07 May, 2013

Out For A Wander

What to do on a sunny Sunday, with light winds, and no rain having fallen for a while?

Fur Tor!!!

After many delays - mostly due to inconvenient weather - the Folks were finally up for a good yomp on't Moor [Little Black Dog is always up for it, of course..]. The weather held - sunshine, fluffy clouds and a cool breeze were pretty much perfect conditions, especially with it being so dry up there. Very dry, for may - it looks like winter still, all tan dead grass.  I hope the TenTors walkers take more care with their sodding fires on the weekend; we've already had one big burn and that is one too many.. :(

But to get back to it... I've gone on about our favourite walk more than once, so I won't go over the route again, suffice to say that we had a great day, with far fewer people up there than you'd expect for a sunny bank holiday weekend! We heard 2 Cuckoos and saw 11 Wheatears but not one Stonechat; which is odd to say the least. Swallows were passing north all day and best of all an adult Hobby took a detour in it's migration to go after a Small Tortoiseshell! The butterfly was no easy mark, showing amazing timing as it got out of the falcon's way again and again. But the Hobby didn't give up and finally got it's prize on attempt number 8! Sweet, very sweet..  :)

On the ground, we saw a couple of Lizard!s and a very surprised Vole - which was hiding in a tussock right in the middle of a well-used path on open ground!?! Fortunately, there weren't the hordes of stock that you can sometimes meet up there in summer, and aside from one hillside liberally scattered with sheep, Mum's Little Black Terror was reasonably well-behaved. Well, apart from the ball - which she found in a stream early on - that she decided to destroy on the way back, so muggins got a nice pocket full of dog-slobbered sorbo bits. Joy.

Anyway... To round off the day, the clear night saw me doing some stargazing. I don't say 'astronomy', as I am very aware of how amateur I am, by the way. I decided to get the Big Scope on a certain comet... Cue the Operatic Chorus: "Miiiiiistaaake"
It took a long long time to find PanSTARRS and it was rather disappointing when I did. Oh well. Saturn was much better. I like Saturn. Never fails to provoke sheer awe....

All that left me needing some sleep, so it wasn't until far too late that I got to the Nose the next morning. There was mistyfog and an easterly, which might mean Something Good. If it did, said Thing had already buggered off into the North Side by the time I got there. The only grounded migrants were 2 Whimbrel, there wasn't even a Wheatear, and the only ones in the air were the steady passage of Swallows [plus one Swift] low overhead. It was thick enough to hide the Ore Stone at times, but only the local auks were moving about.. I stayed awhile, scanning through the little groups, hoping for a Red-rump, but of course this was not to be.

Heading back, the rest of the Patch proved equally barren of anything noteworthy. C'est la vivre.

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