26 January 2013

Kingbird Highway this ain't

AM: Big Garden Birdwatch: 2 Bullfinches.
PM: Llandegfedd Reservoir: 1 Mediterranean Gull (2nd-winter, looking suspiciously similar to that seen at Cwmbran Boating Lake a few days ago [more, including photo, here]), 8 Goldeneye, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Curlew heading west and 1 Great Black-backed Gull. 

25 January 2013

Something or other

Given the number of Skylarks down at Peterstone (325+ in the large field immediately west of the golf course/gout, 35 on the saltmarsh), I really should have turned up a Woodlark or Lapland Bunting today,... didn't happen. Didn't manage a Jack Snipe on the saltmarsh either, just a few Water Pipit. Did count seven Golden Plover in the same field as the larks though.

Arithmomania is a terrible affliction. 

PS. Did you know there was a character on Sesame Street called Flo Bear? HA!

23 January 2013

Garden exotica

Robin orangebreast, or Orange-breasted Bushchat, or 'Bobbin', or whatever; one of at least three currently engaging in an uneasy, weather-induced, truce in the back garden. The Brambling is also still around but will no doubt bugger off before this weekend's 'Big Garden Birdwatch' (more of which here).

22 January 2013

Little Miss. Bramble

First-winter female Brambling knocking around 'out back' today.

Checked the Gwent Birding electronic mailbox again this evening. Lucky I did as it was literally overwhelmed with just under two e-mail messages. Regular reader Mrs. Ointment of North Gwent writes:

Dear Mr. Ding,
jdbfvuoywecbhv ERHBGPIRU axr UBNERTBGRS;JKB vdfbv JJJJJJJ.
black redstartblack redstartredstart black still off my rocks bebris by fist pillar also
GRSFYSVJK essdcx ITHI fivbrgbv BIFUVDKVD rwdezvkcbk VDFJKHB arrrrrrrr
gray wagtail have a nice day y'all oh dear made a mess.

Yours faithfully, Mrs. Margaret Ointment (GOS, RSPB, WI)

20 January 2013

Duck invasion

A few extra gulls at Ynys-y-fro this afternoon but the highlights were all wildfowl with one Shoveler, six Wigeon and 11 Teal; no Water Rail, Lapwing or Snipe though and nothing moving overhead.

19 January 2013

Welcome to the 1000th post

This afternoon's jaunt did nothing to help this landmark blogpost stand out from the usual flow of unpolished turdery on offer here. The snow-flattened reedbeds, etc., at Uskmouth produced: a redhead Goosander heading down-channel towards the mouth of the Usk, 11 Turnstone on the foreshore, 2 Stonechat, decent numbers of Redwing and Song Thrush, a few Water Rail, Snipe, Skylark and Cetti's Warbler, and 2 Bearded Tit dotting about by the centre. Oh, and a rat,...

A frizz Brown Rat on the edge of the saltmarsh wondering why he isn't on some tropical island scoffing endemic seabirds' eggs.

On returning home, and anticipating all manner of congratulatory messages on reaching the milestone of 1000 blogposts, I checked the Gwent Birding electronic mailbox only to find it full to overflowing with two e-mail messages, the first is from a Mrs. Ointment of North Gwent. She informs me that she is now 'on the net' with her first PC. She writes:

Dear Pamela,
Blog wonderful a. For thanks many.
Faithfully yours, (GOS, RSPB, WI) Ointment Margaret Mrs. Qwerty hatstand ^.chilblain.UK
PS Which way does the keyboard go?

The second electronic missive, from a Mr. Rylands of Devon, largely took the form of a screenshot from the NHBS 'Backlist Bargains' sale (see below) and seems to suggest the guys at the aforementioned purveyors of fine natural history literature may rate Gwent almost as highly as I do.


18 January 2013

Now you don't see that everyday

Following a much appreciated tip-off from CC up-country, I jammed in on the edge of a bit of weather movement today. Two hours sitting at an open upstairs window produced: 130 finches, 230 thrushes, 40 Skylark and, largely due to them frequenting the low-slung bottoms of various distant snow clouds, 135 bird sp. And then I went out to play in the white stuff,...

To appreciate this magical view, you'll need to click on the picture to view the larger version. 

The neat rows of Quimcum, a village in which every female inhabitant is named Ann and where, by local decree (and on pain of death), nobody is allowed to set their clocks to the correct time.  Once thought purely fictitious, the product of frostbitten travellers' exhausted minds, the village was finally photographed in 1934 by the Reverend Robert Schlock who unfortunately, despite multiple attempts prior to his untimely death in 1938, failed to relocate it.  Of course, it is now known only to appear following heavy snowfall.  The foremost landmark is the Quimcum Hotel sitting, as it does, in a dominant position overlooking the main crossroads (centre-right); whilst it looks welcoming and, indeed, advertises rooms half board for £39.50, the vast majority of weary excursionists are dismayed when, on arrival, they realise it measures, from ground to gable, just five British inches.

13 January 2013

Up-country, down-country

Started the day with a trip up to Monmouth, Redbrook and Whitebrook. Nothing too exciting along the Wye between the two brooks but at least the woodland alongside chipped in Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Tit. Then, it was back towards Monmouth to count the Common Gulls, back home for a late lunch, and then down to Ynys-y-fro to confirm it still isn't a mecca for Goosanders,... it isn't.

Ynys-y-fro does look quite good at the moment though, the lower basin is basically empty and resembles a mini inland estuary. Unfortunately, the only birds attracted in so far are, rather predictably, mini inland waders, sometimes called Pied Wagtails, 25 of which pottered about on the mud. It may produce something more exciting at some point,... especially if the plan to refill it in March is delayed. Let's hope they misplace the plug.

12 January 2013

Chimera, Cerberus, Hydra, Aythya

Male Tufted x Ferruginous Duck hybrid,... in the dark,... through a telescope,... with a knackered old Coolpix. The good ol' faithful female Pochard hybrid was also present in the same flockette of aythya just down in front of the hide at Uskmouth. Quick! Get down there!

04 January 2013

Little bit queasy?

Spent a couple of hours pottering around the hedgerows and fields of Penmaen Farm, as with most of my forays up-country, it produced nothing more exciting than a Woodcock and a few Siskin.

On my return, the interweb offered up a picture of the patch (upon which I should have been pottering) that gives it the look of a sad, sickly Panda, or one of those silly buggers off the Corsa adverts. Not a totally wasted day then.

Rather eerily, the patch appears to be mocking me via mimicry; this is an uncanny impression of my facial expression at the end of most visits.

02 January 2013

That holiday snap

Dinas Head, The Bull and Quies through a glass, even more darkly.

Top tips for the care and use of external hard drives: 1. keep them away from the sun to avoid faded jpegs; and 2. don't shake them or stick a pen inside when trying to extract large files as the pictures may get folded and/or scratched.