28 June, 2017

Getting Around. Part Two; Inevitable Seawatching

Because it's not a hollyday without some.

The weather hadn't read the script, but that was a detail. A chink of light - well, more or less the opposite but that's the metaphor, isn't it? - was a front of sorts on Saturday, and the possibility of gunky weather...

So I was up and considering a little of the usual. Well, until I looked out the window and saw that it dawned far too bright and indeed then got brighter, but a wind was blowing. And yet, 30+ jet skis loomed into prospect at the Nose..

Default setting; I went to Prawle.

This was a very good call, as I found I'd been beaten to it by not only decent wind, but mistyfog!!

Where it came from I do not know, but it stayed until late afternoon. By that time, a shedload of shears had gone by, ranges varying with the vis; a few hundred metres to nigh on a mile!

Hit it;

Blobs Manxies!

 Lots of blobs Manxies

Not just blobs Manxies!
Not just flying!
"Hey, this photo isn't half bad"
"You're right, it's all bad!" 

 I wasn't really expecting much at all. But the Manxies kept coming - more than 1400 in 5 1/2 hours isn't epic but considering the forecast, not bad at all - and they weren't alone. Nothing else in any serious numbers, and the good ones were naturally camera-proof. Indeed, the autofocus struck again when a gloriously spooned light morph Pom came through very close - naked eye close! - and the accursed thing refused to lock on or even fire until the bird was out of shot.   Aaaaaaaargh....

I do technically have a picture of an adult Med Gull, but can You see it?

White squiggle....

Yachts were easier - or at least, slow enough to get the verdammt thing to work eventually - here's the prettiest;

Gold italic writing on a cream hull = no name

Here's a final couple of 'fun' ones;

How many fluffballs on legs can you see?

I wandered over to Gull Island to count the ickle baby Herrings*.

Just look at that wonder....

You can't help but wonder at the rocks of the Start Group - green molasses! :D

Oh yeah, and the flowers and the sea and whatnot.

Be Seeing You..

[[*I got 41]]

26 June, 2017

Getting Around. Part One; Rares Over There

After a slight hiatus from my previously frenetic posting pace, I'm back. There's a fair bit to tell, so I'll split things up into manageable chunks.

So, what did I get up to?

Read on, dear.. er.. reader.


So, with the breaking of the heatwave I gained the energy to actually get on with doing some things. I really don't approve of all this blazing sunshine and tropical humidity, you know. When there's warnings for UV levels above that we're supposed to get in this here nation as well.. 'Tut' is all I can say.

Anyways. First up was my desired intent to get up to the Levels in proper Summer, to seek Summer-y birds and so on.

I also had a mission, but that was dependent on the weather doing as was forecast and clearing up from the dizzly morning into something resembling sunshine. Which, in a shock move, it actually did. Though in revenge it got far windier than it ought to, but hey.

So, up to zumerzert, where about the Avalon Marshes I did go in search of various sexy birds. I once again was shocked* to find almost everything I was looking for, and even got some on camera. Some of those were even in focus - oh, my autofocus has had me near apoplectic so many times this week... - but almost all at least recognisable. Yeah, you know what's coming.

My first and primary target was the cutest little woofer you ever did see. And I did! :)

"Can I smell coffee??"

Waiting for a bird to show? Pour a cuppa. It works every time. Unlike sony autofocus..

He was feeling bashful, and didn't let me try for a better angle;

"Fine, I'll go and get my own then"

Speaking of flight shots and Bitterns;

Quite a few bigger ones about.

Also in the air;

Reasonable Marshie shot


Also a shiny new one

No, wait, two of them

Putting on a display

Elsewhere, on show;

Very Glossy

Still singing

Pochard and quackling

Scaling down a bit;

Black-tailed showoff

A Variable is worth getting nettled..

Right then, the weather brightened up, so it was time for my Mission. And oh, but I was on one. Very needfully, as that dratted camera did everything it could to foil me in my attempt to get shiny proof of no less than a Lifer.

I went here;

I don't even have to say it, do I?

And after many woes and hours plural, scored these;

Not that big, really.

And very dark.

"They like the pink ones"

My camera, though, did not like them.

At all.

Oh, they were beautiful. Oh, they were frustrating.
Oh, another Butterfly Lifer bites the dust.


[Next year, Heath Frit, next year....]

The RFF did not rematerialise for me [a birder can dream!], and the Cattle Egrets had wandered off - oh, and not even a print of an Otter - but everything else was on show, if less photogenic. I have three more heron spp., but from range, and you all know what they look like.

It was a good day out, even with a Horsefly attack at Ham Wall car park..!

Be Seeing You..

[[*Perhaps I need to raise my standards?]]

21 June, 2017

Mad Dogs and Backward Birders

Yes, out in the noonday sun again today.

Nowhere near as far afield this time, just a couple of sites about t' Moor's edge. I got unsurprisingly toasty - well, it was 30° - and at first rather brassed-off, as my [longstringofrudewords] autofocus pulled a royal one and refused to lock on to the most showy butterfly I've ever met that wasn't actually dead...

Yup, after butterflies. Frits to be particular. I did not get shots of everything - the heat had given them superpowers - but I got shots of somethings, so cover your eyes....

Small Heath, pauses for microsecond too long...

Speckled Wood, thought it was out of range

So did the Marbled White

Meadow Brown shows them how it's done
"Just vibrate realllly fast and you'll look out of focus!"

I did say frits, though, didn't I?

ID Challenge!

Ohhh, it's a Silver-washed!

Remember how I said I was vexed by my camera? Observe. No zoom, no crop;

This was attempt no. 7..

Yeah, High Brown Fritillary, 'most endangered butterfly in Britain', flew up to me, perched, posed, ignored me totally. And my camera would not focus on it.

It was far too hot to shout and swear and curse, but oh, I thought some very hard thoughts indeed....

A change of tactic was tried, with my classic 'find a nice spot, have some lunch, see what flies by' routine selected.

You might want to look away;

ID Challenge 2

"So, which do you think is my best side?"

"I reckon it's this one"

Higher than High...


It wasn't all plain sailing; the other frits were in no mood for even stopping, let alone letting me try photography at them.. Oh well.

It wasn't all butterflies, either;

Female Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Male Keeled Skimmer

Willow Warbler


Not a Buzzard...

..Though with a Bunny!

And thus the lack of locational clarity. ;)

Be Seeing You..


The longest day, high point of the Wheel of the Year.

Hail to the Sun!

Be Seeing You..

20 June, 2017


In more detail and with less.. 'Arrgh I've been out in the sun all day..'

So, the basics being that this was my first chance to go after a Lovely Lifer, all nailed down and so on. I've got this week off work - as usual it being Midsummer - so it seemed like a plan. Yes, the tern was mobile, but I'd have all day and even if it swanned off fishin' for an hour or six, I'd get it in the end..

Ok, I hadn't counted on the weather, but these things you beast through.

The traffic was.. unfortunate. Most notably, a poor lorry full of scrap metal tried a bend too fast and went over.. I hope the driver was ok, but the hold-up wasn't fun. Lots of little things added up and.. Oh well.

As it happens, being there at first light would have only given me a 50/50 on it - it shot off so fast - and as for the not coming back; hey, what can you do?

Dips suck. They don't make the ticks feel better, though they do add a touch of vengeanceismineyoubugger - see the Great Revenge At The Warren, for example - when you get them in the end. Of course, the next Elegant Tern might be in 20 years...

Ok, not all bad, as Pagham Harbour has it's pluses; Little Terns! Commons and Sarnies! Med Gulls!

Watching a Little Tern fish in a channel maybe 30m from you is worth the trip.. Med Gulls, stonking s/pl adults, flying right over calling [gulls that sound nice...horror!].. All the fun of a tern colony.. ok with hordes of Block 'eads, but also resident [and advertised and protected] neighbours  :D

I took the odd picture, some even worked out;

Pagham Harbour
Tern Island is out there...

Time for a close-up;

The Elegant used to be 'right of the sign and left of the conservatory'

Enough landscape, here be a few locals;

Mediterranean Gull

Tern ID Class

Right then, time for action!

First, the hover.
Somewhere between Kestrel and Hummingbird

Fish spotted, tip over..

And roll into an inverted dive, like a tiny Gannet!

Did I mention how much Little Terns rock??


Not giving up until far too late did have the odd benefit. One being missing most of the roads full of fools that had vexed my trip out [[Oi, no ranting]]

The second being neatly in time to take a minor detour to my pet spot for these wonderful things;


This was shot from the hip..

I'd taken the camera out as I thought 'Hey, why not?' After all, as I wasn't using a flash, it wouldn't do any harm except eating memory with bits of black..
The birds were on good form; a cracking male had come for a look-see before I'd even shut the car door! In all, at least 6 churrers, multiple males in flight, with a couple of females seen, too. Brilliant!

The lack of wind equalled hordes of midgies, but that's what SSS is for :) [yup, malice of forethought, people ;) ].

Time for a quick bit of pretty scenery;

I like my spot

Right then, there is a little more postage to come about other things, but this'll do for mow.

Be Seeing You..