Sunday, 31 December 2017

And Now, The End Is Nigh


For 2017, anyway.


My being here typing away rather than out getting rained on amongst the festivities may give a hint as to my feelings on the subject..

Yeah, so, lighter tone;

I will of course at some point inflict upon you yet another list of high points from 2017, as indeed will I be posting all the other stuff I'm racking up at pace... I'm afraid my Muse is sat in the corner pouting at me and won't play right now. Yes, even despite me going seawatching and seeing a ridiculous number of divers today [was anyone else looking? No? Tut.]

In the mean time, here's a random image from the logjam photomountian Inbox;

On Patch

Off Patch

Not Another Gannet Photo...


I think I may have a problem.

I'm addicted to trying to photograph Gannets.

I can't stop.

They just keep flying past and I just keep pointing the camera at them. I know the shots are always rubbish, even 'good' ones like that are not sharp, but I can't help it. Click.


Oh dear.


Happy New Calender Year and so on, folks.

I shall

Be Seeing You..




Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Bonxing Day?


This was the hope, anyway [[All seabirds chorus: "For you not us!!"]] as another day and another front got me down to the Nose on the 26th to see what I could see on or over the sea [oh stop it]

Ahem.

The weather was slightly better than expected, with the front arriving in actual daylight for a change, and it was a real feisty one, too! Having pinged my knee* again - the other one, this time - I decided to not go all the way down onto the Steps. There was also the consideration that the incoming forecast S to SE would make them rather inhospitable and I wasn't in the mood for having to move. I instead took the opportunity to make lemonade*** and try somewhere new. Place in question being The Tower [the lower one, obv.]

This gave the unheard of luxury of real shelter from both wind and rain, though at the significant price of a greatly restricted view and having the main path at my back. A cold rainy Bonxing Day made the latter less of an issue though.

Here's what I mean;

Looking for at the sea

Oh yeah, there it is

Still getting those bad Gannet shots

With the fun only starting after mid day, bad light stopped play before any real time elapsed [a proper seawatch is at least four hours, dontcha know]. Despite seemingly better conditions, the birds weren't playing ball, with markedly less passing, though still the same 'lots of auks and Gannets plus Kitts and Fulmars', numbers were well down. For a while it looked like bird of the watch would be the odd sight of a Mistle Thrush, in/off!

However, after no small amount of time, my persistence finally paid off and I got a skua. :) Not the Bonxie I was hoping for, but a smart adult light morph Arctic Skua, which zipped through north at a rate sufficient for me to not even reach for my camera..

Not that you are spared all shots, as there are rules and there were 'orrible gulls on display..  Heh heh heh

Tea time on the slick

'Orrible gull in flight


And hanging about wiv da ladz


I'd like to apologise, really I would..

Here's something from about the Patch which does not involve gulls of any flavour;

Redwing!

More Redwing!
Plus photobombing Green Wood!


There's still more to come, and hopefully a frenzy of posting will ensue in the coming days, as I doubt I have any more major yomps in me for at least a little while [drat and double drat].



Be Seeing You..






[[*While traversing the Northwest Passage**. Yes, there is a somewhat overdue blog post to come. Regulars will be able to guess what's coming]]
[[**If you're not a regular reader, I ought to say 'No, not that one'..]]
[[***The lemons creating access to the Tower being the attempt by the tcct to exterminate the population of Whitethroats at the Nose by destroying all their nest sites, with no small amount of success; numbers of singing males are down by 2/3...]]

Monday, 25 December 2017

Ho Ho Ho Merry Seawatch!


'Tis the season to be jolly and so on, and I couldn't let some half-decent [even if the fronts look to be all arriving a good six hours late - tut!] weather go by without having some fun.


So I toddled down to the Nose this morning - a little later than intended due to turning alarm off in sleep again.. - and gave the sea a couple of hours.

Oooh it was busy! Via timed count, I got hourly rates of 1250 auks, 500 Gannets and 200 Kittiwakes!

There wasn't much else.. a handful of BHGs and a few Fulmars, aside from the stars;

A Puffin!

Two Poms! [dark and light]

An Arctic! [dark]

The skuas came through in one burst of less than ten minutes, and really got my hopes up of epic birds. Well, maybe.

Epic bird, possibly.


Still, it was fun, with plenty to go through and some nice light, though my camera was at its most fiendish. So many times it just wouldn't focus, or I ht the shutter and it went out of focus and then took the picture.. Aaaaargh. Still, I got a few things, though ships were the easiest;

'Simar Esperanca'

Look at that crane!!

I was aiming at the Gannet..!!

Did I mention the dolphins? Yep, the horde of Common Dolphins still present in the area, though mobile and really hard to get on, and that's before my camera had its say...  As well as 30+ Common, there was at least one Harbour Porpoise present, and a couple of Bottlenose - looked like a mother and not so young calf - moved through north early on. I do have one other shot;

Common Dolphins!

I even ran into a couple of other hardy souls, down to look at the sea; so I'm not the only one mad enough to seawatch today! :)


There is and will be more, including lots on the other things I've been up to and some photos of things that are even in focus and clearly identifiable. Not just funguses, either. ;)

But time is pressing and I have pressies to deliver [Ho Ho Ho], so I shall wish you all a very merry time however and whatever you are celebrating [and even if you're not at all] and I shall

Be Seeing You..



Monday, 18 December 2017

The Drawn-Out Nigh-Inevitable Dip


With my plague finally under control, it was time this weekend to get about seeing to that Parrot Crossbill [possibly requiring some ', though the seemingly kosher picture of it that was obtained after much effort has mysteriously vanished from all the net I can see.....??]


So on Saturday, with a half-decent forecast, I made my way over to Woodbury Common and set about scouring Upham's Plantation and environs.

I've been past it a couple of times in the past, coming from the north, but never into it, so this was at the very least a useful recce of a new spot.

Despite meeting a couple of birders who'd seen 'no birds', I was undeterred [especially as it turns out a Certain Somebody had had a ringtail before I got there!] and ended up staying until rain stopped play mid afternoon.

There are no Crossbill pictures coming. Not even dots. This is due to me not once finding the gits on the deck! [Or rather, tree] I was flown over four times by small parties; 2+ to 5+, but only once did I get a proper look and then they were three female types, all the same size and build, and I did not even have a hope of getting the camera on them.

However. One of said groups included an individual which called in a far different and very very Parrot-y manner. Indeed a manner which got me quite excited.
I did not see the bird which done the deed, [even as a dot] so I shall say only

BUGGER!!!

And leave it at that.


[[Yes, that looks stupid. Why? Because Google are muppets who can't write code. Is anyone surprised?]]



I also met and even saw some more obliging birds - to an extent - a lovely male Bullfinch, a highly vocal Goldcrest band, several GSWs, and 27 Redwing in one flock. Very nice, too.

Here's some scenery, and the obligatory bird shot;

Trees.

Tree.

Staking out sheltered cone-iferous conifers.


Got that flyover


Redwing!

Yeah, usual quality there.


Finally, in the spirit of things, here's the Kitchen Spider, striking a festive pose;

Ho Ho Ho


That's actually Spider* for "Thank you for fishing me out of the sink"




Coming up.. A post consisting of pictures of the sky. Yes, really.


Bated breath, folks.


Be Seeing You..






[[*A language of posture, impossible to use with less than 6 legs**]]
[[**And even then you apparently have a very silly accent...]]

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Yarner


Here's the much-delayed post you were beside yourselves waiting for, I am sure;


We had a nice amble, some lovely coffee and the odd flapjack - it was good. The usual avian suspects only, aside from a group of flyover Crossbill [heard only, but about a dozen on calls]. So, here are some scenic views;

You know, 
I think it might be winter..


It's late in the season for mushrooms, but fungi were still to be found;

Possibly G pfeifferi?

Tinder bracket

The same, with more typical examples


Bay polypore?

Artist's bracket

Birch polypore

As above

Turkey tails

Ok, enough of the excitement. There was something a little more active, or well, a sign of activity anyway. The rangers have been very busy hacking down a lot of the Holly and leaving it lying around for the deer to munch - possibly to stop them stripping the bark from more valuable trees [so to speak]. Anyway, the deer definitely like bark, or rather the sap underneath it;

Fresh munching

Speaking of destruction..

Self-propelled wood-chipper


 I suppose I ought to put in at least some sort of bird-related image, though I'm afraid my autofocus was up to it's tricks again, so please save your eyes and don't expand the thumbnails;

Assorted tits

Quick change


Ok, awfulness restored.



Be Seeing You..



Sunday, 10 December 2017

Purple Patch


Still here, still on my feet [more or less], though the plague is still hanging on - hopefully this is at last changing - but I'm stuck in chafing at what might have been, with winter storms blasting past and me in no state to be off doing what should be done; seawatching!!

[What?!? I'm not insane. Winter seawatching is the best thing to do on windy days, and far healthier than futilely searching for passerines, or standing in the full force trying to count huddled waders or waterfowl while your scope shakes as in a 7.5 and you get handpothermia...
You wouldn't get a decent count, let alone a decent view anyway.
Contrast with a properly-sited seawatcher, well-wrapped and out of the blast, with warm drink to hand, and a nice view of hopefully something interesting and even northern flying past.
See? Like I said. Not insane.]



Anyways, Saturday started very well as far as birds went, with a flypast Little Owl on the way home from work! Get In.  :D  Not had one in the work area for.. oh, it is multiple years now.


After that I just had to do more, and so I made time from an unavoidable trip into Towne* to nip over to the Harbour to have a look at what the calm seas would show.

Lots of little yachtses....


I got nothing more spectacular than a Cormorant.

At least, on the sea.


On shore, the Real Living Coasts had at least 6 Sandpipers Purple, and as many Turnstones;

Sleeping Beauty

Think it's siesta time?

"I am awake, actually. I am merely not talking to you."

There was some activity

"Got any sarnies?"

But more from the Turnstones

"I'm big-feathered, ok?"

Standstone

"Ok, where did you leave your phone??"
"I'm sure it was on this bit.."

Dragging the gaze away from littoral cuteness [stop it], I couldn't help myself but zap at least one decortication;

Very festive

Getting back inland, I once again encountered that little warbler, but despite having the camera in hand, I was unable to get more on the fast-moving, hide-against-the-light artist than this;

Drat. Again.

I'm sure it's in there somewhere.. Oh well, if at first you don't succeed


Other birds had more manners [or ego];

"Oi! Monkey! Fill up the feeders!"


[I don't know what the problem was, there was still plenty, AND they haven't even touched the fancy fat balls yet!]


In other news,
The more observant among you may be wondering where the Yarner thing is. Well, I lent my Mushrooms book out without having written down the IDs of what I photo'd [oops], so until I get it back, I'm holding fire. ::shrugs::

Yes, I could just add in names afterwards, but I've played that game already.



Be Seeing You..



[[*Nope, no dipping Parrot Crossbills for this little black duck...]]

Monday, 4 December 2017

Still Here


Just about.

A lovely attack of the plague has taken me out somewhat, but before that happened, I not only gave the Patch a long overdue - and shockingly productive - bashing, but I also took an amble about Yarner with the Folks and this Little Black Dog that always follows us around*


Still no Patch Hawfinches, much to my vexation, nor anything of that SEO here [only a yeartick, I know, but still, now I've got a 'decent' camera.. ], but the various tit bands were all checked, and.. well, wait and see.

All of the best stuff was at the Nose [what's new] though Blackcaps are well spread out, and Redwing were moving through the whole area in small groups. On the odd occasion, slow ones didn't take off fast enough

No, I said wing, not breast!
This showoff, now very good at feeder-perching

Right then;
Redwing

Not just Redwing, with a flock of 15 Fieldfare over the Nose, and also a lot of presumably migrant Blackbirds and Song Thrushes - 17 and 3 on the slopes. Not the easiest to get pictures of, but that didn't stop me;

Dark billed

"No really, I'm a Veery!"
"Yeah, right...."

Smaller and closer, but if anything even harder to get a lock on to were the-censored

Ahem.

Small active passerines.

Again, that didn't stop me;

Any 'crest is a good 'crest

"Just lean back a bit.... Got it!"


Aww

So cute

Then, there was that call. I tracked it and fired at anything moving in the right spot.. What happened?

These;

Oooh..

Looking at you, looking at me

I'm on fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire

Yes! It may not be in proper focus, but you cannot deny that one, can you?


For sake of balance, here's something much 'orriblier;

Gulls on the Lead Stone

Aaaaaargh....

There were auks on the Ore Stone too - about 145 - but I'll spare you the horror.

But not all the horror, as after getting that Redwing at Tessier, I was approached by a filthy beggar

Always scrounging

"Got any sarnies?"

You know, situations like that make me think thoughts that probably ought not to be put online...   ::Sigh::


Oh come on, you all know where I stand on Grey Squirrels [there's a Blackadder the Third quote around here somewhere]. It'd be environmentally friendly foraging - same with Canada Geese!


Ahem.


Yeah, ok. I'm stopping now.

Yarner will come along with pretty pictures of things in proper focus [so fungi, then..] at some point in the near future, but right now I have to


Be Seeing You..




[[*From a distance in front, usually... ;) ]]