27 November, 2016

Patch Post

Well, I seem to be doing boring titles right now..

So, after losing this morning, this afternoon I toddled about the more sheltered fragments of the Patch's coast, looking for what I could find.


Overcast and a brisk NE

I suppose there should have been no surprise discovering that the scoter flock was, if anything further out in the swell....

This did not stop me - though again Sony's diabolical autofocus programmer tried - and this time there is no escape from the teeny blobs!


First angle;

With added Shags and Gannet

No, they're not spots on the lens

Second angle;

You weren't expecting them closer, were you?!?

The buoy shot..
[see, there is more than one shot's worth]

Riding the swell

Counting was, as you might guess, a 'bit tricky'. I'm going with 185+
Also in the near vicinity [I think I caught one but not at a definitive angle] were 5 large dark divers - all together - which looked awfully GNDish but not a hope of being sure. Further out were at least 5 Gannets - you may notice the odd one up there - and the odd Kittiwake, nothing sexier.

Ok, time for compensation, but first, a wake up;


Cue cuteness;

You just have to pick the right bit to stand on


"...like this"

Speaking of cute, I got around the the Real Living Coast and saw these;

Sandpipers Purple!


More active were;

One of five

Less co-operative - in fact, aided and abetted by my blimmin' camera exceedingly annoying - was my first proper grebe of the winter actually on-Patch and photoable and everything!

ID class!

Ok, you see a grebe on the sea, and know all 4 candidates are in the area, so... Which one is this?

"He's got a camera?!?"

It's down... it's up... here's a view;

"I'm outta here"

Now, both shots have enough, but if you're still going 'Huh', here's another one for you;

BNG baby!

The black and white fluffball body, long but not superlong straight-held neck, high rounded head with steep forehead, needle-like bill, dusky neck, and restricted white on rear cheek only...

Much easier to get on to were these two;

Mute Swans!

Not seen swans in the IH for an age, and these are the first I've seen on Patch this year, would you believe? They've become much less frequent in recent years [or is it me, being much less frequently about Torre Abbey? Hmm..]. Those two were patrolling around looking for gullible grockles with food, but I reckon they'd have been hard-pressed to find anyone.

I had a look at the roost off Torre Abbey, where 187 Herring, 248 Block 'ead, and 3 Kittiwake bobbed about at 5 to 4. Also there were 2 GC Grebes, which thought they'd avoided me! [Though they did avoid getting their pictures taken, due to low light]

Finally, I should mention land birds, but aside from the two posers up there - not surprisingly as it's been cold, overcast, and windy - they were more heard than seen, and then not often. Most interesting was a party of 5+ Chaffinch, working along the thin branches of Horse Chestnuts.

Be Seeing You..

[[*You may not be relieved to know that that one missed.]]

26 November, 2016


Was up there sharp this morning and oooh was that a good call.

Hordes of wildfowl, plus some nice additions, all with sunshine and low but not too low temperatures.

Some shotgun-happy fellow set all the birds up and it was a sight;

Wait, what's that?

What's Wigeon for "Eeeek!"

Marshie baby!

Periodically this youngster would start flying about, before dropping down for a sit out of the crows. Later on, it showed even better;

The light wasn't great, but still...

Better views of these wanderers;

14 Barnacles, plus assorted 'friends'

There were also two less mobile versions [though one dodged into a dip very neatly when the camera came out];

 No. 16 was right next to it..

Also notable;

Spot the odd one out?

Harder to catch - on the surface - was this little lady;

Ducking out of sight


Here's lookin' at you


Also a few winter thrushes about - mostly Redwing with the odd noisy group of Fieldfares - and periodically-flushed Snipe overhead.

As well as thousands of birds, there were many birders, covering all ages from Brand New to Over The Hill [I'll let you speculate ;) ], but despite some serious Wigeon-bashing*, the Yank [if it's still there] beat us all. Oh well.

Classic day.

Be Seeing You..

[[*And Teal-bashing - you never know.]]

21 November, 2016

Before and After Angus

I could have called this post 'More Blimmin' Dots', or indeed 'HOW Many Scoter?!?'

Be suitably warned [though there are other, and indeed more identifiably photographed contents]

Ok, back to early Saturday afternoon, when I happened to stop by Meadfoot with the Big Scope and Intent To Count Bladdy Scoters.

This I succeeded in doing [I like Big Scopes and calm seas].  It took a while, as they were of course well out - between the two parts of the Buoy Farm - and also diving now and again, sometimes some, sometimes all. But eventually I made a sweeping count along the line at the right time. And that count just kept going.. I'd expected 20-odd [you remember, right?], or maybe that hundred that had flown by were just nipping off and had come back [ but I thought that unlikely, as the DW population had jumped up sharply the day after..]. Oh no. There were an amazing 169 of the sneaky little gits!


They came from the north..
[so did the scoter]

I'll spare you more pics, but I got a good one and there are 31. They duly came in and plonked down.

Yeah, I laughed.

Also of note, a fair few Kittiwakes loitering [moving ahead of Angus, perhaps?], 2 Velvet Scoter in flight off Broadsands [I like Big Scopes!], and this noisy thing;

After the storm, I lugged the Big Scope down to the Nose first thing. This was done in hope of something being left over from the night's fun. Maybe a nice slick would be present and have attracted something to linger? Maybe birds would still be moving?


49 Guillemots on the Ore Stone [and 291 visible GBBs], with Kitts and Gannets feeding to the N-NE, but otherwise very quiet. Ho hum.

BUT. Ah, what's that line of dots out there? Oh those Scoter...


I needed height and angle, and Thatcher Point did the job nicely. This time I got a lovely look-down and was able to wait for them all to come up and run along the scattered line of groups: 207. Get in.

Not only too far out, they were too spread out to get in one shot - at least, if you wanted to actually SEE the black splots - so I'll just unleash this section on you;

A long line of long lines..

Seemingly upset by being counted, the big group fragmented and started moving inshore. I turned my attention to what else was out there. After all, with all the stuff off Broadsands etc, there must be some juicy birds up the top end, right? Right?

I scanned, and moved and scanned and moved.. Meadfoot, the Lookout, the High Lookout, Daddyhole, the Overlook...

A GND was near some scoter at the Inner Buoy Farm, another flew right overhead and into the Bay, and.. that was it.

Looking off into the distance, I picked out the 4 Velvets off 3 Beaches or so [mid morning], with at least one and probably 2 large divers, plus a probable Eider, near the Mussel Farm. A 'grebe that looked very like a RN but without posing at the right angle for its bill to catch the light could have been GC or even Slav' was well out off Broadsands as well..!

I won't pain you with more black blobs, so instead here's a few other things;

Storm? What storm?

 Thar she blows!

Black claw

Count the block 'eads


Oooh, New Red Sandstone...

Vexed with the paucity of birds up Patch end of the Bay, I made a trip doon Toon later in the afternoon and had a look off the Harbour for any BN Grebes [or ANY grebes] that might be lurking close in.

I saw;


One of six visible along the weed of the Real Living Coast, along with at least 4 Rockits and a Grey Wag.

The sea? SFA. Ok, a pretty view;

Dead.  Calm.

The one they haven't sold.

Not even a GC. There were a few Shags, but nowt else but assorted manky gulls.

Oh, I said those words, didn't I?

A Herring Gull!
No escape from the gullllls!


Very obliging

[[One might be tempted to wonder why the interesting-looking ones never pose like that..]]

After that notched horror, time for a radical change. Yes, something pretty and interesting. No, really!


Isn't this fun, guys?

I'd like to apologise to you all for that one.

A mush closer view

Sulphur Tuft and Wood Blewit. Maybe.

I'll be honest, those were 'closest' IDs - not least due to me being very rusty - and I fear I may have to go back and get creative with gloves and black and white paper...

Whatever they are, it's a pleasant change to find un-destroyed fungi on Patch [or anywhere, these days..]

Be Seeing You..

17 November, 2016

This, That, and Some More of That Harrier

So I was looking through my harrier shots - oh the joy to say that - and I noticed something I'd missed at the time;

 Looks like a vole?

It was hunting - both sides of the river - and while it did drop several times, I hadn't noticed it pause. I suppose that little thing's just a snack..
While I'm at it with the harrier shots;

  Ok, I'm done.

Last weekend wasn't just the funky bit with all that Harrier Action.

Friday; I did what I was intending to do the previous Saturday and got to Yarner for lunch [as opposed to tea..]. This time I did not try another futile attempt at Marshie photos and headed up to a spot I'm fond of for [admittedly a bit limited] vismig. There was very little passing; not entirely a surprise, this was more an exercise in going somewhere nice than seriously expecting birds. So a couple of alba Wags, a couple of Herring Gulls and a male Crossbill- wait, a male Crossbill? Decent bird! Shock!

Otherwise it was as quiet as a wood full of tit bands can be. So here [as tits are gits to photo] are a few other things that caught the lens...



"Mmmmh, Birch roots taste good!"

I love that sign.

The high clouds were moving at 90° to the low ones

Yeah, lookin' at clouds...

Time to change the scenery;

Dusk again..

Saturday saw some more Patch action, though with not even a male Crossbill to report. The most interesting things were a bunch of Block'eads. Here's an awful low-light action shot;

Nope, not deliberate - except on the part of the 'intelligent' autofocus - but it sort of works. Maybe. A bit?

Due to Circumstances Possibly Involving Shortbread Creation, I was too late down there and missed the good light to look for seaducks. They might have been out there. A band of 11 LTT and nothing else* was there earlier [on Patch, not out to sea].

Going back again to Sunday, a few numbers;
300+ Fieldfare, 265+ Redwing, 3+ Mistle Thrush.A group of 21+ Chaffinch - loosely with some of the thrushes - included a Brambling and a couple of Bullfinches.
Other expected species were much as expected, with the 'First Human of the Day' snipe a pleasant surprise - for me if not them - though I suppose they must get used to being turfed off the paths, [what's the version of 'hetch!' that's Snipe for 'oh not again...'??]
Notable by absence was an utter lack of Golden Plover - though I didn't get over the the best areas for them - and a marked paucity of Yellowhammers. What is normally a great location provided only one, lurking with thrushes and not feeling photogenic. :(

Cutting on to this week, the much-heralded SUPERDUPERMOOOOOON!!! was inevitably shrouded by cloud. This didn't stop me from trying, and while my camera did it's very best to mess up - I really wish it had a 'Full Manual' mode.. - it didn't quite succeed.. [Yeah, here it comes...];



Brain 1 Software 0

Still the apparent size of your little fingernail, you know..

Aaaaanyways, here's one last picture; something a bit more colourful and even vaguely in focus [oh, a treat!]

Be Seeing You..

[[*11 LTTs and not even a Goldcrest? Scandalous..]]