Sunday, 15 October 2017

Yes... Still.

In the first part of 'What I Did On My Weekend', we shall see what happened on Saturday.

To sum up;

Not a lot and of what that was, very little of originality.

I did not go haring off up to the welshlands [or over to Fraggle Rock] on no sleep. Yeah, daring.

I did get to the Nose early.

Robin. Singing.

Not singing

But at least original.
Speaking of..

Not a Herring Gull

Check out those wingbars

Yes, it's the
Insane Crow Posse

Hey, what's the fuss over there??

It's Foxy!!

As the Buzzards were on their tea break, the corvids decided to gang up on somebody else..

[And random teeny red flower]

Pictures aside, there was some over head passage - even going the right way! - of mostly Mipits, but also the first Woodpig flock of Autumn that I've seen [only 22, but give them time].
Both Sprawk [which attacked a Robin 5m from me!!] and Kestrel blazed past my drawn camera too fast to even get a blur [drat], and the tiny number of warblers all hid effectively.

I'm keeping at it. Sooner or later I'll find something I can put a shot like this up about..

What is that...???

In other news, what happened on Sunday will be eventful and involve more pictures than your nightmares ever dared inflict..  :D

Mua-ha-ha and so on.

Be Seeing You..

Monday, 9 October 2017

More Of The Same

Still nursing my pinged knee, I was very good and did not go yomping about anywhere naughty. Or anywhere much at all, really.

I didn't even try my hand at dipping the Vagrant Emperor at the Warren - so you know I really mean it.

Anyways, I did get out about the Patch a bit, with a first thing visit to the Nose on Saturday, and a more general meander on Sunday. I'm sure you can guess what's coming, though I promise to include a little variety on last time.

Saturday was interesting in the utter lack - apart from one early deluge - of the forecast 'mounting rain from incoming front'. Sunday was also far less rain than forecast, being mostly made of sunshine. Oh well. Different plans would have come from accurate forecasts. I know I've said this many times, but you'd think in this day and age, with all these supercomputers and so on, that a vaguely accurate prediction the fricking night before would not be impossible.

Right.. So, I found a few differences from the weekend previous, most obviously being the utter lack of warblers. I think I found three Chiffs over the two days!?! As opposed to three in one little bush by IMD the week earlier. Hmm.*

There was a lot of movement on Saturday, though quite a bit was going the wrong way! This included a flock of 33 Mipit, going past low over the sea about 400m out.. north! Huh. All the Swallows were in/off, though a big mob of House Martins feeding over Ilsham valley [39 of them] did move out the right way. The most notable migrant overhead was a nice vocal Reed Bunting [wow], and the only 'decent' bird was a gorgeous Firecrest, which posed right out in the open by the Rock Path Holly, then dived into it when I raised my camera, the little [Censored].. :(

Readers with x-ray vision will see it clearly...

To be fair, even the Goldcrests were at it; when I came across a couple having a right claws-out fight along IMD, the moment I tried to make them famous they thought better of their conflict and vamoosed.. Drat.

But not everything was quite so unrewarding, so here goes for 'Cra Common Birds From The Patch' II.....;

80's Pop Duo

Bullfinches are bashful birds..

..Needing a little fieldcraft to get in range.

Note intervening scenery [and autofocus actually behaving for once].

"If I pose, will you please go away?"

I had the camera out


Not the local mob

Part of a flock of 7

Who came down from the north
and spent a while foraging around the Quarry

These guys took some stalking, too. [After I ran right into them at the Narrow Bit... Ahem].

Far less subtle fare was also about;

Mosquito Boat

And you thought 2cy Herrings were fugly...

To apologise for that horror [why Ace feel they have to paint such ugly ships that awful colour scheme is beyond me..], I shall not only spare you gulls [stop cheering] but I shall show you something properly purdy instead! ::Gasp!::

Much better

Who needs Draconids, anyway?

The Hill does block good things as well as bad, but sometimes the sky finds a way.

Sunday saw me avoiding the Nose to see what else was about. I also had a small delivery to make, which was well-received. In terms of birds, there was little of great note - tit bands and no obvious migrants.
Cue various pictures;

 Confiding Crows

Eclipse Green, one of the highest points around
[view towards the north east Moor]

Looking The Other Way
The Sub, from The Hill

Rippon to Hay Tors
Rough Tor visible just left of Hay


Hold on a minute..??

And finally, that delivery...

Culinary Mad Science

Be Seeing You..

[[*I suspect a strange phenomenon known as 'migration'....]]

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Slow-burn Date With Lee

Technically, this is also about some fun had on Saturday, but the main action was the frontal systems including the remains of Hurricane Lee on Sunday.
This didn't look as good close to as the forecast had led to believe earlier in the week [my anticipation building up through a typical week's toil, as per usual], but I thought.. "Ach, what the what - I'll take some lunch down and see what Lee brings"

Turns out, it was better than the weather, due to that wonderful pull-factor; fooooood! :)

Most of the action was well offshore, with a frenzy - encompassing about 20° of view - that slowly moved North, then shifted Southwest, until not far outside the Big Shear line, still stretching about 20° from the SE.

I have some truly horrible pictures of this - as many Gannets [well over 200 at any one time] were involved and so could be seen even through bins - and yes, you're getting a couple as 'proof'.

Dust on the lens?

Oh, maybe birds..

Allegedly also containing skuas
[Bonxie + 2 Arctic..!]

Wait.. that's a big ship?!?

Why a picture of the 'YM Express'? This would be context for why I'd also shoot the 'Celtic Vigour';

"Well, Dougal..."

Yes, I have been known to photograph ships as well as the odd yacht - if it passes by, it's fair game, after all. It was in lining up on the CV that I noticed she had company. Oh yes, first species shots incoming!

Wait.. What's that?

Itsa blur

Itsa blur with a blob on it

That one better?

Last one

Dolphins! I'd like to be very certain about which dolphins here, as I definitely got a Common through my scope before I started up with the camera, but looking at the actual pictures, I'm not so sure. The pattern of pale markings seem to give a back swept dark triangle below and behind the fin, as opposed to the 'mirrored' down-pointing dark area you see in Common. Also some of those fins look awfully big and falcate.. Hmm.
Two cetacean theory?? I don't know.. Probably just dodgy photos of Commons.

Speaking of things in the water, later on a Gannet got a bit nervous...
 Derrrr-dum.... derrr-dum...
Gannet:"Who's playing that?!?"

Gannet:"Seriously...This isn't funny"

Gannet:"Wait a minute, it's only BLEEPing Harbour Porpoises..."
[Porps swim off, sniggering]

I may have missed all the good birds, but at least I got some cetaceans!  :D

Yes, there were good birds, mostly skuas.

Lots of skuas! Arctics and Bonxies mostly, as you'd expect, but some nice Poms and.. yes! Long-tails! Plural! [[Stop using all the !s...]]
More specifically, four of them. All juvs, all seen well [considering] including one that very thoughtfully flew along near an Arctic - both dark morph, too - if only I'd had a photoscope thing, I'd have a wonderful 'it's structure not size' comparison shot.. Oh well. Speaking of Arctics, my count was an impressive 49. With 18 Bonxies and no less than 12 Poms also. Also 4 skua sp. - all small ones, but probably also Arctics - that were too far out and unco-operative to be sure of.
One of the Poms [a cracking light morph male, no less - though minus spoons] came right in towards me, and I had the camera out with hope and almost expectation.. But no, the bar steward turned back away and I didn't even get a blob.. Drat.

Now, these numbers are the best I can get, as quite a few skuas [notably a team of dark and intermediate morph Arctics] tarried to forage, annoying the Kitts [and Gannets and gulls, too]. Only those seen heading off south were recorded, and anything coming north was monitored but not counted [usually coming in to have some 'fun']. I'd like to thank the Kitts in particular, who made that 'sp.' count so small, as there's nothing like getting a direct comparison to a Kittiwake, plus the popped-up silhouettes, to help ID a distant skua! :) Indeed, one of the LT's was nailed that way - yes, chasing a Kitt! :D
Speaking of harrying, as well was the usual 'everything on the poor Kittiwakes', notable scraggings included a particularly hard Pom on Gannets, Bonxie vs three GBBs [the gulls lost], 2cy GBB on a Pom [and it won, too!], 3 Arctics vs Pom [that was a dogfight and a half], and a drawn out Arctic vs Kitt vs two more Arctics vs Bonxie vs four GBBs that ended with a juv Herring sneaking off with the fish while the rest were still fighting! [Phew]

Getting back to some harder numbers.. With all the feeding activity, it was hard work trying to count actual passage, so the counts of 649 Gannet and 120 Kittiwake are to be considered ballpark figures, I think. I did only click birds moving, but no way to tell if they didn't circle back again [as is ever the way, though]. 26 Razorbills and 2 Guillemots were moving [inshore of all the fun] as were 6 LBB and 2 BHG.
I also saw some shearwaters. Not many, but all were welcome. The best was a Sooty - within 5 minutes of me getting going, too - which was circling around the feeding frenzy but banked beautifully for me. I'm going to be in trouble, though, as I saw only 1 Manx compared to 13 Balearics [plus 2 shear sp. which could have been either, out in the haze], even though they were all in on the Manx line and so nice and clear to view. Whatever.

No scoters, still no divers yet, and no terns at all! [Odd, but maybe they were right out, or just avoiding all the skuas?]

It was a far better watch than expected, and I didn't even need my bumbleshoot. Score.

Right then, after all that blabbering, now we head back further in time to the day before, when I wandered to the Nose, got rained on a lot, and saw.. Well mostly;

"Don't you dare call me ordinary!"

Rarer than Bullfinch


Commoner than a Chaffinch

Warbler flycatching

Hardly an ID challenge, though
[it was singing]

Crow Patrol

"I'm a Blackbird, me"

Most interesting thing seawards

I dunno, that woodpecker looks a bit plastic..

[Though no WAs here, more's the pity...]

How's that for a Patch patrol summary? Hands up who misses the days when it was all talk, no pictures..

Be Seeing You..