29 September 2007

In lieu of a proper rare

Despite the north and east of the UK sinking under the weight of rares, the best we (that is GRG, not the royal 'we') could muster at Uskmouth was an abietinus Chiffchaff. If you're an international quality squinter, the photo below should enable you to make out a Chiff with pale greyish-green upperparts and what appears to be (as compared to collybita) a greater distance between the tips of P4 and P10 (and indeed between P4 and S1). All terribly interesting and, according to the next edition of Svensson (in prep.), reasonable indicators of abietinus over collybita. Of course had it been a mite greyer, some numpty would have claimed it as a tristis, largely due to the fact that a good proportion of people don't know what tristis looks like. Personally, I feel sorry for messers Dean and Svensson, they write a perfectly good paper and no muppet can be arsed to read it.

28 September 2007

Pygmy Shrew car-jacking

If I hadn't got photos, I wouldn't have believed it myself. Here is the scene I was confronted with on returning to my motor,...

... and here's the heart-stopping expression on the evil-doer's fizzog.

22 September 2007

It's raining (well drizzling) Chiffchaffs

Blundered onto a mini fall of Chiffs at Uskmouth this morning; 50-100 were knocking around within 150m of scrub and reedbed. Visible migration during the morning included a good passage of Swallow and Mipits plus smaller numbers of Skylark, House Martin, Grey Wag, Siskin and Redpoll. On the deck 1 Snipe, 1 Stonechat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 6 Reed Warbler, 10 Blackcap, 4 Goldcrest and 1 Clouded Yellow provided the interest. It might not be gob-smackingly good, but it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

16 September 2007

A day in the field!

Almost a whole day birding in Gwent! Whatever next? Not a whole lot to show for it though, migrants at Uskmouth included: 20+ Blackcaps, 20+ Reed Warblers, 5 Sedgies, 1 Whitethroat, 6+ Tree Pipits, 5 Grey Wags, 5 House Martins, 1 Siskin and a constant trickle of Swallows and Mipits. Also had my first Clouded Yellow in the county this year and only my second ever Water Shrew (unfortunately, as with most of my shrew sightings, it was as dead as a dodo riding a dormouse in the derby). In the afternoon St. Brides produced 4 Wheatears, 1 Sand Martin, 3 Snipe and one nice pint.

13 September 2007

A flutterby

Painted Lady in the front garden for most of the afternoon, alternating between the verbena and the buddleia.

12 September 2007

Escape to Tbilisi

Another trip to the Caucasus,... nothing outrageous on the birding front just the usual raptor migration plus a supporting cast ranging from brevirostris Twite, via Bee-eater, to Booted Eagle and many other species not beginning with the letter 'b'. More easily photographed subjects included: flowers and snakes,...

... a 6th/7th century church at which Short-toed Eagle showed well and a 6th/11th century cathedral where flying saucers showed well (dipped on both Jesus and God, but then mythical beings are notoriously skulky, I've missed both the tooth fairy and Santa Claus in the past too),...

... and bugs (possibly Hesperia comma, Pyrrhocoris apterus and Rivetina baetica, drop me a 'comment' if you know better).