Monday, 27 December 2010

Welsh Winter Wonderland

The Menai Straits are one of the warmest places in Britain, especially in winter. Nice Gulf stream influence, sheltered, little precipitation due to the rainshadow from Snowdonia. Basically lovely. Was minus 7 there and 6 inches of snow when I rolled up last Sunday. In fact when we went to sea we managed to record minus 7. Offshore. Insane. We were surveying Rhyl flats and managed quite a few decent birds. I lost all feeling in my fingers and toes plus I got snowed on but Scaup at sea were very nice. As were the 20,000 Common Scoter that flew past (but no velvets). Truely incredible stuff. It was like that Carling advert but with small black ducks instead of Starlings. During the day we had a passage of Skylark and a few winter thrushes. Wise birds beating the chill. The other highlights were a couple of Great Northern Divers. Not a right lot although we managed Goldeneye and both the commoner sawbills back on the Menai Straits.

I soon returned home and a bit of garden action occured with Song Thrush on my feeders and Pied Wagtail actually in the garden as opposed to on a neighbours roof. Continuing evidence of a hard winter. Oh that and the 6 inches of snow we had between 6pm Christmas Eve and 1am Christmas Day. Oh yeah - we had a proper white christmas. My tweets with appropriate pictures may even still be in the twitter feed. Or not if you are reading this in January (or July) (freak).

Using my smooth linkage Im going to move on to Christmas itself. We had a pleasant time here in Chez Spencer with my wife hosting. Beer has/is being drunk with gay abandon and I appear to now own a Nikon D200. Just waiting for it to arrive in the post but once that happens I can assure you my ability to take limited pictures will be evident. I did however get a couple of useful books - The Sound Approach by Mark Constantine et al which seems amazing plus A Birdwatchers Guide to Digital Photography by David Tipling which will hopefully also prove illuminating.

p.s. Did North Killingholme on Christmas Eve. Simple summation reads as such - Frozen, snow. Best bird a Fox on the ice. Foreshore = snowy. Few waders. Nothing good. Tonnes of Thrushes.

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