07 October, 2011

WARNING: This Post May Seriously Damage Your Health

Government Health Warning
This post contains something so sickeningly cute and adorable that it may cause serious mental damage / strokes / haemorrhaging from eyes, ears, and⁄or nose / scrofula / auto-optic destruction / compulsive vomiting / light nasal itching. For your own safety, you are advised not to read it.

Seriously. Stop right now.

Ok, you were warned....

So, back to the night shift at work. :) Its so much nicer only having to turn up 4 days a week, and thus having Fridays to do stuff in [even if, like today, it's mostly been dog-sitting]. Down side is the lack of a chance to get birds on the Work List [though I'm hopeful for a nice owl, maybe?], up side is being home first thing and so getting the chance to get some audiomig [or even vismig, ha ha ha...]. Thus it was that Tuesday morning I was able to add Linnet to my Garden List! :D

This morning, taking advantage of the longer nights, I was able to get home, have something to eat, grab the Big Scope and get down to the Nose for sunrise [well, it would have been sunrise if it wasn't cloudy...]. As last night started starry, I had a little [only a little with the wind] hope of some migrants.

I got a shock - I was the only one there! This just doesn't happen. I got nigh half an hour all to myself before the first fishermen came stomping down, and more than an hour before the first dog walker. What's going on?!? It was me and the Sheep of Doom, plus what I could find lurking in the bushes...

But before that, overhead passage! Swallows and a few House Martins were coming in/off from the SE [?], but a steady movement of passerines were heading south, mostly hidden in the cloud, but their calls came down nicely. Green, Gold, Bull, and Chaffinches, Linnets, Mipits, but best of all... at least 2 Crossbill! Patch Tick! Rather overdue, but as there's no coniferous woodland big enough to attract them here, fly-overs were always going to be the only way to get them and I'd never been lucky. The Top Dell was quiet [well, apart from Robins and Wrens and Great Tits, so not really that quiet], as was the South Side, the Upper Slope, the Upper Plateau, the North Side and most of the Lower Slope [aside from a well-marked Chiff, which was briefly interesting]. The wind was blowing up the Bottom Dell, so I turned my attention to the sea, getting a score or so of Gannets and the welcome Patch Year Tick of a female Goosander flying past south..

I was counting Oyks [23] from the path roughly between The Alcove and The Ledge when I noticed something small flying down along the water's edge - didn't look right for a Rockit. Holy Shit! Kingfisher!!!!!!!!! It was playing that 'fishin' in the surf' game they sometimes do at Dawlish and I got the scope on it - lovely male. Crippling views were had and I was a happy birder indeed - another Patch Tick! Eventually he moved on and so did I, to wonder what that white thing was on the rocks by Sandy Point... Oh deary me, it was a Grey Seal pup. All white fur and ickle fuzzy flippers, the pup was crashed out, fast asleep, on its back. Now and again it would wave a flipper, like a dog dreaming of chasing cats... Oh, the cuteness of this thing does not transfer to type, and you should be very very grateful. At one point it woke up, had a look around, then went back to sleep. If Hallmark could have photo'd that look, they'd achieve World Domination in a fortnight...

It was the Wheatears that saved me. Three of them. I like Wheatears, no in fact I love them. They saved me from that horror, if I hadn't been distracted I'd still be stood there going "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....................................."

Climbing back up the Lower Slope, I detoured to avoid following a dog walker and found a nice band of mostly Blue Tits and Goldcrests, with no less than 5 Blackcaps tagging along. Also what looked very like a Y-B Warbler, {or at least something Goldcrest-sized with two yellow stripes on its head}, but it was too brief to clinch and the group moved off into the North Side [where you can't get at them] and didn't come back. Drat. At the Entrance Bushes, a band of LTTs and Goldcrests had a Firecrest with them, but it wasn't much consolation. And they buggered off into the North Side too, the gits.

Still, even with yet another frustrating drop, it was a glorious bit of birding

PYL: 81%

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