30 December 2011

Welcome to Gwent

Imagine this for six months of the year,...

... it's a bit like living in a forgotten, damp corner of a Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow',... minus Christina Ricci,... and devoid of the excitement.

Weather for laying down and avoiding,... or for popping to Cardiff to bag merino base layers in the sales. Job done.

29 December 2011

Magor Pill and Marsh

A half-hearted, semi-coordinated search for yesterday's putative Black Brant saw me heading eastwards this morning. Unfortunately, thanks to the usual level of disturbance along the Severn Estuary SPA (e.g. two dog-walkers exercising their walkees on the limited areas of uncovered saltmarsh at high tide), Magor Pill only produced wheeling masses of calidrids wasting their energy supplies out over the water; the small, breakaway parties that did briefly settle only contained Dunlin and soon skittered off again. At one point I counted a flock of 1,600 birds but there were probably nearer 3,000 present in total. Wildfowl were dominated by Shelduck, certainly no geese around, and apart from a female Merlin it was all rather tedious.

A potter around Magor Marsh produced three Cetti's Warbler (including two singing males) and 1 Water Rail. Couldn't muster so much as a Chiffchaff amongst the tit flock, let alone a Firecrest,... or better. Cut my losses, buggered off home.

18 December 2011

Does anything rhyme with massacre?

Urgh! Ynys-y-fro twice in three days,... not healthy,... not healthy at all.

Mind you, I did actually record a Goosander on this, the second, Gwent [Gwentian? Gwentish?] Goosander Survey visit. It didn't actually sully its plumage with Ynys-y-fro water though, just a flyover, heading SE.

'Highlights' [hold on], 'highlights' [those inverted commas big enough for ya?] included: 1 Teal, 1 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 3 flyover Lapwing and a Snipe which flushed from the field into which the Woodcock disappeared last time - cryptic-coloured-long-schnozz central. The Little Grebe numbers are still in double figures but the lone 1st-winter Moorhen is yet to attract any friends, despite the low water levels and exposed mud on the top basin.

[Brassica? A half-rhyme at least.]

16 December 2011

No snow

The promised once-in-a-hundred-year snow storm produced a dusting on the hill opposite and a slightly threatening looking sky. Despite the obvious dangers, I headed off to Ynys-y-fro in the hope of witnessing the predictable exodus of Lapwing and Golden Plover fleeing the ferocious arctic blast. One Teal, one Gadwall, four Shoveler and a nascent runny nose later and I was in Morrisons looking for organic baked beans with which to line the cupboards. You never know, I could be trapped in this not-quite-whiteout, beyond the reach of outside help, you may never hear from me again.

I'm going downstairs for a cuppa,... I may be some time.

Someone at the Highways Agency knows his Gwent birding locations.

Still not much doing

Whether at sea-level or up-country, this week, when I have been out, I have been getting cold and wet,... and seeing precious little to make it all worthwhile. Mind you, beats sitting at the computer.

05 December 2011

Ref 1 - 0 Liverpool

We had a great view and, when the ref is brought up in front for crimes against football, I am expecting to be called as a star witness. One penalty-non-penalty, one disallowed non-offside-offside goal and one non-sending-off-sending-off resulted in our first loss in 12 games.

"The referee's a stereotype!" rang from the Putney End.

04 December 2011

Better post something or people will think I've left the country

If anyone is looking for a few digiscoping bits and bobs, there's a camera, adapter/adaptor and eyepiece on sale here. It's not mine, although the camera is identical to mine, actually let me just check,...

... no, it's not mine.