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.