30 October, 2017


Terribly inventive title there, but puns elude me right now.

It was with more hope than usual that I toddled over to Yarner after work on Friday. Increased hope mainly in my knee being better [you may recall I pinged my cruciate descending Yes Tor some time back. {You may also be thinking I'm being somewhat overcautious about what was a minor injury, but you haven't had as much fun with your knees as I have - be thankful. :) }], with some for the new hide, which has opened without any fanfare that I've heard. Not that you really need fanfare, mind.

Anyways, so it was a rather sunny afternoon, with only moderate breeze, and thus more like August than late October [well, minus all the rain!].

I toddled up to said hide and had a look at the previously-hidden reservoir it overlooks, filled with aforementioned hope for a nice site for passage freshwater waders and the like.

This is the view I was given;

Yarner Duck Pond

A very pretty duck pond, but a duck pond nonetheless. I'll refrain from going on about half-sized gappy sight screens and crunchy gravel. [oops.]
Anyways, ducks. There are 16 ducks in shot. What do you mean, you can't see them?!?

Ok, they are a little bashful. Time for a close up?


Most were even shyer;

Mirror mirror, wet and wide,
how many Mandarin there do hide?

The answer is 14! [10 and 4.] Remaining ducks being 2 Mallard, plus a bonus Moorhen. And two Kingfishers! How do I know? Male and female. :)

They didn't perch helpfully close, but it was so quiet you could hear them diving! And they did perch..



Flight shot..!

It is a beautiful spot, and with a few lily pads looks like it'd be amazing for dragonflies.. Speaking of, a late Emperor was buzzing around. [No shot - too fast!]

Elsewhere, Yarner was as gorgeous as ever;

Birch glory

Wrought copper

Looking up

Looking down..

Hoverfly sp.


I also took in the old hide, where the birds were in the mood. I have more shots of Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Nuthatches than you can shake a teleconverter at, but to be nice to you, I'll only put up the two species I haven't photo'd on my feeders [one due to being far too flighty, and the other due to being a Patch mega-rarity!]




Very brown remiges, there - 1w?

Right, rarity time!


Recorded exactly once on Patch..!! And no, I still can't get a decent photo of one.

And on that shock note, the sun is setting...

The Oak and the Ivy

Be Seeing You..

28 October, 2017


Loads of the big fluffy ones passing by this morning - not just at the Nose but all the way there, too. It was actually rather reassuring to see, as I've never had the five figure counts there you get up and down the coast, and I can't help wonder about how I'm missing them..

Reality of course is that as my little peninsula is not as solid as the one at the south end of the Bay, many of the flocks take an inland course. This is due to the many valleys, [caused by the terminal splay of the Sticklepath Fault, to get geological] which cut across and make inviting avenues.

Wandering forth, it was markedly nippier than previous mornings this week;

Mou Morning Dew

Getting back to the birds, I had hundreds-strong flocks passing at multiple ranges and directions, so getting anything like a good count was not going to happen. Thus 'loads'.

My autofocus really doesn't like spread flocks, but I eventually got something;

Two flocks in one shot
[expand to see that background birds]

'Close up'

Not just Woodpigs moving, with numbers of thrushes - Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, and a confiding [for the species]


- as well as the usual finches, Skylarks, and so on. No Hawfinches, though :(
Also of interest, Blackcaps spread throughout the area - though most concentrated at the Nose - but not a single Chiff to be seen or heard.. Very odd.

The early sunshine turned quite suddenly to cloud, with an accompanying increase in wind and decrease in visible birds.

While the light lasted, a lot of birdies struck poses of varying quality, and I couldn't help myself...

Giving the fly the eye

So very cute




Another Buzzard

When Crows attack!


"Cuteness? You know nothing, Long-tailed Tits."

Also looking for migrants..


"I'm a magnificent raptor"

More posting about earlier events still to come. I have some fun from Friday and yes, that post about rocks and fungi as well. I'm not entirely sure when, but they will arrive.

Be Seeing You..

24 October, 2017

Birdless Post?

Not even a manky Herring Gull?

Well, it was like this.. On Sunday there was one of our little clan meets down in Cornwall, and so I was very good and didn't run off chasing birds [you know, like two-day delayed Sprossers.. ]

I was even better, as I took along some of my culinary mad science, which in a remarkable twist actually went down very well. You may have noticed a picture of the prototype for one in an earlier post.

The trip itself was not birdless. Oh no, far from it! Things started very well, with a ridiculous sighting near JR's old patch; only a frickin' Grey Partridge! Sat at the base of the hedge on the road edge - gravelling, I assume - cool as you like... Fields full of Pheasants there abouts, but no other gamebirds.

A while later on - indeed across the Tamar - a Wheatear was sat on one of the uprights of the Dobwalls roundabout.. :)

Final bird of note at our meeting place; a nice White Wagtail lurking about the beach at Gorran Haven

While adorable small relatives ran about on said sand, I took a break from trying to get cute action shots to take a few pictures that can be shared with the world;

Surf's up

Now that's a raised beach!

Mussels and 'friends'

Dinner time..
Whelk munching unlucky Mussel


Devonian marine strata

Just look at that exposure
[slightly seaworn, 'tis true]

Up close and personal

Ok, enough of [these!] rocks.

Coming soon.. The Dreaded 'Pwll-Du minus tweety birds' post of many photos both colourful and not so much!!!

Oh yes.

Be Seeing You..

23 October, 2017

Some Things In Life Are Bad

But the seawatching Brian [the storm, not the Very Naughty Boy] gave on Saturday was not this.

It was, however, very idiosyncratic..

The weather I got at the Nose was a strong to yikes SW to WSW, with sunshine and passing [rapidly!] discrete showers. Perhaps 'sun and white squalls' would be a good summary.

With the high tide and big [and mounting] swell, it made for impressive scenery, to say the least.

The Goddess calls Her devotees to seawatch

Ah yes, looking east in the morning..

That squall, heading off up Lyme Bay

The blowhole was busy

Blazing sun, tipping rain, same time.

The birds were very unusual. Mostly in that they were almost entirely three species! It was odd, skipping from one clicker to the next over and over, with only very occasional forays to the notebook.

Said birds were largely Gannets. 954 in four hours, no less, and 405 of those in hour one!

Inevitable Gannet

It's almost art..

It was getting on for north coast numbers early on - very odd. Also passing in numbers were 272 Kittiwakes and 178 auks - of which 171 were Razorbills!

Here are a couple from a small group who came in to pose for me;

"Hey, has he got a camera..?"

"Yikes! Time for my good side"

Most interesting of course was the little black[ish] job in the north edge of the squall you can see up there - yup, Leach's Petrel! :D - which was not the DW bird as this was in view at 1019* Said squall brushed the Nose, and I picked up the LHSP just outside the Ore Stone in the edge of it. Later, what was probably a EUSP went zipping by at the same range and in similar circumstances, but I forgot to note the time! [Oh the shame]. The difference in flight action and effect is so marked - I can't get over how differently the smaller and seemingly less powerful bird handles a little wind..

Nearly as interesting was what wasn't out there***.. shearwaters, skuas, scoters;  Nowt! Huh.

I did see four Fulmars, one of which seemed to have a dark tail, but with the wind more or less behind me, it was towering belly-on and too far out to be sure enough on said rectrices to get properly excited about.
Gulls also passed in small numbers, and the odd one was incautious enough to get shot;

You weren't expecting a Sabine's, were you?
One of 18, btw


4cy[ish] LBB

Much better-showing were the 2 Great Northern Divers [both s/pl, too], though I was too busy cooing to try shooting. One of the two parties of Curlew [total 7] was less fortunate;


Closer to..

Sasquatch Shag

"Feed the gull?"

Vulture Squadron
[Can you see them all?]

"He means me!"

At least Hungry Gull was a classic 1w Herring

Unlike some others...

A final Gannet

Or two ;)

Be Seeing You..

[[*I suppose it is theoretically possible that it was blown up to Dawlish - I didn't see it pass, just zig-zagging in the squall's edge - and then seen up there trying to get back...** ]]
[[**What?!? It could have happened. Ok, two Leach's and two hungry Geebs are more likely... {ouch}]]
[[***Ok, 'what I saw out there' - there clearly were all of the above about.]]