18 February 2018

Northern bruiser

First-winter Glaucous Gull, near Sluice Farm. Only my second in Gwent and it's been a wait of over nine years since the first (of which more here).
Bit of a brute, that had been a perfectly healthy sheep not five minutes prior to this photo being taken. A couple of videos of this bird can be seen here (complete with bonus calling Water Rail) and here.

07 February 2018

A tiny feathered lightening bolt

Penduline Tit, Plock Court, Gloucestcestcestcestcestershire, within spitting distance (at least on a windy day) of Horsebere Pool. Proof, were it needed, that ornithological lightening can strike twice.

Two years and two miles(ish) down the road from the last. I seem to remember waiting an absolute age to go and see that one too.

31 January 2018

Not Gwent

I don't know,... horned, horn, horny,... lark, 'bit of a lark', 'larking around',... chuck in the whole 'not in Gwent'/'Gwent is shit' theme and write yourself a couple of captions.

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14 January 2018

Some actual, real, not plastic geese,... in Gwent!

Adult European Whitefront on Wentlooge Level, one of a family party of three associating with the Greylag and Canada Goose flock between St. Brides and Peterstone at approximately ST282817 (viewable from the B4239).  Present from at least 8th January.

First-winter and adult European Whitefronts.  Reports of two birds in the area (e.g. on the adjacent Peterstone Lakes Golf Course) presumably involve observers overlooking the first-winter bird.

11 January 2018

Hey! Whitey!

The near mythical ghost Coot of Ynysyfro Reservoirs/Tredegar House lake.  Ynysyfro's unicorn.  Brings a tear to the eye.  In other, not unrelated, news,... Ynysyfro was a bit shit again this week.

06 January 2018

Grey skies, grey water, grey mud

One of two Jack Snipe seen between Collister and West Pill this morning. I've blogged about it before (click here) but finding them on the deck is still one of my favourite games. Other waders present included a single Golden Plover and three Turnstone, both loosely associating with a large wheeling mass of Dunlin.

Having failed to bag a Skylark, despite a prolonged lung-busting chase, this female Merlin briefly harassed a passing flockette of Dunlin. The desultory pursuit didn't come to much, pretty sure she was just lashing out in frustration due to the lack of lark for lunch.

PS. The adult Mediterranean Gull is still doing well at the Lyne Road McDonald's thanks to their clients' inability to put litter in a bin. Are gulls the highest form of life that can survive on McDonald's food?


30 December 2017

Look up

Hanging from the topmost cable of one of the lines of pylons above Uskmouth Lagoons. It appears this 1st-winter Blackwit had managed to get its lower mandible caught between the two intertwined wires. Presumably/hopefully died on impact. Not a great look for a nature reserve,... or National Grid.

Dear Iceland, we owe you a Black-tailed Godwit.

30 November 2017

Ooge great finches

An abortive trip to Staines for the 'Horned Lark' ended, after negative news and a slight detour, at Wishmoor Bottom. The Parrot Crossbills performed well enough, even managed a few recordings (albeit complete with 'twitch ambience'). The following morning, a brief stop on the way back produced three Hawfinch at Eversley GPs. A new one for the former patch. Eversley is, ironically enough, a place at which I've seen a vagrant inland Shorelark (1998! Second[?] record for Berks at the time). 

People often ask me how I get such great photographs, well, in this case, I just set the camera to 'crayon' and blazed away until I got a good shot.

17 November 2017

Devon spuggie

Had a day out for the putative Italian Sparrow at East Budleigh. Saw the bird a couple of times, grabbed a photo or two, looks like an Italian, just need the bird to give up a feather and the DNA to support the plumage now.

The supporting cast, one of a handful of Cirl Bunting showing rather well in the Devon sunshine.

12 November 2017

Wintering Sylvia.

Whitethroat between Collister and West Pill, 12th November 2017. The first November record for Gwent, the previous latest being 30th October 1986.   

Thought I had something good when this flicked out of the saltmarsh and disappeared into a bramble. A wintering Whitethroat isn't bad but it might have been something better.  An apparently damaged left wing seemed to explain its tardiness. Looked like and adult male (TF5 tipped pure white, TF6 edged and tipped pure white, TFs broad/rounded; no moult contrast in GCs; grey visible at base of crown feathers [when viewed from behind and feathers slightly raised]; pure grey on lores, around eye and at rear margin of ear-coverts; grey on LCs; pure white throat; yellowish-brown iris).