brine-filled convulsions, lungs burst and from your grasp slips the prize find; down, down into the weedy, eely-mouthed darkness to a silty-soft, cold as death, hagfish-filled (thats-what-you-get-for-birding-on-the-)bed.

How’s it above?

And so it was.  An auk, arse-on, going away, Avonmouth-bound at a rate of (no [knots], only Barwit of note on the wader front).  White below, black tail, white rump, WHITE RUMP!  Get on this!  There's white on the upperparts, THERE IS WHITE ON THE UPPERWING!  GET ON THIS!  It ploughs on towards blighty.  GET ON THIS!  Directly away, following an upriver furrow, lost amongst the frothing white horses.  PANIC!  A squall murks the background, landmarks blur, ill-formed directions are ineffectually blurted.  The arse is lost in the distant foam and all that remains is an alcidic etching on the retina.  A resignation settles on the flock, a helplessness learnt of innumerable unidentified feathery specks.  The one has all but got away. 

Tiddlers in a jamjar?

But it couldn’t be anything else.  There is nothing else it could be.  Solace?!  Who will give me solace?  The good book is sought, offered and, once found (in a glove-compartment beneath the sticky tin of sugar dusty sweets), consulted.  And from the bible-black-backed tome comes forth the flickering light of faith.  No, really, there is nothing else it could have been.  A phone call to Severnside and tweet to the ether (carefully caveated with ‘possibles’, ‘maybes’, ‘keep your eyes open fors’ and ‘he’s not 100% buts’) and,… and that’s all that can be done.  Not that that knowledge halts the wind-whipped waves of despair and self-loathing.  AAARGH! Didn’t nail it.  F***CK!  A county first.  Definitely didn’t get enough to get it accepted.  Jeeebus!  Single observer.  No photo.  Didn’t happen.  Sob.  

When she smiles, is there dimples?


“Thanks… Just had close views of Black Guillemot off Severn Beach”

Oh, Twitter how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.  Get in!  I’m bloody having it!  Will it come back down?  Keep flipping looking. 

Rock-a-bye baby?



“Black Guillemot showing well Blackrock… on the rocks.”

Slamming of car doors, revving of engines, screeching of brakes and passengers, then brakes again,… Blackrock.  It was here three minutes ago,… it’s here now!  Lappage, photographage, rejoicage, oh-bugger-it-just-flew-offage,… more birding, then home. 

Oh, my dead dears!

First-winter Black Guillemot, Blackrock, Gwent.  If it had flown by Goldcliff Point in this fashion much less anguish would have ensued.  Photo by Tom Chinnick. 

First-winter Black Guillemot, Blackrock, Gwent.  It climbed out of the water on several occasions, maybe not 100% healthy.  Again, photo by Tom Chinnick.

07 November 2015

“Un homme qui dort,…”

“When a man is asleep, he has in a circle around him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly host.  Instinctively, when he awakes, he looks to these, and in an instant reads off his own position on the earth's surface and the amount of time that has elapsed during his slumbers; but this ordered procession is apt to grow confused, and to break its ranks.  Suppose that, reclining in a ribeira, say, after a lunch of ham and cheese rolls, sleep descends upon him while he is staring up at the canopy: then the world will fall topsy-turvy from its orbit, his chosen cradle will carry him at full speed through time and space, and when he opens his eyes again he will imagine that he went to sleep months earlier and in some far distant country.  Not knowing where he is, he cannot be sure at first who he is; he has only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depths of an non-birder’s consciousness; he is more destitute of human qualities than the city banker; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which he is, but of various other places where he had birded, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from above to draw him up out of the abyss of not-being, from which he could never have escaped by himself: in a flash he would traverse landscapes formed over untold millennia, and out of a half-visualised succession of stone walls and vegetation, would put together by degrees the component parts of his ego.”

Marcel Proust (had he fallen asleep in Poço da Agua on 19th October 2015 whilst looking for yankee warblers)

Yep, another grey and rainy morning in Gwent,... how did you guess?

NB. Quotation marks may have been misused and abused in the production of this bog post. 

20 October 2015

“Bloody hell there’s another pewee!”

Not a phrase you expect to hear whilst birding in the WP but Peter got to utter it as we walked back from obtaining video/recordings of the calls of the original bird at lunchtime today.  The second bird was every bit as vocal as the first making bagging a few more video clips/sound recordings easy-peasy-jack-n-squeezy.  

Our descent to the village was interrupted by news of Swainson’s Thrush back along the track to the Lighthouse Valley so we pootled along for that and then headed for coffee.

Just before dark news of a female Golden-winged Warbler soon became news of a Blue-winged x Golden-winged hybrid at Da Ponte.  During a few brief views, I managed to get one sharp(ish) shot of it (see below).   In addition to what you can see in the image (there should be much better available tomorrow), the bird has two strong yellow wing bars, grey lesser coverts, grey edges to the remiges (making for a largely grey closed wing), possibly a grey mantle (did I see this? Did I imagine it?), olive-green rump/back and a largely grey tail with a fair bit of white on the outer tail feathers.  From the limited amount of stuff to hand this evening, we're going with 1st-winter ‘Brewster’s Warbler’ type but it will be interesting to see it better tomorrow.

Hybrid wobbler at ISO 12,800

See previous posts for shiteness of photos during this trip. Pretty sure it is all Nikon Capture NX-D’s fault now, doesn’t paper to be applying the settings on export,… go figure?!  Try clicking on the image, p'raps that'll help.  I'll redo them all on my return,... if I can be arsed.  

18 October 2015

Eastern Wood-Peewee

Saw the peewee *very* briefly seconds after Pierre found it,... three hours later, saw it properly; in the intervening period heard it calling but failed to identify it,... aaaargh, what a bloody doofus.

Cracking addition to the growing list of megas found in the Lighthouse Valley though.


17 October 2015

The falling rares

As Margaret Postgate-Cole might have said,...

They dropped from their western sky, in a still afternoon, when no wind bore them whirling on, but thickly, silently, they fell, like ashes wiping out the noon; and wandered exhausted thence, for thinking of a gallant multitude, which now all drownèd lay, slain by no wind of age or pestilence, but in their beauty strewed like snowflakes falling on the Atlantic waves.

Incredible on here today,... a minimum of 24 yank landbirds of 10 species dropped onto the fields around the village including: three Buff-bellied Pipit, American Robin, Gray-cheeked Thrush, seven Red-eyed Vireo, two Philadephia Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, three Scarlet Tanager, four Rose-breasted Grosbeak and two Indigo Bunting.  Gawd knows how many didn't make it to this tiny rocky outpost.

Veery still present in Fojo too.

Blue-winged Warbler. A gem. Quite a moment when this popped up out of the grass.

Ovenbird found on the back of a decaying, rust-ridden, pick-up just before dark. Perfect rare habitat.

15 October 2015


The third first for the Azores of the trip, the first from the 'right' side of the pond.  Mind you, the RAW converter/Blogger interface is still doing it's level best to screw up my pics.

12 October 2015

A Wood Warbler not a wood warbler

The Wood Warbler reappeared near the power station, rarest bird I have found this trip, knocks American Redstart into a cocked hat.  However, the big news of the day was bagging the Siskin, flew over moments before the above popped out.  Azores tick! 

11 October 2015


The westerlies are blocked by the easterlies, the Buff-breast was blocked by the White-rump and the American Goldie was blocked by a Starling.  I walked flipping miles today, including a not insignificant amount of ascent and descent,... for nothing but waders.  Buff-breast was an Azores tick mind.  Whoopee!

 Buff-breasted Sand with white-rumped interloper.

American Golden Plover with fame hungry Starling.

Still, my current RAW converter/Blogger is, or are in combination, doing something fupping weird to my pictures. Will update them on my return to the land of Photoshop,... for now,... squint.

PS. I assume y'all know, the 'official Azores bird news' is available here.

10 October 2015

Azores acro

A morning of tip-tap, leaf twitching rain gave way to glorious blue bird less skies.  Bagged the Sedge Warbler at Poço da Agua then climbed up Pico and down through Da Ponte.  Had lunch at the reservoirs with the Buff-bellied Pipit, American Golden Plovers, Dotterel, Snow Buntings, etc., then down to the power station to check the Arctic Warbler site,... no Arctic Warbler.  Finally, a late wander around the village, nowt for me but Vincent pulled out an Indigo Bunting just before dark.

Two of the four White-rumped Sands tzeeting their way round and about.

09 October 2015

Faaaaand a peanut, faaaaand a peanut,...

Found a American Redstart in the Lighthouse Valley, two American Golden Plovers between the reservoirs and the Tennessee Valley and another Corncrake in the Tennessee Valley.  Not a bad result for a slog round.

Record shot of the Yankstart, since the initial sighting(s) it has proved difficult to see and even harder to photograph.  Note the missing central tail feathers, made it look very odd in flight.  

PS. Does this picture look fuzzy?  Looks fine on my screen in the RAW converter but totally bollocksed in Blogger.  Gawd knows what is going on.   

06 October 2015

Today's pic-err-tures

 Hot on the heels of the Cattle Egret Gwent tick, the Cattle Egret Azores tick.

 Goatees aren't even worn by goats anymore.

 Lots of these chacking around. 

 Stalker, probably developing a taste for Wheatears as we speak.

Whinchat near Lapa; another still present in the village fields. 

PS. Doing all the picture prep with the raw converter, Photoshop free zone,... just in case they look soft as shite,... or just shite.

05 October 2015

Corvo but not as we know it

Landed on a strangely European infested Corvo.  Wheatears flicking about all over the shop.  Headed off in search of the Arctic Warbler, found a Wood Warbler (presumably the bird from Da Ponte relocating), had a longish wait, up popped the Arctic and then headed down to the village.  Tragedy!  The shop has stopped stocking All Bran.  Pottered around the fields in a branless daze finding a Corncrake and seeing a Sand Martin, a House Martin, a Willow Warbler and 15+ Wheatear.  Not a yank in sight.

Oggy doggy.

04 October 2015

Wind, rain and gocklings

Mallard x 'farmyard goose' hybrid, a highpoint in an otherwise hum-drum day.

A wet and windy day on São Miguel produced the long-staying Great White Egret and flipping long-staying Pied-billed Grebe at Sete Citades/Lagoa Azul; a dose of Roseate Terns at Ponta Delgada and little else,... apart from a brood of superb intergeneric hybrids at Lagoa Azul; accompanied by a female Mallard-type and a white 'farmyard goose' they were the ugliest of gocklings.  Cannot wait to see what these turn out like.

28 September 2015

BREAKING: rarity update

Turns out the Water Vole(s) was/were, and I quote: "... the first confirmed sighting [on the reserve]..."


One's mammal patch list leaps to about 24 (if we include Feral cat, Pipistrelle sp. and a dead dolphin sp.).  I should probably invest in a bat box and mop up a few wingèd insect munchers, beyond that maybe a wandering Wild boar? Or a Killer Whale off the point?   

27 September 2015

Two birds, one mammal

Cattle Egret on the patch today, Gwent and patch tick,... yay.

An early morning, Cattle Egret related, text from TC meant a slightly rushed cuppa and Shredded Wheat and a quick dash patchwards.  Unfortunately, as I whizzed down, the Cattle Egrets flopped over to Boat Lane and, from there, were watched to head off north-eastwards ("high,... lost in the distance,... doubt they'll come back,... no chance of locating them,...").  Bugger.

Headed off down Saltmarsh Lane.  Found a Water Vole (probably two), mammal patch tick!  I'd always put the odd report from the reserve down to a combination of rats, inexperience and string.  But there one was, felling a reed, swimming across a reen and then spending 20 minutes devouring the aforementioned reed.  I'll have to double-check there isn't a covert reintroduction scheme occurring; alternatively, I have either been walking straight past them for over a decade or they have colonised from gawd knows where.  Interesting,... in a soggy little rodenty way.

Anyhoo,... news floated across the ether that the egrets had returned to Goldcliff.  Tore myself away from ratty and headed back to Redhouse and the car, collecting a Nuthatch on the way (dwip-dwip-dwip). 

Zoom, handbrake, mini-yomp, Cattle Egrets,... tah-dah!  On the Gwent and patch lists.  Nice.

The pools also produced a male Marsh Harrier, 3 Golden Plovers, 1-2 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 2 Spotshank and 6+ Greenshank; overhead a few hirundines, Skylark, Siskin, Mipits, etc. 

PS. Shredded Wheat eh? Never quite bottomed out whether they are for eating or scrubbing your pants out. 
PPS. Just checked,... eating apparently,... Shredded Wheat are for eating.  

15 September 2015

Pop goes the local local patch

Grey Phalarope at Ynysyfro,... down a toilet roll,... through a fence.

Stopped off at Ynysyfro hoping for a Black Tern,... found a Grey Phal.  It dibbled about at doughnut distance, about as close as it could be, still found a way to take a truly awful photo though.  Should you wish to emulate the above masterpiece you will need: a naff camera (ideally with a mushy jpeg engine that is more than a touch over-zealous on the noise reduction side of things); a toilet roll; a fence; the patience of a saint; one red sock; one blue sock; and,...Years. Of. Practice. 

It turns out this is the third Grey Phal to grace the reservoirs.  Gutted it wasn't an Ynysyfro first.

24 August 2015

Trees, logs, wood, etc.

Up and down to Scotland during three of the last four weeks.  As an aficionado of alien forestry and the M6, it has been an absolute joy.  Have seen a few raptors,... silver linings and all that.

Given all these trees have been chopped off at the ankles, it seems weird that only one is visibly unhappy. Perhaps all the others just happen to be facing the other way.

PS. Have managed a couple of visits to Ynysyfro where Green and Common Sandpiper pottered about the upper pool, which also hosted a single Teal; and a Kingfisher buzzed about the lower reservoir. 

21 June 2015

A moth struggles with mortality

Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis.

Popped downstairs to make a cup of tea.  Heard a teeny-tiny tapping, a teeny-tiny tapping of a Red-necked Footman's foot at the kitchen door.  On opening said door, he begged, in a teeny-tiny voice, begged to be photographed, begged to have his teeny-tiny likeness recorded for posterity.

"Why?" I asked, "Why do you want your teeny-tiny likeness recorded for posterity?" 

He recovered himself a little, stroked an antenna and, in that enigmatic manner for which footmen are famed, quoted Boltanski by way of reply:

"We are all so complicated and then we die.  We are a subject one day, with our vanities, our loves, our worries, and then one day, abruptly, we become nothing but an object, an absolutely disgusting pile of shit.  We pass very quickly from one stage to the next, it's very bizarre.  It will happen to all of us, and fairly soon too."

"But what if,..." I proffered, paraphrasing the aforementioned Frenchman so as not to appear the less well-read in this exchange between man and moth, "... what if I take your photograph, and then you die, and then, at some point in the dim and distant future, no one on earth recognizes you in the photograph?  You will have died twice."

"I'll take the risk, you take the photo,..." quipped the invertebrate, "... and make sure you get my good side."

13 June 2015

Valentia semi-uplandia

Common and approachable things that have been close to me whilst I have had my phone in my hand over the last week or so,…

 Cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus growing through a ‘reindeer lichen’ Cladonia sp.

Cloudberry growing through Heather Culluna vulgaris.

Cloudberry growing through moss Sphagnum sp. They do like to grow through stuff.

 Northern Eggar Lasiocampa quercus f. callunae larva.

 Garden Tiger Arctia caja larva or ‘woolly bear’.

Two-banded Longhorn Beetle Rhagium bifasciatum, couldn’t fly straight for all the tea in a place where there is a lot of tea, e.g. China,… or a Sainsbury’s distribution centre.

Large Pine Weevil Hylobius abietis, one of the worst/best (depending on human/weevil point of view) pests of commercially important coniferous trees in Europe.

Wood-sorrel Oxalis acetosella a mainstay of the depauperate ground flora usually found in alien forestry.

Sand Spurrey Spergularia rubra on a forestry track.

07 June 2015

Saw a bird!

Saw the Greater Yellowlegs at Posbrook Floods today,... which was nice.  

05 June 2015

Twilight of the,... err,... everything really

The Borders in the gloaming; the gloaming in the Borders.

In reiver country for much of the last week.  The ranks of alien conifers and denuded hillsides beyond are all but devoid of Black Grouse; atop the ridge the peaty-puddled heathery plateau is free of Hen Harrier; and the carbon dioxide in the sky above is tipping the balance at 400 ppm.

Take a bow everybody,... take a bow.

17 May 2015

Rude bunny

A baby rabbit sticking its tongue out at the camera,... as they often do.

08 May 2015

Gobble, gobble.

Female Lapwing looking a little bit 'down'.  It must be something to do with those great big eyes (and the tremulous cries) but they always seem to wear their emotions on their sleeve don't they.

Now that we can expect all those Tory promises to come to fruition, especially as those pesky Liberals aren't there to rein in the really loopy right-wingers, I have been through the Tory manifesto to pick out the stuff relevant to the local birder (all direct quotes from the 'little blue book'),...

  1. "We will provide fuck-all leadership on climate change, we will do the bare-arse minimum as long as it doesn’t cost us (or our multi-national corporate pals) anything."
  2. "We will continue to water down environmental protection measures, you wanna build a housing estate on a SSSI? Crack on! We might even drop all that pesky European legislation. SPAs? SACs? Fuck that foreign guff."
  3. "On airport expansion, we say 'More planes, fuck yeah!' We might even build a landing strip in the middle of an estuary! We’re plane bonkers."
  4. "We will start all manner of new road building schemes because one motorway from A to B is never enough. The Gwent Levels? We’ll level Gwent alright."
  5. "We will fuck over the renewable energy industry because: a. now they want to put turbines in Tory constituencies and we can’t have that; and b. our friends in the oil, coal and gas sector give us bigger cheques."
  6. "There will be more tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas. Looking after our ‘friends in the north’."
  7. "Fracking? Frack yeah! We're gonna frack under your house. We're gonna frack your water supply. We are fracking mad for it."
  8. "Badger, Fox and Hen Harrier culling will be made Olympic events. Tally ho!"
Fortunately, none of the above should unduly worry anyone because they are promising to "look after the economy".  Unfortunately, whilst you might think this will mean you and your family will be better off, it actually means their mates in the multi-national corporations can just get back to harvesting what is left of our natural resources, collective wealth and human capital.  Oops!

So, anyhooooo,... you just run along now, get back in your cage, gorge yourself on the lies, page three girls, celebrity gossip and footy in your paper; run up your credit card bill and pay your mortgage.  Stand aside and, whilst you stare at your shiny new mobile phone, allow the city boys to rape the planet. Feel free to gawp over the 24 hour loop-the-loop news coverage of the spluttering, guttering death of the welfare system.  It'll all be alright, it's not like you or your family will be needing the NHS or an environment anyway because you invested in that magical spaceship you keep in the shed and when it gets really bad you can just pop down the garden and,...


Well done you. That is some impressive foresight you showed there,... and you are in no way a turkey that just voted for Christmas. 


PS. Two Turnstone, a Barwit, five Blackwit, 360 Dunlin, 10+ Ringed Plover, etc., at Goldcliff.

05 May 2015

Foghorn longhorn

Somebody… ah say somebody… knocked.  What’s the big… ah say,… what’s the big idea knocking on my door?!  You’re a moth son,… moths don’t knock on doors!  This boys making more noise than a couple of skeletons on a tin roof.  I’m trying to have my breakfast boy, you’re taking the food right outta my mouth… I don’t go round flitting about lights,… listen to me boy… pay attention when I’m talking to ya,… now you stay away from doors and I’ll stay away from lights.  You're not payin' attention boy!

Nice moth but he’s got more nerve than a bum tooth.  Hey that’s a joke son,… ah say a joke,… don’t ya geddit?

Nematopogon swammerdamella, neither particularly good looking nor rare as 'longhorn' moths go but a great one to know next time you’re playing scrabble.

03 May 2015

Bring da rain

Three early mornings at Uskmouth and Goldcliff, one breezy, one moist, one flipping moist.  Apart from a single Grasshopper Warbler, a couple of Cuckoo and a Curlew Sandpiper, very little of note.

The highlight of the weekend thus far was my attempt to drown a group IDCD* punters.  Failed miserably though, they all survived the deluge, some of them even appearing to enjoy the trial by water.  Foiled again.   

[Enter witty caption about weather and ducks.]

* International Dawn Chorus Day, more information at http://www.idcd.info/ 

25 April 2015


An underwing of pure velvety blackness. 

Left home to do a Firecrest survey,... ended up bombing over to Meare Heath for a stonking all-of-the-whole-wide-world tick.  What a flipping beauty, showed really well, performed a couple of flypasts and then plonked itself down more-or-less as close as it could get to the assembled twitch.  What a jolly well-behaved bird.  A half-decent, albeit largely predictable, supporting cast was racked up too: Great White Egret, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Wood Sandpiper,...  

Popped in on Goldcliff on the way home: 10 Barwit [all three godwits on the British list in a day, how terribly satisfying], 3 Blackwit, 3 Spotshank, 2 White Wagtail, etc.  Also distant flight views of two of the plastic Cranes.

PS.  Does anyone know anything about the Little Gull reported from the "Newport Wetlands" this afternoon?  "Newport Wetlands" doesn't really narrow it down much.

Addendum: details on the Little Gull via GOS site "Goldcliff [...] 2nd-summer, flew in and landed on 1st lagoon briefly before flying off north-east".

23 April 2015


Having vanquished the über bogey that was Pied Flycatcher, I thought it might be a bit much to expect another patch tick this spring.  But no!  Goldcliff produces another wader, albeit a rather odd one.  Flipping Stone-curlew, get in! 
 The view throughout the afternoon.  Not great.  It's,... it's in the rushes.

 And then, rather predictably, it came out to play at dusk.

 Ended up coming reasonably close.  Which was handy for the patient few and/or wily types who rocked up late in the day.

Though not doughnut distance,... and it was dark,... hence the gawd awful pics.

By the way, the bird was/is colour-ringed and seems to have been ringed in 2010 at Porton Down on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border.  Thanks to Messrs Rylands and Tomalin for the rapid provision of information.