30 September 2013

And so it begins,...

Birder of the corn

The vanguard have arrived on Corvo. David is already in the field and blogging at http://birdingcorvo2013.blogspot.pt/ and rarity news will appear at http://azoresbs.weebly.com/index.html and http://azores.avesdeportugal.info/ (click on Notícias dos Açores then Registos de Outubro de 2013). Peter will also be blogging at http://peteralfreybirdingnotebook.blogspot.co.uk/ as will I at some point,... I might even spew forth a tweet or two, given a bit of luck and a fair wind.  So, whether you are on Shetland, Scilly or Svalbard, you now have absolutely no excuse not to be bang up to date when moaning about the fact that Corvo is on the American plate and shouldn't really count as the WP. 

Of course, one year we will all get out there and find absolutely nothing, at which point I predict a rapid descent into a Lord of the Flies scenario culminating in mass cannibalism.

28 September 2013

Most people need their oats

A steady, if light, passage over Saltmarsh/Farmfield lanes this morning included: Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Siskin and Redpoll. In the bushes Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler amongst a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff were about the sum of it.

At Goldcliff the not-particularly-high high tide meant a good proportion of the waders remained out on the estuary. Those that did grace the lagoons included: Wood Sandpiper, 5+ Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 6 Ruff, just 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Avocet whilst at least 10 Grey Plover were out on the foreshore.  The only other notables included Wheatear, a showy juvenile Hobby, an adult male Peregrine and the fact that both Wigeon and Shoveler numbers appear to have gone up a fair bit.

All a bit meh really,... unlike these,...

BAM! See that? BAM! Oat biscuits. BAM! In your face.

27 September 2013

Killer ladybirds from the planet Mars

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f. spectablis

Harlequin/Multicoloured Asian/Halloween Ladybird is apparently "... the most invasive ladybird on Earth." Presumably the possibility for there being an even more invasive ladybird on another planet has yet to be ruled out.

More about the little bleeders, including how to record your sightings, at http://www.harlequin-survey.org/ and information on our native species at http://www.ladybird-survey.org/

Pottered about up-country today, bumped into a couple of Wheatear, a couple of Red Kite, a singing Chiffchaff, a few duck and a Snipe.

26 September 2013

Ma's out, Pa's out, let's talk rude,...

... pee, po, belly-bum, drawers.

Eighteen species of wader at Goldcliff over this morning's high tide included: 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1-2 Little Stint, 9+ Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Ruff, 6+ Greenshank, 25 Knot, 9 Grey Plover, 4 Avocet and lots of Snipe, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Lapwing.  Non-wader 'mentionables' included Hobby and Kingfisher; and visible migrants included Skylark, Swallow and Meadow Pipit overhead and a half-decent number of Chiffchaffs along the hedge.

25 September 2013

Chuck us a bone

So far, autumn round here is proving less than inspiring, bordering on attritional.

24 September 2013

Now I am become death, the destroyer of cakes

A few days in the field. Yesterday in the uplands produced Red Kite and hundreds of Mipits plus a few other bits and bobs; and today a foray across the bridge resulted in Whinchat and a Clouded Yellow.  Have also popped in on Ynysyfro a couple of times in the last few days,... hold onto your hats,... one Gadwall and one Pochard.

There were a dozen of these bad boys knocking about last night. Now down to four,... and counting. Their creation had nothing to do with me but I can claim a hand in their destruction.

21 September 2013

Cooky Puss

It is a little known, and well-guarded, fact that the most important ingredient of any homemade biscuit or cookie is noise and/or ruckus and, therefore, they must always be baked to a soundtrack of classic hip hop or punk.  Today I opted for various Beastie Boys' classics during the mixing and cooking to ensure a seamless transition into the unsurpassed biscuit cooling tunes that are I don't know and Instant Death.  Pretty sure I got it bang on,...
Lime lattice biscuits. Sweet and sour like a tangerine, fresh like a box of Krispy Kremes.

PS. The milk can be substituted for Horlicks depending on how you roll.
PPS. Thinking of starting a petition asking Mary Berry to dedicate her next book to Adam Yauch.
PPPS. Wilson's Warbler, schmilson's warbler.

18 September 2013

Just pop it in your mouth and...

Small brown bird, big blue sea.

The bird above is a Monteiro's Storm-petrel identified by means of a combination of structural and plumage features (ruling out all but the other close congeners in the 'band-rumped' complex) and the state of moult, which given the whopping great 'step' in the inner primaries suggests an adult in active primary moult at the end of its summer breeding season. 

The sea below is blue is due to the combined effects of the scattering and absorption of sunlight.  The scattering, similar to that which occurs in the sky, is strongly wavelength dependent and has the effect of enhancing the shorter wavelengths.  However, unlike in the sky, absorption also has an effect, in water, the longer wavelengths of sunlight are absorbed more strongly than the shorter wavelengths.  In combination these processes cause the sea to appear blue.

And that, dear reader,... is how to suck eggs.

17 September 2013

Azorean herps

Madeira Wall Lizard Lacerta dugesii on Graciosa. Endemic to Madeira, introduced to the Azores.

Perez's Frog Pelophylax perezi not Pool Frog P. lessonae or indeed Marsh Frog P. ridibundus, which is what I'd assumed they were for the last seven years. This was one of a metric tonne or two crammed into the pond at Ginjal, Santa Maria.

14 September 2013

Wadering about

Just one day left, pottered around the inland waterbodies, not much doing, not much doing at all. Thank gawd for the quarry,...

It's a cutie. It's also bit of an Azorean speciality. About four of these in Cabo at the moment.
Lesser Lellolegs in the dark, four Azorean Noctules were overhead by this point.

13 September 2013

Winding down

The return to blighty is looming, just time for a few waders and the like,...

Short-billed Dowitcher

American Golden Plover

Pied-billed Grebe on Sao Miguel today and seven Nearctic wader species on Terceira. 

11 September 2013

Azores mega!

Sao Miguel University, above the compact leafy campus a White-tailed Tropicbird arcs through the sub-tropical azure, part seabird, part revelation, translucent wings and tail ablaze, streamer a rippling trace of its angelic passage. Image of the trip. Seared on the retina, too sublime to confine to sensor or film,... or, perhaps, I'd left the camera in the motor.

In lieu of tropicbird feast your eyes on this beauty found knocking about with House Sparrows NW of Relva,...

OOOOOSH! Azores mega!

10 September 2013

07 September 2013

Catching pennies,... again

Pissed about at Ribeira Grande getting the longipes Oystercatcher and taking in some of the warm-up for the EUROSURF 13 quarter-finals. Of course, we should have been bagging a White-tailed Tropicbird but the news dissemination was 'gerbled'.  Did get Skylark on Santa Maria this afternoon though,... pennies and pounds and all that.

05 September 2013

One good tern, yadda yadda yadda

Had a couple of Sooty Terns today, it would appear Graciosa can still claim to host a breeding population. The seas have got up a bit though making waving a camera around a touch tricky, so here's an image from yesterday,...

Great Shearwater in the gloaming,... cadillac of the sky.

03 September 2013

Swinhoes, etc.

A tiny picture of a very nice bird.

Fea's (probable Desertas) Petrel

Monteiro's Storm-petrel, not that you can tell from this angle