17 August 2014


Popped up to the Birdfair yesterday.  Quite fun as a social event, bumped into some people I hadn't seen in ages; also managed to cadge a full English breakfast off Conservation Grade, coffee off the World Land Trust, cake and biscuits from REGUA, a CD from The Sound Approach and, best of all, a cracking collection of sound recordings from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Did wonder about the aim and/or target audience of one, or three, of the talks though.  I also found it difficult to dismiss a nagging feeling that one ill-judged short-cut, through an apparently innocent looking marquee, could lead to one blundering into a League of Gentleman inspired cult of aging Bill Oddie devotees, decked out in nothing but overly pocketed Country Innovation waistcoats and thongs, prostrating themselves at the feet of a huge papier-mâché effigy of Kate Humble. 

Could happen,... could definitely happen.

31 July 2014

We will wash it, we will splosh it,...

Harvest Mouse nest attached to Great Willowherb in a jungle of Greater Pond Sedge.  If you put your ear to it, you can hear the distant piping of the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ from somewhere deep within.  

25 July 2014

Fun week,... fungi

Spent most of this wonderfully hot and humid week up to my sweat/sunscreen-filled eyeballs in aquatic (and other, largely stingly/prickly) vegetation.  Heard a Kingfisher, found a Harvest Mouse nest and a brood of Tufted Duck, was bitten by horse flies, mosquitoes and red ants, and have had enough of Water Voles for the foreseeable future.  Also had a very showy, bordering on nonchalant, Water Vole during a quick stop at Magor Marsh but little there in the way of bird interest. 

PS. Can anyone identify the fungi in the image below?  Three appeared in a plant pot out front this week, almost certainly a garden tick if someone can put a name to it. 

When they first appeared the colour of the cap was shiny and a sandy-yellow (a little brighter than the tip is here) which bleached over a couple of days to this. This one measured 10 cm from tip to 'root' and could neither speak English nor play the piano.

20 July 2014

Let's. Get. Ready. To. CRUMBLE!

Home-grown rhubarb, homemade crumble,... custard on the way.  Yummers!

15 July 2014

We went east

The greatest of Knots, partially obscured by a Redshank and phone-scoped from within a rolled up carpet whilst suffering from temporary tunnel vision.  Fusion technology performance art at its very best.  Luckily, before the bird moved onto the mudflats to feed, half decent views had been secured as it repeatedly flitted around in the wader roost amongst the Sea Lavender in the foreground. 

13 June 2014

Last week

A week of early starts, ickle ponies, six foot rabbits and countless moist bottoms in the lovely New Forest.  Bagged a couple of long overdue avian year ticks (Eider [in the Solent] and Spotted Flycatcher) and a fair number of new invertebrates for 2014 (e.g. Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Keeled Skimmer, etc., etc.) but the highlight was the quality and variety of the breeding stuff and the accompanying dawn chorus.  It can't be too bad when you're surrounded by oodles of singing/displaying Curlew, Snipe, Woodlark, Redstart, Dartford Warbler, Firecrest, etc., etc.  Did manage to not see Short-toed Eagle or Black Kite though.

Clayhill Bottom. Very moist, if wearing walking boots and gaiters (or 'birding spats' as I like to call them) best crossed at pace whilst being very mindful of your step. "That looks solid,... nope,... that looks solid,... nope,... that looks solid,... nope." [ad infinitum]

A horsey.

09 June 2014

Smell the roses

Pottered around the grasslands on Sunday, rounded up a few more Cetti's but little else of note on the ornithological side of things. Plenty of dragon-, damsel- and butterflies though, and a smattering of pwiddy flowers.

A rose by any other name would,... err,... be a misidentified rose.

06 June 2014

That's the way to do it

Mother Shipton in the sun at Uskmouth. That's supposed to be the profile of a witch on the forewing, looks more like Mr. Punch.

Thought I'd better get down the patch whilst the sun was shining.  Nothing new on the bird front but the number and variety of bugs, and other spineless wonders, seems to be on the up.  Down at the pools most of the action was provided by regular sorties by the resident, wader bothering, Buzzard.  High tide was almost a total wash-out, just two Dunlin came in off the estuary.

Umbridge at Goldcliff. [In the interests of full disclosure, the above is a composite of several images (can you see the join[s]?); no less authentic than images taken with the aid of MP3s, mealworms, etc., especially when photographers then fail to mention their use. Of course, all photography is, at best, a manipulated, imperfect reflection of reality, but that's another, yawn-inducing discussion altogether.]

01 June 2014

It's very green out there

It was very green and, in places, moist (right up to your pockets); and, in other places, stingy, today. The Cetti's Warbler survey is complete. The Savi's is still present. That is all.

A wee hoppy-kitten-bunny early doors but mostly greenery.

Latticed Heath but mostly greenery.

Untrampled Grass Vetchling between path and Savi's Warbler (well done everybody),... but mostly greenery.