18 May, 2014

You Look Like A Hedgerow

Thus spake Sister, amusing me perhaps more than it should have.

The major piece of news since last I wittered is of course my sudden yet inevitable dip of the Terek Sand down in cornywall yesterday..

[The Crane after I'd left and the two drake Garganey today are just rubbing salt, the bastards]

I could have gone on Friday afternoon. I'd got in from work, fired this thing up, waited for the hamsters to get up to speed [oh how I miss my 50 meg fibre optics...] and.. !!!!!
However, there was a Family Dinner that evening. This would be starring roast pig [and had surprise scream and cream for pudding!] - definitely not to be missed. Also the small but definitely not unimportant detail of not putting birds before family. So I decided I couldn't be sure to be back and well, it was it's second day, so it was likely hanging around, right? Ah.. sweet sweet hubris.

Of course, if news had been put out when it was found, instead of halfway through the next day, then I could have twitched it straight from work and got a double win. But that's hardly a new problem, is it?

Anyway. It was lovely to be back at Walmsley*, after far too long an absence. I've kept wanting to go, but I've been trying to be good, [and petrol costs a frickin' fortune..] so it's just slipped. The place is like Bowling Green, only with more habitat [and usually fewer waders] and a better hide. Well, a higher hide anyway! Like Bowling Green, but more so also stands with the way there's always something interesting there. The TS may have done a Friday Night Special, but a couple of Wood Sands appeared from amongst the swords - after quite a few of the [not very large**] crowd had given up - and looked stunningly spangly in the sunshine.
It was also nice to run across a few familiar faces from out west, not least the warden himself - one of the nicest blokes around [unless you're fond of setting your dogs loose on the birds..] - and a couple of chaps from the Plimoth Posse  ;)

Speaking of them, they also ran across something else. Hearing about it, I went a looking and either saw it or another. What was it?

Not a bird, but a very welcome consolation was this sunbather, lurking in the grass...

Relaxed May Hare

After I'd given it 4 hours [with the amount of cover available, I reckoned it was possible the Terek was just being elusive - and while some have 'trouble concentrating' after an hour looking with optics, I am made of slightly sterner stuff ;) ] I decided to make a move. The temptation to head down to say Carn Brea and look for kites was strong, but I had things that needed doing, so I settled for heading back via a meandering path with several stops to scan for raptors.

The haze didn't help, it's true, but in the end I managed to find a whole heap of Buzzards, a distant but mobbed by Commons so unmistakeable Honey Buzzard, and a single K...estrel. Drat but not double drat, as HBs don't grow on trees [no, they grow on bees. Thankyou folks, I'll be here all week], though unfortunately it was over the border so not on the Devon yearlist. A few Swifts were moving about as well - though all the Common kind and yes they came close enough to grill - and Ravens [being mobbed by Crows] completed the high level line up.

Lower down, I'd had afternoon coffee on the edge of t'Moor and on my climb up to my voewpoint, I passed many of these, growing in a mire;

Teeny bog flower sp.

Also of the botanical.. the Bluebells are out like nobodies' business! The Moor slope ones were an amazing blaze of colour, and the woodland ones were still going strong, too. Here's a wee taste;

Meadow Bluebells, with Hawthorn and Gorse
Dartmoor fringe.

Apart from yet another horrific dip - it's starting to stop being funny, now... - it was a lovely if very hot day.

[[*I suppose for the sake of anyone daft enough to read this blog and then try to follow my lead, I should state for the record that most of the reserve is private - CBWPS members only - with only one hide open to the public, and that accessed off a footpath. Also, the views from there aren't exactly ideal. Parking is incredibly limited and you have to play frogger with busy traffic and a bridge.  The wonderful tower hide is kept locked, with keys for members who apply for them. Yes I am and yes I do, btw. The rules are relaxed and in-field parking provided when rarities are in town,- such as yesterday - for a donation, at the Warden and the local farmer's discretion.]]
[[**Now, I was expecting a lot of people to turn up - after all, this is a proper rarity and a major one in the SW; '96 for Devon, '61 for Cornwall! - but there were less than 30 all the time I was there, and that's total, not present at one time!]]

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