28 August, 2013


In what seems to be becoming a tradition, I've just had the Red Arrows past overhead. Twice. :D

Today I've been for a little trip to that Patch of Patches, the Inspiration of It All...

The Backwater.

I don't get over there half as often as I'd like; the trip is never easy or quick, alas, and with the crippling extortion poverty tax blatant profiteering cost of petrol being what it is, my attempting to 'live frugally' makes it 'special occasions only'. But this was one :)

Small Red-eyed Damselflies had been found on the Borrow Pit [by Steve 'Superman' Waite, naturally], and the prospect of seeing them close enough for my paparazzi setup to have a chance was too good to miss. I usually look for them along the Exe Canal - best by the sewage works - but they're never close and it's always a bit exposed. Plus, you know, right by Exeter Sewage Works...

But I'll get there in a minute.

I arrived at Black Hole Marsh in time for the tide. It being midweek and not a particularly high one, I figured it shouldn't be too busy and started at the Island.

::Baptist Choir appear and sing:: "Miiiiiiiistaaaaaaaake!"

I'm not an antisocial person. Not really.
Yes, I do appreciate a bit of quiet time now and then, but I'm not obsessive about it. I didn't go expecting solitude, I even took my Bird Guide along in case I was asked for help*

Having made that small disclaimer, I must also say I am very much of a mind with another famous figure of The Backwater, certainly this morning at any rate.

People make noise, they can't help it. Noise increases exponentially with numbers, this too is inescapable. Cue the positive feedback loop...

I'm stopping the rant before it gets going.

If you were there, I'm not criticising [everyone was enjoying themselves and the birds weren't fleeing that quickly], I'm just saying that this was the reason I had a look around, took a couple of phoneshots, and left without even taking my rucksack off, let alone trying to sit down.

Cue dreadful phoneshots:

Stunning Little Stint.
It really seemed to be that bright. 

Female and male Ruff - right at the back, naturally.

Wader ID 101

The Tower was empty [for about 5 minutes..]. Birds far off but that's what Big Scopes are for. People came and went, I stayed a fair while; waiting for the sun to come out and the Wood Sand to appear from wherever it was hiding. It was lovely.  :)

Lots of variety on Black Hole; with plentiful and showy Common and Green Sands, a scattering of Snipe, and a sneaky LRP [right in by the causeway], plus 2 Greenshank and some nicely variable Dunlin to play with. Assorted gulls showed up on the river, [with only a lone Med to catch the eye among them], as did lone Turnstone and Whimbrel, and a couple of dinky sailboats?!? The Wood Sand never materialised, but I eventually caught all ten Curlew Sand out in view together - very satisfying and easily my highest total.

Some more time passed, I scoffed my lunch, then dragged myself down to Seaton Marsh. [Yes, on foot. With all my gear. What? It's barely 10 minutes if you stroll!]

I've never actually been to The Borrow Pit before. This is something I now regret, as it's amazing! The Backwater's Hidden Gem;

And these ain't the half of it ;)

Ok, yes it is next door to Seaton Sewage Works, but still - look at it! And there are benches!
Also shedloads of odonata, with Small Red-eyed Damsels on the floating weed you can see in the pics. I saw a joined pair plus at least 3 more males and got the proper camera out, so We Shall See..

Also Emperor, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter, Azure, Common Blue, and Blue-tailed Damselflies on site.

I gave the Hide a go, but apart from a couple of Oyks, nothing new was on offer.

I definitely need a Patch/Backwater teleporter.  ;)

[[*No matter how good the in-hide pictures are - and on The Backwater, they're very good - there's always at least one that isn't included, so having a book can help explanations enormously**]]
[[**Also to remind you.. ;) ]]

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