31 December, 2014

Winter Wonderland, Now With Added Wonder

Minus snow, but with snowballs.

I may have mentioned before that I rather like Fur Tor. Try to get there at least once a year, preferably more. Well, with the things that have been happening, this year has been a stretch. Fortunately, on Monday I got up there! [Just in time!]

In case you're wondering, here it is;

Fur Tor, from the NW

'Twas pretty cold - got down to -4° at Mor'n'ampster on the way - and up on't Moor, while not that cold [a balmy -2° at Postbridge, more like 2° up in the sunshine], the NW wind did its best to get to brass monkeys.

Still, the sun shone, what few birds about.. didn't really sing, but hey there were the ones here and there, so at least there was occasionally something to look at besides the spectacular view. Which, for the morning at least, I had all to myself! Ah, such solitude, it fair took the breath away [oh wait, that would be steep icy hills in't frickin' cold..]. The Moor had been very wet, with two hard freezes hitting all still water with ice to a depth of up to an inch. This included all the runoff, which became sheets of ice all over the place. Deeper water [and mud...] stayed liquid beneath, though, making the going rather interesting; every time you put your foot down, you weren't entirely sure if it would be solid ground, slippery ice, or ice that would break and dump you in water/gunk of an unknown depth...

Birds were few and far between - generally being far too sensible to be up there in that sort of weather, but a Jack Snipe and a Merlin [get and indeed in!] were among the exceptions.

Ah, but it were glorious up there!!

Fur Tor In Winter

Looking north from the shelter of a nice rock;
Great Links Tor, Amicombe Hill, The Wilhay and Yes Tor

Moon over the East Dart,
seen from the waterfall

Contrary to what I read in a paper recently, 
this is what you call a waterfall - see, the water is falling*

Closer to home, I managed a big Patch patrol on Saturday, with a very creditable 14+ Purple Sands on Haldon Pier the highlight [with 112 BHGs and no RBGs loafing off Torre Abbey, btw...]. Sunday was notable for 6 [yes, 6!!] Blackcaps in 9 houses worth of road, while today I could only manage 3 males in one tree - though that was on the property :)

Other than that, I've been busy with other things.. It's tragic, really it is.

A Top Ten is in the works, as is the New Calendar Year's Little Project.

I'm hoping for more frequent posting next year, really I am.

Frickin' Kentish wouldn't go amiss, either...

[[*Apologies for the gratuitous sarcasm, but some 'journalists' need a good clip 'round the ear...]]

26 December, 2014

He's Back, Must Be Bonxing Day

Yes, at long last I am back.

Woo and indeed hoo.

Ah, so much time, so little fun to report on... Well, it is that time of the year, isn't it?

So, this month I have mostly been working and when not I've been doing Important Things, sometimes involving my Beast of an oven, but mostly the extraction of money. Joy.

The big day went well for all concerned, so that was good. I even got a little birding in - with a mighty 4 GC Grebes off Blackball!! Wow.

Today I even got to the Nose to do a little sitting in the rain seawatching, which after much to do with auks, Gannets, different hues of Fulmar, and assorted gulls, eventually paid off with a Big Bad Bonxie. As it is Bonxing Day, that was only right and proper. And no, not a single grebe or diver did I see [I'm sure they were all off Broadsands].

Cut back to the weekend, and while up on Haldon looking at trees, I twice met a flock of circa 15 Crossbills, which was a very pleasant way to be distracted.

The Solstice saw me at the Nose, where aside from a lovely adult Med Gull, the main attraction was this cracking male Eider, tarting about by the Lead Stone;


As you can see, he got up out of the water, but then felt a little bashful..

The week before, a GND was in the same area [though staying in the water], while 14 C Scoter and what was probably a BTD flew past south.

Finally... At least 4 Blackcaps in the immediate neighbourhood [seemingly spending most of their time saying rude things about each others' Mums..] and Great Tits seem to have found my feeders [the colder weather induced me to put the nibbles out again. Now it is raining. Hmm.]

Be Seeing You.

03 December, 2014

Something From The Weekend

Delays delays delays...

It's that time of year again, and to make things even more fun, even more problems than usual are colliding. Ah, sweet joy.

But anyway, I have made a brief window to tell of the weekend, so I'd better get on with it...

On Saturday I had to be up Exeter way, so I made a window to drop by Bowling Green [because there are limits]. This was for lunch in the hide - alas I got there too late for the tide, but I did get to see circa 500 Avocets, albeit briefly. The Brents [about 1100 of them - not bad!] came past in formation, too, so that was great. I really like Brents. It was thus less about waders than is often the case - with 3 Pintail, 3 Pochard and 3 Gadwall [plus no less than 10 Greylags of uncertain and probably shifty origin] notable. There were still a fair few Blackwits feeding in the wet paddock, and at least 25 Snipe lurking on the far side of the water [that low afternoon sun was quite handy]

I'm still not sure I approve of the hide - I mean, what's the point in making it bigger, with a better aspect and better access, when you just keep a locked door in the way??


Sunday morning at the Nose saw a slightly unexpected seawatch! Not much at all was passing, but the Harbour Porps were on fine form - with at least 5 active fairly close in. 2 Guilles went north, 7 Razorbills, 2 Kitts, and 2 RTDs went south. 8 Gannets were milling about well offshore, but most interesting bird was a frustratingly brief Slav Grebe - driven off by idiots in powerboats - which was my first Patch grebe of the winter. I'm hoping it's a sign of things to come; back in the day, the small wintering flock of Slavs was something I cherished.

After dark, I went for another owl prowl around the Warberries and Lincombes, with a couple of female Tawnies calling [to each other? - "Sod off!"] the only noteworthy occurrence.

Finally.. Advance notice that service may be slightly interrupted by the Time Of Year. Never mind not having time to post, I may not have time to bird........ ::Is aghast::

Oh, the humanity..