27 May, 2014

Red Wunz Go Fasta

It is one of the Laws Of Reality that anything with even a bit of red on it goes faster. This is one of those irritating problems as far as scientists are concerned; as disproving it* comes up against various issues of quantum physics - the whole observer thing - and so it is generally ignored for the peace of mind of all concerned.

What has this nonsense to do with the price of fish?

I'll get to that.

I spent a lot of the weekend doing boring things, enlivened only by bursts of kitchen mad science - usually entertaining to watch, sometimes safe to eat - and the odd scramble for bins as something flew past a window. I did manage to make some time on Sunday evening to get down to the Nose for an hour's seawatching. I even dragged the Big Scope along [oh, it was much easier when I had to drive to bring it...]

Said hour - with the wind brisk in the SSE and less chop than earlier in the day - gave 39 Manxies, 16 Gannet, 27 Kittiwake, and 9 Fulmar, plus a lone [and very very low] Stormie. The latter took sea-skimming to a whole new level, though with the sun and all the hungry gull chicks, I don't blame it..!
Before the hour I gave the Ore Stone a scan - nice light being helpful - and totalled 336 Guillemots [including chicks] and no Razorbills. There were birds arriving back through my watch, so said Razorbills might be among them [I have seen them going onto the ledges this year, even this month, after all], but the arrival of some stone-lobbing chavs made me decide to cut things short.

They weren't lobbing stones at me, they just didn't look too hard where they were throwing them, and to my pleasant shock they did apologise, at least when they realised that I was there and knew what they'd done. Even so, sunny BH weekends and seawatching.. maybe not such a good idea.
Stones falling from the sky aren't new, unfortunately; I've had it at the Nose before - mostly people chucking without thinking what's downrange - and at Berry Head - from the clifftop, seemingly with more intent - though it isn't common, I am glad to say.

Yesterday was another matter - time to get out and have some fun!
I went looking for Marsh Fritillaries at what I thought was a good site for them - unfortunately not, as I found not a sniff, though the habitat was excellent [if a bit fragmentary]. I did find someone from Butterfly Conservation - also looking for them - so maybe not such a bad idea. Note to self; just because there's lots of signs and things saying 'These are here!', doesn't mean they have any bearing on reality..

I was at Fernworthy; because it rocks and finding a new butterfly there, especially one as pretty as Marsh Frit, would be just brilliant.

Oh well. It was a lot sunnier and warmer than forecast, with lots of teneral damselflies on the wing - mostly Azures, of course - but the only butterflies were GV Whites. The birds were better, with lots of warblers in song - four flavours - and a Cuckoo vocal around Thornworthy Tor. Redstart, Tripit, Mistle Thrush and Siskin were all present and correct, and my first Devon Spot Fly of the year almost sat and posed on a wire fence [little git]. Up above, a party of Swifts and the odd Swallow passed over.

Having spent the morning and into early afternoon on the wild butterfly chase, I mooched about the plantation for a while before striking out onto t'Moor - ending up sat atop Sittaford Tor surveying the landscape for any passing kites / storks / Bee-eaters / hallucinations.


Oh well, it is always a treat to be at Fernworthy;

Very Blue Bells

First Orchid of the year - Spotted

And finally...  Yesterday evening, 16 minutes past 8, I was sat losing patience with Springwatch [why do I keep giving it another go?] when movement caught the corner of my eye. I turn my head and out the patio I see an incoming raptor, head-on and flapping hard; falcon! Then it screams past the windows at eye level, banking to turn as it does. Heavy streaking! Red goolies! HOBBY!! Holy shit that was fast...
Type does not in any way convey the speed of this bird. The local Swifts go past my windows and this was faster, not diving but flying slightly up, too - hell, it was probably after them!

Wow.   Just, just wow....

You know, I think I might enjoy it here.

[[*Good scientists attempt to disprove things; if they can't prove something's wrong, it might be correct.]]

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