30 August, 2017


At last, some rain.. Some cool.. Ahhhhhh 

Late news from Monday, now, which didn't really fit in the main post;

I found this in my kitchen. Having wandered in the open window, it proceeded to wander about the walls, too. Always stayed high - this taken from a stepladder!

 Looked even more orange in life, and translucent?!?

Perhaps a ladybird sp.?? Maybe a leucistic one???

And on this random note, I shall

Be Seeing You..

29 August, 2017

Bright Light Bright Colours

A day with the Folks up on t'Moor yesterday - albeit mostly [trying to be] out of the blazing sunshine.

The Heather is out and the Bracken turning, making for serious scenery;

Birch Tor over Vitifer

Close Up

Down in Vitifer, there were Whinchats aplenty, but they were their usual annoying selves, and avoided the camera with trying regularity. One bird that didn't move fast enough was this;

But.. That's a Redstart!

Sitting in the open in open ground.. 'Huh...' indeed.

We wandered down to Sousson's, to find somewhere shady. This, after a few trials and several tribulations, we succeeded in doing. There we sat, and as you may well have anticipated, the birds came to us. [I keep saying it...] While a nice flock of Linnets moved about in the foreground, and hirundines passed by in the background, up close and personal the birds this time were almost all the same species; Redstarts!!!

Yep, here it comes...



It's a preening..


"If I strike a pose, will you put the camera down, please?"

Females were faster

Spotted a Fly

Unfortunately, there were some Woolly Things closer than we realised, and when they opened their pesky gobs, the LBD realised, too... Being a terror-er, once she started up there was no stopping her, so off on a jolly we went. It was far too hot to be doing distance, and while we saw birds, bees, butterflies and dragonflies.. It was hot. And sunny. And hot. Blech.

Annual Centuary

There was quite a lot of this. The insects were far too fast-moving, alas [five flavours of dragonfly, SW Frits, Brimstone.. Nice.]
One thing we didn't see or even hear were Crossbills, despite an abundance of cones - this year most large expanses of conifers have had at least one or two - and Siskin were less evident than usual. Perhaps they didn't appreciate the heat either?

On the way back, we stopped off at a nice little spot by a brook to wash the gunk off of the LBD [she's also a dogopotamus, you see...]. While doggy became soggy [but no longer muddy], I paid attention to a stand of Scots Pine and Willow, which contained a more vocal than usual Spot Fly and a nice showy Willow Warbler.

Mixed day, but the good bits were very good.

Be Seeing You..

27 August, 2017

Just Too Hot

To do anything much.

My pathetic attempts about the Patch eventually netted a small group of phylloscs - a handful of Chiffs and a Willow Warbler - and that was it.

I should be in bed, but it's too hot to sleep.

Oh well, at least it's the right kind of Monday tomorrow.

Be Seeing You..

26 August, 2017

But It's A Bank Holiday..?!?

And yet the Sun shines.

It is all hot and so on, like it is actual Summer, with blue skies and everything..

I don't understand. Bank Holiday = rain. School holiday = more rain. This is known.

Anyways.. I was about the Patch and inevitably down at the Nose first thing this morning, in the vague hope that it hadn't been all clear and birds-fly-straight-over.. Ho ho. To add insult to injury, looking north, I could see lovely mistyfog from the Exe eastwards.. Bah.

Before the mounting humid heat [seriously, it's a BH.....] drove me off, I had a good look about, and found a few Chiffchaffs, some of which might have been moving.

I may have resorted to photographing unbirdy things, though. And I must of course inflict said Things upon your eyes;

Plant sp. With pretty dangly flowers.

Also with Hairy Bee sp.

Hemp Agrimony

Hoverfly sp.

Another Woodpig bites the dust

"Have you seen Harry? He was here a minute ago.."
Juvie Woodpig

Ok, technically we are into birds.
The sea [you can't get away from it] was calm and quiet, but I caught the odd seabird;



Also in flight...

And the reflection!

You can clearly see what this is, right? :)

It was lurking along The Mounds and we saw each other simultaneously, alas. ComSand isn't a Patch Tick, but getting one on film..  :D

Speaking of waders, you can see 6 of the 7 present in this one;

Being uncharacteristically quiet

Speaking of The Mounds, messing about in the brambles along with assorted Stonechats was this;

Nice pose

Got me going for a minute, anyway.

Early on, there were still birds going over, with some vocalising nicely, most notably a Yellow Wag. Also along those lines, when I got out of work a Tripit went over calling - it being still dark so definitely audiomig there - which was a first for there.

And finally...

Turns out a Robin can swallow a golf ball..

Be Seeing You..

[[One day there'll be a Yellow Warbler. One day.]]

21 August, 2017

Gert, Klaatu barada nikto



Well, I think it's amusing, anyway.

Ok, so, another ex-hurricane, another seawatch*. This one was annoyingly calm [for an ex-hurricane**], mostly not that warm [again, for an ex-hurricane supposedly full of tropical air], and not that rain-filled [yeah, you get the point].

But not empty of birds. With a Brown Booby flying ahead of it [how's that for a harbinger??], there was definite promise of something. Maybe even one of those overdue pteros? Just think of it; Black-capped... Cahow.. Trindade......  ::Drools::

Ahem again.

Yeah, so the weather didn't start great, but the forecast said 'get there late' [clearly never hit anyone in Baltimore..] and so I did. Getting there, at the gate I met a Devon Birder who shall remain nameless and who unfortunately for him was pretty much birdless - not even a Manxie! - and if you're reading this, I advise you to stop while you can, as this post may cause gnawing of tripod legs....

It was gunky, and the wind was decent, just about strong, and almost immediately kicked to S, pushing SSE, though only with drizzle, so I beasted it out on The Steps. It soon went more to SSW, then eventually [and with a little actual rain!] to SW. Vis eventually picked out to 'past Berry Head' but was mostly ~1km, so pretty hot for birds! Just a pity there wasn't a slick, as it could have been epic.

Not bad..

There were birds. Lots of Kittiwakes! Plenty of young ones, too, though I shamefully didn't get a proper ratio, as I was too busy clicking. Clicking? Oh yes; 480 in 3.5 hours. They were even roosting!

With a nice LBB

All over the Ore Stone ledges

Also rafting

In the same time; 257 / 4 Gannets, 32 Fulmars, and.. 28 Manxies. What?? Yes, more Fulmars than Manxies in August, what is the world coming to..
Even better and weirder [as for most of the watch they were well ahead of their relatives];  27 Balearics! Including a flock of 7. I won't mention the Grea- oops. o;)

Passing with varying degrees of foraging [scragging poor Kittiwakes counts for skuas]; 5 storm petrels and 14 skuas; the latter being 2 Pomarine, 2 Bonxie, 10 Arctic.

The yacht 'Shearwater'

Annnd.. That blob to the right of the mast top? That's an Arctic Skua!! Looked like a 1s intermediate morph. It spent a while soaring with a large group of Kitts [I don't think they were amused; a couple of Kitts and a Gannet actually mobbed the skua...!! Never seen that before.], so I figured it was worth a try. Took six shots [plus as many again which refused to focus] and.. Yay. Sort of. Even feeling cynical, you can see it's got too much out the back to be a gull, right?
I can't believe I hit it, they're at Ore Stone range - about 900m!!

Also 8 Arctic Tern, 7 Common Tern, plus a flock of about 35 commic which vanished into the gunk before I could get a decent look at them [I suspect they were most/all Common, though]. 7 Common Scoter, 3 Dunlin, various gulls...

It was much better than I expected, there's clearly still lots to eat out there. :)

Target practice [note prim moult]

More target practice
[look at that gunk.. :) ]

And you can't escape the horrible gulls, oh no;


Another rarity was this;


You do not see many trims about the place.

Let us for once end upon a happy sight;


Everybody loves Blue Tits!

[Ok, maybe not ringers... ;) ]

Be Seeing You..

[[*The last might actually be that hot date with Bertha, but never mind, eh?]]
[[**So pretty darn windy for normal weather, but we're belabouring a point, here...]]

17 August, 2017

Not Seawatching At the Nose

Ok, a better title would be 'Not succeeding at seawatching at the Nose'; of course I tried.. But it was a bit dead.  Ahem.

Mooching about the Patch on Sunday, [well, you have to try. Look. Search. Fail. Because sometimes you don't, eh Dave? :) ] I inevitably wound up at the Nose, hoping for one of those lovely Summer evening tern passages. Didn't get one, so I took photos of gulls instead.


Uh oh, indeed.

Classic seawatching weather

Yeah, my Patch. It's a horrible place to live. Don't know how I can look out the window, never mind go out, really I don't....

Speaking of horror, I saw a sight I did not expect;

Floppy-haired hominid on The Lead Stone

Having swum out - flushing all the gulls and 5 Oyks in the process - he wandered about for a while and then.. I thought 'no.....', but oh yes he did;

Hominid returns after completing display

No in-flight shot as I had my phone out ready to hit 999 until I saw that he'd survived...

After that, it only gets worse. Cue the gulls!

ID Quiz 1

ID Quiz 2

ID Quiz 3

Heh heh heh...

With lots of people and sunny weather, there weren't many birds in evidence - other than the usual deplorables - but it was nice to stretch the legs and hey, you never know.

Now, all this sunshine means it must be Autumn, and I reckon the trees think so, too;


Also, while I'm here.. I'd like to congratulate The Boss on his victory. Not the first Devon unquestionable [because the Eddystone IS Devon, and using sane systems like countries do* to determine who owns what water {so to speak} would put the D/C border 4.5nm towards Rame Head. Ahem.], but still a great thing, well deserved.

Be Seeing You..

Rant Alert:
[[*Where boundaries commence normal to and continue equidistant from coastlines. This being because in the real world, coasts hardly ever go due N-S and E-W and to act otherwise is so irrational I am honestly shocked that anyone could endorse it. Especially as all the other maritime boundaries - such as EEAs - do not, so it's not a matter of finding a new methodology, is it?]]

14 August, 2017

Busy Staying Put

Saturday followed some more seawatchy weather, so I couldn't resist the Nose first thing.

Unfortunately, the weather could. I was determined to try anyway, but with time pressing and, well, the sun shining, I didn't bother to go the whole way down, and plonked onto the Sunrise Bench instead. The fact I could even sit there without being blown off tells you volumes about how unlikely it was looking..
The extra height and southerly view came in handy, however, as the action was in the Bay and was definitely exciting! I had stuck some laundry on [have I mentioned enough times that it wasn't looking good?] and it was only needing to get back to it before it congealed in the machine that dragged me away. Anyways, to the birds;

A passage of Gannets [109] went unmolested towards feeding groups in said bay, but the Kittiwakes [132] trying the same suffered repeatedly from the attentions of skuas. I counted 7 Arctics and a Pom - a mix of adults and immatures [one very nice 3cy light Arctic, for example] - with other gulls including passing LBB, BHG, Med and so on..
They were well south, much too far for even me to try photos, so you're spared that. Not that you don't get some pictures, as we have a visitor, who arrived last week and at the time of writing is still hanging about..

'Arctic Discoverer'

So the view from the Nose is now;

The third island..

Bloomin' big shear repellant.. :(

The sunshine did bring out a few land birds, and while exchanging chacks with a bevvy of Blackcaps around the Entrance Bushes, one got a little too casual;

Caught mid- 'Chack!'

Yes, those pale blurs are intervening vegetation, and still my camera locked on! I'm a little shocked, I have to say.. :)

After wrestling the washing, and a quick detour to take care of some business, it was on to the Exe, in search of some proper conventional birding. Ie. the lovely juv. White-winged Black Tern that's been hanging about.

After trying Powderham Crossing - and seeing yes it's there but waaaaay down river - I found some Familiar Faces at Cockwood Crossing, and many hours of fun followed.

I do rather enjoy the crossings; having played Real Frogger to get there, every train comes past in a true display of unstoppable power. It is definitely hard core birding to be stood on a little platform above the waves when a big train comes through very fast less than 15' behind you - and level with you - so you have to hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen while you don't even look away from your scope. Wooooh...

The tern eventually showed well - if in mid-river - before scarpering again, though nowhere near as close as any of us desired. "At least we can tick it off" was said. [Oh dear, but true] We watched it for maybe 20 minutes, feeding off on its own, then plonking down with Commons and a Sarnie. Like many birds, very obvious when you actually got on it: the flight action* was the give away at any angle, then you saw that big white bum. Sat down, it had a very white breast/neck in the sun, with the strong contrast to the dark mantle. Indeed, the dark square/white square of the body and tail against the silvery wings was very obvious in flight, even in a big group of mixed age terns.

Line of terns.
Commons, a Sandwich, and a White-winged Black.

Yes, yes, blobs, but regardez; Ignoring the gulls, there is a line of terns there, ok? The Sandwich stands out big and pale and obvious, right? The rest are Common, except for one which is clearly smaller and darker, [It's right of the Sarnie], and that's the WWB. Truly. I have 3 witnesses of professedly good character who were beside me at the time.

Some terns were better-behaved;

Nothing like being a kilometer closer..

A whole bunch of terns were on display, including Little and Arctic. As the tide dropped, the expected waders** were about, many flying past for our amusement [including counted groups of; 15 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 21 Redshank, and ohthat'salotof Curlews], while most just foraged here, there, and everywhere. Well, until getting turfed off by bait diggers, anglers, wanderers with sticks, and of course, the power boats, water skis, inflatable towed things [assorted], kite surfers, kayakers, and all the other humans who think they belong on the Exe. Ho hum..

The resident Slav eventually got in on the fun, too - and showed the others how you pose for birders;

Keeping the plumes as long as it can.

I've got to say I agree with the moult strategy. The Slav was very much in 'now you see me..' mood, sometimes popping up right in front, then vanishing for long periods. Always a pleasure, though.

Be Seeing You..

[[*It flew like a Leach's Petrel. ;) ]]
[[** ::Big breath:: Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher.. ::gasp:: ]]

12 August, 2017

Younglings [Mostly]

Because they're there, you're there, so's your camera...

Not too many, and all virtually sharp.. [Shock etc.];



Coa- hey, over here!


In other news, I'm beginning to feel that urge to babble again. I fear I may start posting long diatribes of stuff and nonsense, so you may wish to open future posts with one finger, and eyes semi-averted.. [[Ok, I know a few of you do that anyway.. ;) ]]

Be Seeing You..