Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ringing at Ty'n-y-Caeau Farm

I took Gethin along to Ty'n-y-Caeau Farm this morning to observe his first ever ringing session. ("Will there be any lifers there?" "Probably not, son." "Ooohh!")

From left to right: Adrian Murch (scribe), Twitchmeister,
Dave Carrington and Steve Moon

Despite his freezing fingers Dave expertly extracts a bird from the nets.

Note the look of sheer concentration on Boy Birder's face

It was yet another decent ringing session at Ty'n-y Caeau with 60 + birds having been ringed (or should that be 'rung') by the time I left at 10.45 - including Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings, Dunnocks, Robins, Great and Blue Tits, Chaffinches and of course Greenfinches. The first Bullfinch for the site was ringed after I left. Sadly, the Tree Sparrows are still AWOL this winter. Where the hell are they?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Big 40

No, not my Year List - although my 2008 total it's not much higher than that. I celebrated my 40th birthday today in style - with a trip to Cosmeston Country Park (see blog). I know, I know, I sure know how to party.

But, earlier in the day, I enjoyed a few family moments opening my presents and cards. Sadly, there were no top of the range optics amongst the parcels. This was much to the Twitchmeister's annoyance 'cos he's itching to 'inherit' my old Optolyth. Instead, as befits a member of this particular Blog, Mrs JJ bought me a pair of 'camo' pants (to help me sneak up on birds, naturally).

David Beckham eat your heart out

Mrs JJ also bought me some other presents but I'm not putting them on this Blog! I'm grateful to Jeff and Teresa (Mr and Mrs Grouse) for their carefully chosen humorous card. Note the number plate of the car which again befits a member of this Blog.

I'm not so grateful to Tim, Gill and Rosie for their card . . .

And finally, here's a photo of one of my more unusual presents. Don't ask!

Sunday afternoon at B+Q

That's Beardie and Quacker folks as well as the DIY superstore !!
Ok,I didn't get the Bearded Tit but got stonking 'scope views of the Ferruginous Duck at Cosmeston C.P
A text from Dan on Saturday to let me know that a Fudgie had turned up at Cosmeston hatched "a cunning plan".Too much rugby on tele and weather too crap on Saturday to go birdin' so with Teresa wanting to go to B+Q on Sunday (some "cunning plan" of her own for me to redecorate the lounge) I politely suggested we go to B+Q at Culverhouse X instead of the more local one at Bridgend (bigger store,more choice-you know how it goes)in search of paint etc.
Sneaked the bins,camera and 'scope into the Jeep and next thing she was having a cuppa in the cafe at Cosie C.P whilst I toddled off down the boardwalk in search of the Fudgie,the Beardie was a little conspicuous by it's absence,not even a call.
There was another birder already on the duck (not literally !) when I arrived and shortly after I had set up Richard Smith turned up with his swanky new camera and "mega" lense.
The Fudgie was out in the open with the rest of the ducks and gave excellent views,the light was poor but I did manage to "digi-scope" a few record shots.
Richard and myself walked back to the car park togethor,still no sign of the Beardie as we gingerly dodged the dog crap on the board walk,why don't people clean up after their dogs especially in a place used by so many people !!
I persuaded Teresa that we really did need to call into Penarth Marina on the way back to have a look at the Slavonion Grebe that had turned up there during the week,so with Richard leading the way we headed off.
I'd spoken to both Tim and Wayne who had already been there and couldn't believe how close in the bird was.
They were right,I've never seen a Slav at such close quarters,it was too close to "digi-scope" and a bit too far away to get a good shot with only a 3x zoom compact camera,can't complain had great views of this wonderful small grebe.
Just as we were about to leave Alex Bevan turned up so after saying our goodbyes we left the "papparazzi" happily snapping away with their huge lenses (I'll bet they had some cracking shots !!)
Just to keep the other 'alf happy we had a quick look around B+Q,the fabric store and Marks+Sparks at Culverhouse before "piggin' out" at the Toby carvery in Bridgend for a late Sunday lunch.
A "cunning plan" well executed,a couple of cracking birds,my first Fudgie for several years and "loadsa brownie points" !!!

Iolo Meets The Twitchmeister

Geth and I met Iolo Williams - top Welsh wildilife TV and Radio Presenter and all round good bloke - at Cosmeston Country Park this morning. He was so excited at meeting 'The Twitchmeister' that he insisted on having his photograph taken with him!

We took him over to West Lake where Geth re-found the Ferruginous Duck for him - a UK lifer for the BBC Wales Birdman. Geth resisted the temptation to grip him off - we'd already seen it yesteday (#190 for Gethin). I'm glad to say it gave us far better views today. The Boy Birder also had another lifer today in the form of a Bearded Tit (#191) which was showing from the boardwalk. He narrowly missed adding yet another lifer when a Cetti's Warbler flew across the path in front of me. He was looking the other way!

In the next edition of 'Celebrity Birding' Geth and I will be showing Madonna the 2nd winter Ring-billed Gull at Lamby Lake.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Twitchmeister is 10!

Gethin celebrated his 10th birthday today and received plenty of birding presents - books, outdoor gear and best of all a new pair of bins.

Note especially the cool new hat he received from his Auntie Sara, T-shirt from Jeff (he'll grow into it eventually!) and the suitably initialled birthday cake made for him by his big sister, Gwenni. It won't be long before he'll be old enough to take us all out for a couple of pints!