25 September, 2017

Patch Bopping

A slower-moving version of bashing, as I'm still in low-key mode..

Total shift in the weather, from windy sunshine to near-calm mist, with intervals of light rain...

I was hoping for a few migrants, maybe even something like that which seemed to have turned up everywhere else.. But aside from a steady movement of Mipits overhead, this was not to be. True, the nature of the Nose [let alone the rest of the patch] is not helpful, but I'd hoped. I really had.

Lots of siu-ing Chiffs, more than the day before, but not a single Blackcap! That is realllly odd. There are overwinterers, [if not full-time residents, I suspect..], but not a peep. Not even here;

The North Side

Prime Blackcap country, that. But no. Lacking rarities to curse my autofocus about - or even any good mimics - I amused myself with some target practice..

First Slope Robin

Second Slope Robin

"Wot yoo lookin' at??"

Watchtower Cover Robin

With no Blackcaps..

..Here's a Blackbird

Ok, time for the showiest denizens of the Nose this time out;

Speckled Wood

That one was good, this one much better [including in the fight that happened seconds after I took these!]

Another Speckled Wood

This is a butterfly that knows how to pose

Own that leaf, baby!


While we're on insects;

Haven't I met you somewhere before?

Not an insect, but keen to meet some...

Spidertastic! Let's have another;


The Garden Spiders of the Nose have the habit of casting their webs across the paths - especially in the Second Slope and Lower Meadow - which invariably leads to grief for all concerned. The spider loses all their hard work, and the walker who didn't notice the web gets a) webbed, and b) a large and rather irritated spider on board!

Right, after pretty things, you know what else is coming....






Ok enough.

And it could be worse; I've got a shot of a group of 4 Razorbills... On the Manx line! [::Faints in horror::] Plus a Gannet at the same spot for scale!

But I'll be nice and spare you that abomination..

I will talk about them, as I found myself staring at the sea and wishing I'd brought my lunch down for a seawatch, as it was surprisingly good. I even got a Puffin! Ok, that was best bird far and away, with not a shearwater in sight, but Gannets were moving and I saw a Kittiwake! ['A' Kittiwake..] What more was out there that patience, persistence, and most of all a great big scope, have revealed? By the look of the Boat trip, a fair few skuas. I stood on The Mounds [light winds, remember] and watched for half an hour.
5 Razorbills, that Puffin, two groups of commic terns [7 and 2], a Kittiwake, and no less than 43 Gannets [plus 6 north] were better returns than I had a right to. So yay.


It's just a Shag.

You get these white-y ones quite often. Some people get quite excited by them, I am of the opinion you see above.

Finally, here's one from Home;

[1w m.]

Stuffing his not-so-little face.  :)

Be Seeing You..

24 September, 2017

Low Key Birding

Something I neglected to mention in my last post was the unfortunate encounter I had with a slippy rock while coming down from Yes Tor. Short version; my knee tried to bend the wrong way, I was unhappy.

No serious damage, but I'm still getting tweaks whenever it's unamused, so no Moor for me until it stops*.

Not that I'm stopping having fun, oh no. It was, however, a more careful and slow pace at the Nose yesterday morning, where the fresh if not brisk southerly put paid to any chance of more than a few siu-ing Chiffs, and the most interesting thing at sea was this;

Extra-wide thumbnail

The sun being out, I thought 'Oh whatever' and went up to Bowling Green for a bit after the tide. The light was.. well, there was a lot of it. There were a lot of birds, too, and these included Little Stints and Curlew Sands plural. While both CS were in view together at one point [though in a ruck of Redshank], the stints only showed one at a time. How many there were, exactly, is a matter of opinion and conjecture. I know there were at least two, because one was ringed and one wasn't. But as there were sightings at various points over time, there could have been a half dozen! I reckon two, though.

Bright and windy at the Green

Bird numbers were well up compared to my last visit, with Pintail up from a half dozen to more than 30, and Wigeon.. Well, look up there.. Those dots on the water? [And the shores] Wigeon. 500+**

But getting back to the little jobs. Finding them - and staying on them - was not easy. Dead ground, flushing corvids, and all the various big things in the way;

Spot the stint

There is one in there. Somewhere... While stints were seen at various places, only on the spit were they really photographable [that's relatively speaking, of course..]. So;

It's 'Land of the Giants'...

Startled by Dunlin!

Yup. Little Stints. Ok? Now we have some horribly overcropped exemplars of rings and lack thereof. The light was not helpful in this - as I could barely see the birds through the viewfinder, let alone if legs were visible! - but I think even a cynic will agree we have at least two birds [with and without]. Ok, shield your eyes..

Red ring visible

Yellow and red visible

With Dunlin for comparison

Same - left leg raised and clearly unringed

Ok, that's enough of that.

Some more record shots!

Whimbrel and Barwit

Med Gull

Med Gull

And a few shots more scenic, including after I wandered off in search of the reported Avocets [spoiler alert; I didn't find them] around the rest of the usual sites.

Busy Shovelling

Yeah, perfect viewing conditions


Take one distant Curlew picture,
Get another free!

The solution to all that sunnyshine was of course to turn the back, and use it. Fortunately, not everywhere is designed to annoy the viewer.. [Yup, it's Goose time!]

Bathing beauties

Bashful Beauties
There were 30 Greenshank on Goosemoor in all, plus an extremely shy [juv female] Ruff.

Inevitable comparison shot

Quite a confiding Greenshank, this

Lots of fun had by all - at least when the birds deigned to show!

Be Seeing You..

[[*Like the Sunscreen Song says.]]
[[** I counted 537, with plenty of dead ground to hide more - love gull island, btw.....]]

21 September, 2017

The Other Stuff; Off Patch Pt. 2

And now, at last, getting finally up to date with the end of my hollydays...

I took my last weekday to fill in a bit of the Moor that's usually busy. Having it to myself was at best 50/50 even on a day of forecast showers and so on, but it was worth a try. I vastly prefer being there alone; it's all about atmosphere.



Sitting midst the heather


The justly famous pounded settlement, up there with Hamel Down in the background. I wandered up and.. Lo and behold I was there with but one as company;


The hut circles are petite

But beautifully put together

The main entrance

I eventually tore myself away and yomped up that big hill you saw earlier, then ambled about on top of Hamel Down, before swinging by King Tor and Hookney Tor. It was a bit damp underfoot, and some threatening clouds were about, but the only showers missed! :)

View from higher up

The King's Barrow

Mipits were moving in small but frequent groups - all heading east and northeast - but the scene was dominated by a posse of Ravens. Eight of them were vocally about the whole time I was there, and I naturally tried to get them...

Wait! Not Ravens, Mipits!!

I plonked down out of the wind at Hookney, and another Wheatear dropped by for me;

"I'm not going to pose for you"

Swallows were also moving in more of a trickle than a flood - no photos, you may be assured. Instead, here's a couple of other things I encountered;

Small shrooms

Spiky shroom

Fox Moth caterpillar

Plenty of those hairy things about, still.

Ok, that'll do.

Annnnd Finally.. A decent yomp, slightly curtailed, and carried out in again a total lack of rain.

I went up to Meldon, and got around the famous Wilhay loop. The wind was cold, the sun was hot, and so the temperature fluctuated wildly between sheltered sun = tshirt and windy shade = coat! It was still good and splashy underfoot, but that didn't stop plenty of people getting out. My route [you may be unsurprised to learn] minimises crowd interaction, bar the inevitables up on the Roof of The South, so I was able to take three stops with full uninterrupted hours watching... Mipits, mostly!

Yes, I am mad. Hour counting passing Mipits. I was curious, after all the Mipits passing over Hamel Down my last time out, and seeing more as I went up, I thought to myself.. 'Hmmmm' So, timed counts - also a nice excuse to sit out of the wind, enjoy the view, and who knows what else might turn up? - at three points. Were they radiating off the Moor? Moving into the wind? Heading more towards wintering areas [such as the Teign and Exe valleys]? Just generally flying in random directions?

Naturally, you are interested in what I found. Black Tor; 22  [heading up over the ridge],  Fordslands Ledge; 16 [Mostly passing towards the east rather than west side of the ridge],  Black Down; 4 [all north off the Moor]

From this very limited data set [::Cough::], I suspect that the primary movement was off-Moor but with a distinct easterly trend that implies option three. Or 'the obvious answer'..

It wasn't just Mipits, there were Mistle Thrushes around Black-a-Tor Wood, see?

It is, really.

You know what else is coming.. Mipits.. Lots of Mipits...

Spot The Mipit

"I ca'a'a'a'a'a'an't see it..."

Nice rock

Nice legs


Last one

And those are all different individuals, too.

Ok, time for a few scenery shots, now;

Yup, been raining

Sunshine on Black Tor

South from Fordsland's Ledge

The Wilhay
Now with added 'art'...

Up on Yes Tor

Row from West Mill

West Mill and Yes from Black Down

And a little colour, a few other bits;

Great Big Hoverflies like coffee

Neat little inclusion at West Mill Tor

Love those strata

Also of interest, was this cutie;

A dark brown raptor with a pale head and pale fringing on coverts?

Interesting. But which raptor would it be? Let us look more closely;

You are correct! Itsa Buzzard.

A regular-flavour job showed up soon after I took this, and up and away it goes;

'Scuse the awful lighting, there..

Nice to see a half-decent mimic Buzzard [see how it had carefully hidden its tail when on the wall? Nice touch, that]

One last picture;

The Res, on the way out

That's it.

Be Seeing You..