It was actually quite fun out there today. The spin-offs of a second morning seeking Cetti's Warblers at Uskmouth included: a male Whinchat (looking as classy as ever; not sure how they pull it off, it would be very easy for a Whinchat to look a touch garish, cheap even, but they always manage to avoid toppling into tits-out, tabloid, tartiness,... well done them), two Grasshopper Warblers (one of which leapt from the grassy verge and sat in full view a couple of metres away), one Lesser Whitethroat (of which there was nothing to add in parentheses after the species name), one Tree Pipit, seven Whimbrel, five Whitethroat, one Grey Plover, two Cuckoo, large numbers of Sand Martin and Swallow, and just two Wheatear (yesterday's hordes had passed on, although, by the sounds of it, only to be replaced by another wave this afternoon).
Then it was off to Goldcliff which was literally* dripping in ornithological gems, including: an adult Wood Sandpiper which flew strongly SW after half an hour or so, three Pale-bellied Brent Geese (two adults and a 2nd cal-year bird), one Shoveler x Cinnamon Teal hybrid, one Tufted x Ferruginous Duck hybrid, one Ruff (yesterday's male), the long-staying Spotted Redshank, one White Wagtail, 130 House Martin, 10 Swift, five Wheatear, five Whimbrel, one Grey Plover and 10 Knot.
This formula of 'brief introductory phrase' + 'colon' + 'wittily** annotated list of species' is probably the laziest form of blogging I have yet sunk to. I predict it will remain the Gwent Birding house style for some considerable time.
Shoveler x Cinnamon Teal hybrid. I blew the last dregs of my Coolpix's batteries on recording the sheer nerve-tingling, chimeric, mind-boggliness of this anatidine [should that be anasine(?)] beauty, as a result, there are precisely no photographs of the spangly Wood Sandpiper and I was reduced to cobbling together a toilet roll and a small piece of light-sensitive paper to obtain a likeness of the Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the pill,...
In all seriousness, I'd like to take this moment to thank Steve Jobs for everything he brought to the world, without his dynamism, leadership and foresight this piece of iPhone art would never have graced your retinas, and your visual cortex would, obviously, have been a much poorer piece of squidgy grey goo.
* not literally
** devoid of all wit