27 January, 2015

A Very Overdue Edited Catchup Post

Delays in posting, lack of content, blah blah blah...

Friday week I went over to Powderham Bend for the SnowBunt, and deliberately didn't take its picture [as it was being booted around by tactless would-be photographers quite enough already]. It rewarded my sitting quietly and just looking at it by wandering right up to me. Wow. I like SnowBunts.

I also had a look at all the birds on the Exe/Clyst mud - 631 Avocets stand out, along with about as many of the Brents rotating through a river bath.

Much fun also here, with a look out of my kitchen window rewarded by not just a nice male Blackcap in the tree opposite, but a frickin' female [yes, seen that well] Firecrest! I ran for my phone, but when I got back, only the Blackcap remained [oh what a shock..]. Still, he sort of posed for me;

Male Blackcap,
phonebinned through double glazing, at an angle
[I'm amazed it's identifiable!]

The weekend was taken up by family business - Sister has had a ridiculously cute daughter and we all gathered to coo over her. In Wales. Yes, she's moved even further away.

Oh well, two mitigating words... Red Kites. With Sister the Even Younger doing the driving, I got to have a good count; 73 on the way out and 91 on the way back. Not bad considering we didn't stop! [I didn't beg. Much.] We also took a little trip to the seaside while we were there, to the scenic if soggy Aberystwyth;

Yes, it is raining.

Wales means mountains, so here you go;

Pen y farthing 
[taken from a moving Sistermobile]

Middle of the week, I got down to the Harbour and had a quick look there and about the northern half of the Bay. Only 5 Purple Sand and 4 Turnstone [plus a Rockit] on the Real Living Coast, with 2 BN Grebe close off Torre Abbey/Corbyn's Head, and this sea monster off the Harbour mouth;

Grey Seal

Friday I battered the patch for Blackstart and failed miserably, but was consoled by 4 flavours of grebe in the Bay. One of which came ridiculously close to Thatcher Point and stayed there long enough for me to a) bomb 'round, and b) get this awful shot;

Red-necked Grebe
One of those 'honest' shots..

For Saturday I had a Plan. I went to [A Site In Devon] in the hope of a roosting Hen Harrier, SEO, or even both.

I failed.

Drat. But a surprise flypast Red Grouse and finally getting Tawny Owl made up a bit for standing around in the cold. And the sunset was rather nice too. So were the stars. Oh well, not giving up.

Ahem, where was I? Oh yes, Sunday.

News of a 1w Glonk hanging around Brixham Harbour had me scurrying over, but when I arrived I found no sign of it or anyone else..??? I did find a friendly trawlerman, who told me that a load of 'chaps like you' had been around looking at something, but had all gone off at 9:30. Ah.

I have since been assured that while the viewers departed together, the bird had remained on site, seemingly very happy where it was sat.

Birds, eh? They do have this irritating habit of flying off when you look away.

[That being said, and in no spirit of criticism to my fellows, I do have a thought; when divulging valuable gen, in person or online, it may be a good idea to not leave out small but vital details such as the time of the sighting not being the same as the time of the posting. Might help.]

I hung around until it was too dark to see, as various day boats came in with many gulls in tow, but no Glonk. Not even a Med Gull. The horde of Turnstones [at least 50 of the little darlings] were some entertainment, as were at least 3 Grey Seals, but otherwise it was mostly very standard fare. I didn't even see a grebe, let alone a diver!
I did run into a certain [Famous Somerset Birder], who was equally vexed to discover the minor fault in the gen, but hey, that's birding.

Feeling somewhat disappointed, I headed home and attempted to cheer myself up by making some currant and walnut flapjacks. [Which turned out very yummy indeed, though probably about 10,000 calories a go... :D ]

This week, the sight [albeit a brief one] of 3 Blackcaps [2m 1f] in the kitchen tree was pleasant. One of the males is there every day, checking the new twigs for aphids. No further sign of the Firecrest, [Not entirely surprising, what with that Blackcap on guard..] but today a nice mixed tit band came by and were only lightly bothered by the Blackcap.

Time for a splash of Summer! [Yes, he had a film developed..]

Male Four-spotted Chaser,
 Stover 2014

Yes, one actually sat still at all long enough for me to draw a bead on it. Wonders never ceased.
Don't worry, no more this time [though my old posts have had some back dating, if you're very bored curious].

Ho hum, 'arctic blast', 'arctic blast', will you give us some nice gulls? And a sexy sea duck or something?

[Whisper it] Even a Gyr?


Pretty please?

With a cherry on top?

Be Seeing You.

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