Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Eyes to the right

Up early with the intention of getting out for some local naturalising but slipped back into a coma when confronted with the prospect of a cold, wet and windy excursion. This gives me to opportunity to look back over some of the birds photographed in less inhospitable climes recently.

It was noticed during my 'drifting off' periods whilst others were slapping on the factor 15 and lying back to relax, that some of the ornithological delights I approached to immortalise on celluloid would often remain motionless but with head turned toward me but in an upward position as displayed by the turnstone but less in the greenshank and Kentish plover. It seems, and not surprisingly I suppose, that the birds were keeping a beady eye on an pale, middle aged, northern European holiday maker with a long lens to ensure he didn't pose too much of a threat. When I get my act together I'll dig out my bird behaviour books and have a read. In the meantime the wind is howling and despite the call of a singing blackcap somewhere just beyond my back garden I can't raise the motivation to go out - hope I'm not brewing an illness!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Back in circulation

Back in ole blighty after a couple of weeks beach holidaying with the family in Fueterventura. Although not a birding break I managed a respectable 33 species without going far from our base in Corralejo. Some notables include this spectacled warbler, bee-eater, white and yellow wagtails and a massive visible migration of hirundines through the Island for just one day on the 18th April. Plenty of waders too. Looking to post a full trip report in due course.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Another adornment

Another sterling effort to record colour ringed gulls in Brynmawr draw a blank. As compensation one of the mute swan pair nesting on Dunlop Semtex Pond is colour ringed with blue 7FFU. I suspect its from the Brecon/ Llandrindod Wells area - I'll let you know.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A light in the dark

A posting on the Gower Wildlife blog of the spring fungi bog beacon (Mitrula paludosa ) reminded me that I found the same species amongst some alder carr at The British many years ago. With an hour to spare I decided to track it down again, and it proved to be surprisingly easy. A number of fruiting bodies protruding from the boggy underfoot conditions of a scrubed over corner of The British heath and home in time for lunch.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Snake in the grass

Rather predicably Llandegfedd Reservoir was devoid of interesting waterfowl yet full of fishermen. So when this occurs one has to look elsewhere for an ecological kick and one was found in the meadow around Greenpool Bay. Apart from the emergence of common spotted orchid the most striking botanical feature was thousands of adders tongue fern springing forth from the grassland and so early in the season as well. If you've not seen this smart little fern get out the reservoir now for some botanical twitching.

Birdwise the woody margins were alive with chiffchaff, blackcap and willow warbler and the water margins supported a couple of snipe. A Jimmy Edwards (who!) lookalike blue tit with a large handlebar moustache provided some brief entertainment and the ideal opportunity to field test a new 70-300mm Sigma DG lens. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Animal farm

Another attempt at an early ring ouzel at the normally trusty site at The British drew another blank. The emptiness was filled by a rampant party of trotting, grunting and snorting pigs. These little swines were clearly enjoying the freedom of the common land running back and forth a pond and stream and no doubt introducing some suspended solids. Their route to freedom was also clearly defined by some destructive turf turning.

Some internet research suggests the little trotters are Oxford sandy and black pigs a rare British breed on the road to recovery after being near to extinction in 1985.
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