25 September, 2016


Breaking news peoples; Wryneck at Hope's Nose.

First found at 0750 this morning by a brave seawatcher, then refound by yours truly*. I even have pictures!!!

Awful pictures, due to the bar steward hiding on the far side of an Ash. I can't blame it, as it was almost as surprised as me at our meeting - you don't often find any bird less bold than a Robin hanging out on what is the main drag at the Nose on a sunny Sunday, after all.

[It's facing right..]

Can't see it? Let me blast it for you [if you could see it, you might want shades to view this..];

"Wait, he's shooting... he can see me?!?"

After gathering itself, it moved even further away. My autofocus didn't approve, naturally, but here's a couple more. 

Now you see it...

.. Now you don't.

About 20 minutes later, it popped up around the Mound bushes, where it showed a couple of times [in typical buggering off fashion], briefly posed for three fortunates [including the finder, who was back with a camera, having got a phone video of it previously!] at the bottom of the Second Slope, before heading into the bushes therein and vanishing more thoroughly.

Also on site were.. Well, not a lot. A few Blackcaps and Chiffs, with a scattering of finches over and a passing Grey Heron. Plus residents such as;

You may well have noted the photobombing Jaspers. They're everywhere...

Be Seeing You..

[[*It was sunning itself in the bench gap by the Rock Path. Thus it was either, a) crying out to be found, or b) not the smartest chick in the nest...]]

24 September, 2016

Worth The Wait

After an interesting week's stress, I was able to make my way over to Jennycliff yesterday and have a look at that Ickle Shrike.

The journey was not simple, with circumstances conspiring to make things as delayed and vexing as they could [I love unannounced closed roads without detours..], but in the end..

Yup, yet more LGS pics!

Spot The Shrike

It could be elusive.

Though not exactly cryptic in plumage..

.. It was very mobile.

But also..

It was




Though always..

.. On the lookout for dinner [which often flew right past i-SNAP!]

What a stunner of a bird!

There were a few Chiffs in the bushes, and a Yellow Wag flew over.. As did this character;

Nice prim moult, there

The site itself had some handy facilities, with.. Reasonable views?

Towards Staddon and the sea

Towards.. oh you know where that is

With car park, loos, and cafe right there, a thought occurred;

All you'd need would be a questar...

Today I was good and worked.

There may also have been some baking.. ;)

She was clearly pleased, as a flock of assorted passerines passed by outside my window as I fought dough in mortal combat [the gingerbread put up a fair fight, I can tell you..]

Be Seeing You..

20 September, 2016

Birding With The Folks

This actually happened on Sunday, after we'd encountered a Wryneck at Soar [it was - presumably - after ants among the low gorse on the Warren and duly vanished towards Starehole]. An actual Wryneck sweep was freely and knowingly entered into [especially by a certain LBD, who is always keen to look for things]. While this was fruitless - though what was likely the same bird was later independently found in Starehole - it was great to be doing it. :)

We did see a few things which were more co-operative for my attempts at photography..


Small Copper

And some things which would have been if my autofocus had not decided to start misbehaving most frustratingly;

Soaring Sprawk
plus Swallows mobbing it!

One of 2 Kestrels

Time for some scenery;

On The Warren, looking towards Burgh Island*

Lunch watching over Starehole
[maybe not all looking for the same things..]

Prawle from Sharp Tor

Bolt Head

Coffee stop watching over upper Starehole

The cleared viewpoint up on Sharp Tor is a marked improvement from its old overgrown state [and maybe a nice diversion to keep many grockles out of Starehole..::cough::], with great views from up there [as you might guess from my pics].

We looped around a bit to have another go for the Wryneck, but evidently it went right down Starehole [though we did see the chap who photo'd it!].

Birdwise it was very busy, with some big flocks of hirundines, Skylarks, and Linnets notable. Wheatears were plentiful up on the Warren, and there were Spot Flies and Whinchats in Starehole. Unfortunately, we were looking the wrong way at 1300 and so missed the [theoretically visible from where we were] Osprey! :(

Warblers were thinner on the ground, with a few Chiffs, and singles of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. Several groups of Goldfinches were moving, as were Mipits, and at least one White Wagtail - seen in Starehole [a juv] - among the alba wags. Most notable flyover was a Tree Pipit [heard only, despite seeming to be overhead!]

At least 3 Buzzards - soaring together over East Soar at one point - were about as well as the Sprawk [seen twice] and 2 Kestrels.

Also vast numbers of whites - mostly Small - up on The Warren, with a hummingbird hawkmoth - like moth and a skipper sp. which skipped away before I could even get my camera on let alone focused.. Many Small Copper and Red Admiral around Bolt Head, but no blues of any kind seen.

Up on Sharp Tor were a few of these;


It's been a while since we'd been over there [as opposed to me swanning around after birds on my tod] and aside from a few unfortunate sign and gate related issues [ahem] we had a fair old time. Yes, it would have been better if that dratted Wryneck had popped up on top of a bush and posed for the Folks [and my camera..], or if the Osprey had drifted overhead, or if we'd gone to Jennycliff...

Hanging On The Weekend...

[[*If only I'd had a bigger lens. A much bigger lens...]]

17 September, 2016

Various Tits

To anyone following mis-directed searches;   Oops.?

So I had a wander about Yarner yesterday afternoon. I took my little toy camera and had a go at, yes you guessed it, photographing the various small birds which paused for enough microseconds to try..

I say try, as most attempts ended horribly, but I got at least one 'theoretically identifiable' of each of the 5 flavours, plus a few other things coming to the feeders.

On with the horrorshow;






Yup, lots of pants shots of tits..

[Ok, ok, I'm stopping...]




Also, and somewhat easier to shoot were these;


Then I sat for a while at a handy prepared viewpoint and watched to see what might be passing. Not the ideal vismig point, true, but it was blowing a bit of a hoolie and the seat in question was beautifully sheltered. The view wasn't that bad, either;

Movement not so good, with a few Swallows pretty much it. One of them did have a nice 'red' rump and spread forked tail - which perked me up no end I can tell you - but even before I saw the underside, the lack of collar was an issue. Underneath was entirely standard Swallow; dark chin/throat, pale vent/undertail etc. So a sneaky SxHM [or just got hit by a paintball? ;) ]

More exciting was shortly after I got home, when a juv female Sprawk came zooming past my kitchen window, and zipped into a tree about 1/3 up the canopy. A second or so later maybe 8 small birds exploded out of the top of said canopy like a terrified firework!

Speaking of small birds, last weekend, this little blighter [and a sibling] were on my balcony;

"Feeeed me?"

"Feeeed meee!!!!"

"Feeeeed m-NOMNOMNOM!!"

Delayed second [say after a failure] or even third brood???

No wonder they're getting through so much seed...


Be Seeing You..

[[*Clearly unimpressed with potential fame..]]

15 September, 2016

Another Yomp

Right, after all that rapid posting, I've left it a bit before finishing the fun with Sunday's tale.

Exercise was needed and t' Moor is a great place for a wander, so I zipped over to Shipley Bridge and toddled up the old tramway. The weather was looking as if it intended misbehaviour, so I stopped early at the Sub and watched it while I stuffed my face.

View From The Sub
Looking a bit iffy..

Messing with the zoom, you can see what a difference a lunch made;

North Hessary and Great Mis
[plus sideways dizzle]

And in sunshine!
[Ok, not the top of Great Mis, but brooding is what it does..]

The more observant of you may have noticed a slight angle change there, as I had toddled on to the White Barrow before I noticed the sunny distants and thought 'ooh, that's a shot'.. Oh well.

Yes, the weather clearly realised that while I hadn't taken all my waterproofs, I was quite willing to not get soaked, so it might as well just be sunny at me. Which it did.

Here's more scenery;

Three Barrows

Then right hand down a bit and to this little beauty;

The Avon Clapper Bridge

Then up the hill to the Heap of Sinners, and more views;

Before down and up the other side to yet another viewpoint, a quick detour for Wheatears;


And then yet another viewpoint, where I sat in one of my favourite spots for a while and was treated to assorted raptors! None very photogenic, alas, which is a shame, as seeing a Hobby mob a Peregrine, and a Kestrel get mobbed by House Martins - who also had a go at a poor innocent Buzzard who happened to be passing - was well worth the day in themselves.

The view from

A few flyovers included Yellow and alba Wagtails and my first Golden Plover of the Autumn.

Heading back around to the Avon, I checked the reservoir [out of duty not hope, being utterly treeless and steep-sided it has a waterbird list in single digits..] and was surprised to find not only this;

Itsa Little Grebe

But also this;


Down in the semi-sheltered valley [did I mention it was blowing one?] there were Golden-ringed and Migrant Hawker Dragonflies, at least one Whinchat, and a scattering of Chiffs plus a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler.

I had a good yomp, saw more birds and got less rained on than I expected, and generally didn't do too badly at all.

The only real downer being having to drag up for work the next day.. [Ah, but what can you do?]

Firstly, I am aware I have threatened promised and not yet delivered. It will come. Not sure when, but it will, and there will be horribly cute baby pics too as compensation.

Secondly, apparently my photos are very bright and overexposed-looking. I think this is due to my monitor, which I have suspected of playing up [as all my pics look far darker on here than on the back of my camera]. Thus, all pics from now on will not be messed with, so maybe they'll look better for you [even if I can't decipher them myself..].

Be Seeing You..