30 March 2012

A couple more

Goldcliff Pools went like this,... 'Chinese Goose' 1, Black-tailed Godwit 3, Avocet 42 (including colour-ringed bird), Swallow 1, Merlin 1, Hen Harrier 1, Whimbrel 1, Spotted Redshank 1, Rock Pipit 2 and (at Boat Lane) 'Barney' the (now single again) Barnacle Goose. The newest of the new hides is now open too, which is good, as today the [enter derogatory term for people who... (oh, I can't be bothered, you know the sort I'm referring to)] had three options in which to sit and miss the flyover Swallow, Merlin and Hen Harrier,... which a few of them duly did.

Oh look. It's one of them. Actually, there were two.

24 March 2012

More duck

You can never have too much duck.

A much better image of the Boat Lane leucistic Wigeon from last autumn care of Weekendbirder (since when her plumage may have bleached a little, p'raps the limited pigment she does have isn't as UV stable as it might be[?]).

23 March 2012

Here, there, and back again

Two visits to Goldcliff/Boat Lane sandwiched a trip to Slimbridge, circuits of which in turn sandwiched a roasted vegetable sandwich. Today was just just one big picnic!

One Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Knot and seven Grey Plover bombed NE over Goldcliff this morning and the Avocet count had risen to 41; this afternoon 20 Black-tailed Godwits and four Ringed Plovers were the only notable waders, not helped by the two fishy-fingered-rod-fiddlers standing on the sea-wall in the area bedecked with 'No access' signs near the new hide. Non-waders included the mighty 'Chinese Goose', three Chiffchaffs and a Cetti's Warbler singing from one of the hedgerows/ditches behind the viewing platform (the first I have heard at Goldcliff for a while). Boat Lane chipped in with the doe-eyed, porcelain-skinned beauty that is the leucistic Wigeon.

A jaunt to Slimbridge to check out the minima Cackling Goose teetered on edge of abject failure as we arrived to find the Canada Goose flock out on the edge of the estuary, despite several parties flying around at various junctures, the little 'un remained unseen. Proceedings were rescued, however, by the female Lesser Scaup and the usual mixture of the sublime [NB. Is it possible to overdose on Falcated Duck? I may have overdosed on Falcated Duck.] and the ridiculous in the collection (see below).

Mallard x Red-crested Pochard? Possibly,... maybe.

Originally on it's own, out in front of 'Robbie Garnett', it then put in an appearance on the 'Back from the brink' pond.

A more-ring-necked-than-Ring-necked-Duck Tufted Duck.

PS. The Slimbridge mini-goose is definitely not the Torr bird, that's still at Torr.

22 March 2012

Great White Gwent tick

Great White Egret finally flops onto my Gwent list, another one that appears to have only stayed a few hours (last seen heading west).

Very little else at the pools. Boat Lane turned up half a dozen Sand Martins heading north, a Chiffchaff and a rather striking leucistic Wigeon (presumably the same as the bird seen last year by Weekendbirder). And, to round off, Barney has either found a mate, cloned himself or I'm seeing double.

Seems to be a female, you'd think it wouldn't last long sat on a nest with 'camouflage' like that.

Must try to get better photos before she moves on.

16 March 2012

Migrants, plural,... just

One of two proper incoming migrants today, the other, a spanking male Wheatear was much better looking but much further away. The take home message dearest birds is, if you don't come close, you ain't gonna be famous,... think on Mr. Wheatear, think on.

Whilst the Chiffchaff and Wheatear were trying to sell the 'spring is sprung' line, a female Merlin sat atop a Hawthorn oozing sang-froid amongst the alarm-calling Redshank, doing her best to bring a wintry (or wintery,... your choice) feel to proceedings. Rather predictably, given the woeful height of the 'high' tide, wader numbers were crap: one Spotted Redshank, one Black-tailed Godwit and 34 Avocet.

10 March 2012

That was *not* that

The difference a bit of sun makes. Chris relocated the Yellowthroat and, as it was on the way home, I popped in for another viewing. Always nice to have a UK mega all to yourself for a few hours. It showed really well, down to less than ten feet, but 99% of the time on the deck and in deep cover. Piece of piss to photograph now though.

Earlier at Goldcliff Pools, top quality wildfowl (as shown above) and a smattering of waders including: 2 Ruff, 2 Knot, 1 Turnstone, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank and 23 pwetty ickle Avocets,... aaah. No migrants yet though.

09 March 2012

That might be that

Spent four hours at a grey, breezy and slightly damp Rhiwderin this morning without any joy, well I saw Treecreepers, Goldcrests, Nuthatches, lots of finches, etc., but no little yellow-throated bundle of yankee joy. I'm not saying it's not still there but, as far as I know, the last confirmed report was for last Sunday (reports on Monday may have been the result of a late posting for Sunday being misconstrued elsewhere in the interwebosphere).

07 March 2012

Awaiting spring

A day and a night in the field haven't exactly been heaving with birds (borderline heaving with foxes). Most of the wildfowl and waders appear to have got up and gone. Have bumped into Barn, Little and Tawny owls, Woodcocks and, on the move, Stonechat and Siskins.

Still no Sand Martin,... or Wheatear.

02 March 2012

Oh look, this is where you type the title

A few days in the field this week; up-country it's all singing Skylarks and passing Curlews plus the odd Short-eared Owl feasting on unwary Redwings; down-country it's mainly fog and a dwindling number of waterbirds.

Had a couple of colour-ringed Curlews further up the estuary today,... worth checking any you come across.

[NB. Sightings should be sent directly to Dr. Niall Burton (Head of Wetland & Marine Research at the BTO) at niall.burton@bto.org. In addition to the combination and positions of colour-rings, they would also like date, time and location (ideally a six-figure grid ref.) plus the proportion of colour-ringed birds in any flock, i.e. the numbers of birds colour-ringed and the numbers of birds checked for rings (not necessarily the total flock size).]

01 March 2012

First contact

A little bit pea soupy along the Severn this morning, and viewing conditions weren't great, but I'm pretty sure aliens have landed, not seen to leave their capsule but they're in there,... oh yes, they're in there alright.