28 July, 2016

Local News

Very local..

First up, looks like some fledging Swifts hereabouts;

The rare Blurred Swift
Apus blobbi

Count by photo was attempted, but the dratted autofocus threw a hissyfit...

In less welcome news [yes, even than a misbehaving camera..], I have been vexed by this visitor;

Pink Pigeon

Your screen is not playing up, this one's in the pink..

Also in my [allegedly pigeon-protected] green birdbath;

Diving through cage and netting...

Its a racer, somewhat astray, and this is what I can get of the rings;

The antigravity ray worked at last!!

I got all tha bling, innit?

To translate; GB 16 and N6767

If anyone owns this, will they please come scatter some seed by a big net or something? Cheers.

That is all.

Be Seeing You..

26 July, 2016

Birding 24/7

Nope, couldn't resist it..

So, with a weakish-looking front forecast for early afternoon seeming to be the only remaining chance for a seawatch in July, I decided to take it.

It didn't look very promising, especially for the Nose, and as I had to be up early the next day, a trip to 'gwarra wasn't really viable. [Despite all the frickin' Cory's that have been flying around there...]

So I went to Prawle. Default setting and all that. It seemed the most likely place to get something big and sheary.

Oh, stop sniggering...

I found an overcast with not much wind [natch] and eventually some mizzley mist which came and went and worked up to rain. Well, sort of. Then it cleared a bit, the mist came back a bit, it cleared some more... you get the idea. The wind did pick up a bit, too

Ok, weather report over.

I also found, as well as a usual assortment of land types, that my favourite sheltered spot was slightly occupied! No less than TM was already in situ and counting.. lots of nice things! With hopes raised, I joined him and so it began.

There were Manxies.

How many Manxies can you see?
Same group, few seconds later.

Lots of Manxies. Tony had had 'about a thousand an hour', so I figured, what with other things maybe passing and visibility threatening to get interesting, that clicking every one would be risking missing said other things [[seriously, stop sniggering]]. I made timed counts to get rates instead.
How did it go? From about 700 in the [late] morning, the rate climbed to just shy 1000, before peaking at 1300 with the front. Then the fog closed vis down so much that nothing meaningful could be made. After things cleared, passage tailed off quickly, with ~550 at 1600 and 160 at 1700.

Very little else was about. I saw 3 auks... Two of them were Puffins! A scattering of Gannets picked up as the day went on, main passage also west, but many going east;

Gannets in a V, whatever next..
[And Spot The Manxie]

A few Fulmars and a single C Scoter flock, 2 Med Gulls, a lone Razorbill [the other auk!], a Swift, and a Little Egret also passed.

But wait, what about the other shears?  6 Balearics, including 2 in a raft of 15 or so Manx, was the first vaguely decent count this year. Even better were 2 Sooties! Both in close, both flapping in a very un-Sooty-like manner [which I'd not seen since the Day Of The Sooties at BH, and that was a little while ago..]. They passed at 1223 and 1526. Of interest, the latter was notably small, appearing of more Balearic size compared to the Manxies it was with [also, I think in tail moult, which altered the silhouette].

Under the sea, we were treated to a pod of at least 6 Common Dolphin, including a calf, which breached and porpoised quite merrily. Though not for long, as alas, soon we had other company...

Horde of ToJ's....

I did try not to think uncharitable thoughts about the viability of trained GW Sharks, really I did...

Time for another picture;

Compare to my last visit...

In other news, here's a couple of shots from the Nose.

Not as camouflaged as you think you are..
Meadow Brown

Action shot!
Mrs Kestrel

And then there were three.........

And that's that.

I reckon those Great Big Bar Stewards went straight south from Start, btw. At least, that's what I'm telling myself....


Be Seeing You..

21 July, 2016

The Far Moor, Part 2; Below

So, having wandered over the toppest tops you can get this side of kinder scout [or ::whisper:: wales], I  changed tack dramatically; turning back towards the West Okie, dropping down into the Red-a-ven valley, and playing much more of a 'look down' than a 'look up' game.

But to look up,

Yes Tor looming in the background..

Nice proper little Deb'n valley  :)

The Red-a-ven is a SSSI [well, the lower bit is] for one of my favourite things;

Oooh, Carboniferous metasands....


Heh heh heh...

Mostly funny-looking grey and brown ones, too.. ;D

With intact structures and everything

Though some are quite 'pretty';

These are the stream bed, well, such bits that aren't waterfalls


Before I completely melt your poor eyes, there were other things to look at, such as;

Large Red Damselfly


Beautiful Demoiselle

And even;

Keeled Skimmer

I'm quite pleased with that one [you'd never guess...]

Unfortunately, Horseflies stopped play, so I moved on down to the main event, Meldon Aplite Quarries.
[Yup, more frickin' rocks...]

This site is justly famous in certain circles, and those who care will know, and those who don't won't want me burbling, so just skim the piccies;

The big one.
How big?

Handy devotees for scale

The higher level
[top right in first pic]

For fans of metamorphic minerals and interesting structural bits, tis well worth a looksee.
For all you vaguely normal people out there, despite my geoproclivities, it is a lovely little spot. There's even a Scheduled Monument!

With handy helpers for scale and to demonstrate route along top

[While a big bit of iron may not be to all tastes - even with the view from - it also has one of those carriage cafes next to it..]

Across the river, there's something a little more universally pretty;

A Pool Of Purest Green!
Mmmmh, limestone!

Another old quarry, somewhat damper.

From here it was a short if sharp climb back to the Res car park.

Yeah, so, lots of wandering about, even more pics, and Horseflies and bladdy bracken aside, a very successful trip.

One more picture, from closer to Home;


They've been knocking the sunflower seeds down nigh on 2" a day, the greedy blighters...

Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Be Seeing You..

19 July, 2016

The Far Moor, Part 1; Above

Saturday saw me going out for some fun up on t' Moor.

Way up on t' Moor.

I went around to Meldon Res and wandered right up onto the Roof Of The South. The weather was far too hot and humid, but the on and off overcast and frisky westerly wind made it bearable. Well, up on the tops, anyway..

Be warned, there are a lot of piccies;

So, off I trotted, taking the old favourite route up to the old favourite stopping spot in those there parts, Black Tor*

Black Tor

The clouds were scraping the high tops, but I was undaunted and so were quite a few others [but hey, weekend in July..]

From the tor;

What's that lurking far off to the south?

Fur Tor!

Closer to;

Black-a-tor Copse 
waaay down there in the West Okement valley

The wind was blowing well, so I didn't linger and pressed on past Fordsland's Ledge to the Wilhay itself.

High Wilhays
Looking as impressive as ever

It's a place to view from. Though not quite as bad as Ryder's Hill, it is true. And you can get out of the wind and sit down without getting your bum soggy, too.

Anyway.. I had lunch out of the wind and in the view, before heading on to this one;

Yes, that one..

Went there.

Wilhays from Yes
The one place where the optical illusion doesn't work

Onward progress was then interrupted by our action for the day, courtesy of Her Majesty's Finest;

On patrol...

Time for an ambush!

Instructor watches closely as they advance in turn 

OpFor having fun

Having set up suppressing fire, it's time to turn the tables

Two flank the enemy and unleash the Smoke Grenade of Doom

Before closing in

Earlier, a prior squad discuss their assault

It was great to watch - classic infantry action.

Getting back to the birds [or even on to the birds..], notable around anywhere with rocks were these guys;


After the show ended, I went on to West Mill Tor.

West Mill is a lovely tor, all made of good spots, and also partly made of felsite;


After a mooch about, thinking of stopping to skywatch for a bit, I decided to press on instead and, passing a tactical tea break-

Looking at me looking at them

-I headed on to the Red-a-ven valley, home of all sorts of interesting things!

And those things may even show up in part 2.. Coming soon to a blog near you.

Be Seeing You..

[[*One of them, anyway. Why there are so many Black, Sharp, and Hound Tors is one of those little things..]]

14 July, 2016

Gotcha! Well... Sort Of.

Yes, I threatened this, didn't I?

Aside from the fearsome rate at which the Greenfinches are getting through sunflower seeds, no real news to report [and let's face it, there's plenty of real real news to be going on with..]

Just some of these;


The autofocus was having fits, but I got one good one. [Well, I got one, anyway]

Grocklemobile annoying the anglers
at the Nose

You can just make out a couple of crab pot buoys they've gone over, too...

H&S strikes again...!

Oh dear.

Small White
[male, second brood]

The possibility of halfway legible insect shots now waits on the weather making its frickin' mind up..

Target practice

Ok not sharp, but recognisable, which is a first for flying Gannetry as far as I'm concerned!

That'll do for now [if goggle lets me publish this, anyway; there have been some sort of technical issues....]

I don't like Collared Pratincoles. That's twice now.

Be Seeing You..