31 March 2010

Home time

'Coming home day' is always shite, today was no exception. Actually it was even more shite than usual including, as it did, such gems as:
"Oh bollocks, I've given you directions to the wrong site"; and,
"I wonder whether Malaga has a category C population of Barbary Dove".

PS. What the hell happened to the weather whilst I was away?!

30 March 2010

La Lantejuela

Twenty-four Great Bustards, just a single Little Bustard (cracking male mind), one Black-shouldered Kite, one Lesser Flamingo (must check whether this bird turned up as a juvenile), tonnes of Lesser Kestrels and harriers plus a monster Ladder Snake were the highlight of a day out on the plains.

[NB. Forgot to mention, the Great Bustards were displaying,... which was nice.]

29 March 2010

Hey bully bully!

Mouflon and Otter were probably the highlights today, that and the caramel liqueur we bagged post-fodder.

28 March 2010

Piece of puss

Iberian Lynx - on my list. What a peach of a beastie, watched for a few minutes at about 500 metres range (nice scope views); seemed to be looking for a snack whilst being half-heartedly mobbed by a couple of Magpies. Definitely 'bird' of the trip.

Supporting cast - Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear,... blah, blah, blah, False Smooth Snake, Midwife Toad, blah, blah, blah...

In order to maintain the hirundine theme...

27 March 2010

I am un... chien Andalucia

Several thousand Greater Flamingo, White Stork, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Black Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern, Pallid Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Bee-eater, Roller, Crested and Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, three subspecies of Yellow Wagtail, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling and Azure-winged Magpie; plus Spanish Terrapin and Iberian Hare. And that's just the drive from the airport to the site,... without breaking a sweat,... not Gwent,... definitely not Gwent.

Swallows in the sunshine,... lovely.

26 March 2010


Bumped into Black Redstart and Willow Warbler at Oldbury today; still haven't connected with LRP, Sand Martin, Swallow, etc. Perhaps a change of scene might do the trick...

21 March 2010

A day for laying down and avoiding

Thanks to a pincer movement of (the usual) fisherfolk and a couple of (less usual) metal-detecting-types, Ynys-y-Fro was more-or-less devoid of interest this morning. The brief pre-match soiree failed to deliver a single spring migrant,... there were no highlights.

20 March 2010

The lamby way

Dried out, warmed-up and, eventually, picked-up by a distraught mother, this little bleater rueeened [Eh?!] my Saturday morning [Rueeened? Really? Oh, come on!].

NB. It would be best to view the picture at 100%, the scaling down of the image rueeens the text [You know what? I'm just going to ignore you].

[Say 'roo']
[Say 'in']
[Say 'ruin']

19 March 2010

Birding Tulgey Wood

Dodo, Greater Flamingo, Yellowhammer (heard only) and Jubjub Bird; Wonderland produces the goods once again. Can't see me paying the extra for the 3D version next time though. If a film has a half-decent story and cast then the 3D is just pointless gimmickry; naturally, if a film is a useless mishmash of computer effects and dumbed down tale of pseudo-environmental shire then I'm sure the 3D helps paper over the cracks (although, seemingly, not well enough to win a decent Oscar).

18 March 2010

A hint of a trickle

Had three Chiffchaff at Uskmouth, two of which were singing; not an awful lot else on the migrant passerine front though. Notables at Goldcliff included Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Managed to miss both Wheatear and Sand Martin but I did have students in tow, so I do have an excuse.

13 March 2010

Where are they?

If someone could pop a migrant in a box and post it to Gwent, I would be eternally grateful,... thanks.

11 March 2010

Nice pear!

Actually, it's not that nice, the fruit never seem to ripen, the thrushes like them though; and the puddle below has drawn in a Green Sand this winter, I wonder if it tastes like watered down perry?

09 March 2010

Day out

Bufflehead, Mediterranean Gull, Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Black Brant - home,... and,... relax.

[Addendum: a brilliant pic of the bird, some plonker phoned this into the pager boys as "showing well", presumably meaning "not hiding between waves or skulking behind a swan"?]

08 March 2010

With tuppence for paper and strings

A couple more from Saturday's turkey-in-a-barrel shoot,...

Was going to plunder Joanna Newsom's 'Flying a Kite' lyrics for a title but you can't beat a bit of Sherman & Sherman, at least, not via the laryngeal prisms of Tomlinson and Van Dyke.

PS. Dick Van Dyke, now there's a stage name that wouldn't be coined nowadays.

06 March 2010

Comin' atcha

Bird table? Zoo? A hang out for middle-aged camo-clad camera-bearers? Whatever Gigrin Farm is supposed to be, currently it is also home to a Black Kite. Whilst the bird's provenance is a topic for discussion, it's definitely worth a little Saturday morning jaunt.

Birds that don't fit comfortably into our tidy little prefabricated taxonomic boxes always cause a slight perturbation in the birding force,... doubt I'll have sleepless nights over it though.

The supporting cast at Gigrin ain't too bad either, with...

... or without patagial tags.

05 March 2010

Lost and found

Too little time and motivation for such luxuries as fully formed sentences, so...

Park car at a jaunty angle; two PE; glorious technicolor über-panoramic crystal-vision morning; -7°C; friendly rabbits; curiously a (slightly nostalgic) whiff of angling shops hangs in the air, maggots writhing in carcinogenic colourant, don't lick your fingers; today the sea-wall is like a box of chocolates,... strewn with unwanted nuts (including those who choose to go jogging in a buttoned up shirt [minus tie] sawn off trousers, knee-pads and boots whilst carrying a plastic 'stick'); proof positive, you can polish the largest of architectural turds; Y; fox carrying a huge Cumberland sausage; partially summer-plumaged flyover GP; dog-walkers everywhere; man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long; if you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison', it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later; and so it continues,...

Have you lost your bins? Found along strandline adjacent to Thornbury Sailing Club, to reclaim drop me an email. Please note, it was so cold I had to wear my authentic Dutch wooden mittens, originally made in the 1500s for speed skaters on frigid polders they are the bees bollocks when it's really frizz.

02 March 2010

Up and down, not side to side

Did Goldcliff this morning in the hope that something would be pushed onto the pools in the face of the monster tide; lots of the regulars including 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 6 Avocet, blah, blah, blah,... oh, and a pair of Peregrine put the fear of [enter fictional deity here] up everything at one point, blah, blah, blah,... I think I'm losing the will to live,... and this is why,...

On pottering back down Boat Lane post high-tide, somewhen between 10:00 and 10:15 (I think, not sure exactly when, am estimating this from a complex back-tracking calculation based on a Morrison's receipt), I peered through the viewing-lattice-thingy and noticed the arse of something large flying directly away from me over the power station (for those who don't tread the paths of Gwent, the distance between retina and bird was circa 3.25 km), I thought "Probably nuffin' special but I'll just put my scope on that", but, of course, you can't peer through the viewing-lattice-thingy with a scope, oh nooooo, so I backed up, opened the tripod and,... nuffin',... absolutely nuffin', empty sky. "Oh well", thought I, "Probably nuffin' (having seen nuffin' this seemed a safe conclusion), forget it" and off I pottered, the bird forgotten, Morrison's bound, a nice slab of Caerphilly and a box of Bran Flakes.

And that's how it would have stayed, and that's how it should have stayed. But nooooo (for the second time today), on getting home I slapped the Apple on, stuck the phone on charge, turned back to the screen and,... BANG! Twitter slays me with "Severnsidebirds Common Crane flew north over Aust Warth at 09.30 !!!!" and suddenly a rushing in the ears, dizzying light-headedness, a slight stumble and I slump, broken, into the office chair. The discarded half-truths swirl, the mind fills the gaps, it was large, very large, long in the arm and hand, heavy bodied, but perfectly arse on, I mean, come on! Give me a flippin' break! Hateful bird, hateful Twitter, hateful interweb, horrid Apple, I hate everything, I hate you all!

I had to phone the county recorder and Weekend birder in search of some twisted ornithological amalgam of confession-penance-contrition-absolution (didn't work). The girlfriend tried to smooth the waters with a "It probably wasn't it" but I know, and I'm going to sulk for days, or slash my wrists, or bury my bins, or have a cup of tea.

[Addendum: with a bit of luck it'll be seen somewhere east of Aust Warth and I can claim it never entered NWR airspace and we can all forget the whole thing.]

[Additional addendum: oh birds, Twitter, interweb and Apple, I love you all, let's never fight again.]