30 June, 2018


No, no more number nonsense. I can't be too predictable.

Other puns were likewise ignored.

Ok, getting on with it.
As promised, here are a variety of odonata;

Meganura  at Meeth...!

Ahem. ;)

Azure Damsel

Beautiful Demoiselle

Small Red Damselfly

"Oi, mate - you never heard 'Three's a crowd'??"

Large Red Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Four-spotted Chaser

[plus photobomber]

Emperor in flight

Unleashing the mini-kraken!

Teneral ID Quiz 1

Easier angle

Harder angle

Slightly easier individual

That'd be 
Black-tailed Skimmer, then

Teneral ID Quiz 2

No, wait, it's not a darter sp....

Keeled Skimmer

ID Test 3!

Let's see... Clearly a hawker, but which one? Abdomen black with blue spots, held pretty straight, thorax with extensive green, but thick dark line along 'shoulder', blue eyes.
As I said before, it's really not a good picture, and you might try calling it anything from Common to even Emperor!
It's that Hairy, which went prowling into a little bay and so I attempted to focus at the other side, hit the shutter and just caught it. This is still better than the only Downy Emerald shot I've got from Bystock, which is a dark blur with jade green eyes on one end! [Ouch]

Those of you who remember earlier posting may be wondering about where all the rest are, but these were dragons on a hot day.. Plus I was mostly there for butterflies, and so only had a shot at real poseurs. Plus whatever showed up while I was trying to overcome heatstroke cool down by the nice shady bits at the res.

Right then, more posts should follow, not least of more recent bug hunts, where I went chasing more new ones for the year, and met some more little darlings who wanted to have me for dinner...

Be Seeing You...

[If They don't get you first]

28 June, 2018

Thrice Chasing Flutterbies

Rather than go into the various places I went chasing assorted butterflies over the week, I'm just going to put up some pretty pictures.

Yeah, even though the 'all in one year' is toast, I still want to see a few, so off we go, with [if I remember rightly] all new for here for the year!

Marbled White

Large Skipper

Yes, another was in the teaser, but I care not.

Small White

Small Tortoiseshell


Meadow Brown

Essex Skipper [!]

Small Skipper

Six-Spot Burnet

Five-Spot Burnet

Silver-studded Blue
[East Devon Commons]

High Brown Fritillary

Dark Green Fritillary

Wood White

I might do 'proper' posts at a later date, I will do another like this for the insane dragonfly action I've had; 15 spp. at Bystock, with Downy Emerald, Hairy Dragonfly, and Common Hawker out together!?! And I got one of those three fast-moving non-stoppers on record [just]!
Which one? The one I've never caught on camera before.

Be Seeing You...

26 June, 2018

Secondly; Back To The Sea

Starting back at the beginning.

"Far off in the distant Before, there was The Rain," The grizzled Elder began, centre of all attention for his gaunt, dusty audience. They sat in a ring about the fire, which crackled and spat odd colours and foul smokes from the blasted ground it was laid on. This was a Telling, a way to make sure those who came after remembered what was Before; while it lived in the mind, it still lived, at least in a way, and maybe one day it would live again in the real.
"Water you didn't have to dig for, water you could just drink, straight up, pure and clean and sweet as anything. All you had to do was catch it, it fell right out of the air."
He paused to cough, half from a gust of fumes from the fire, half from the mix of bitter laugh and sob this memory always brought, "Too much of it, at times. So much rain that it ran down the hills and filled the valleys. Rain made the ground into mud, sticky and soft and getting everywhere. Ha, we thought it was a nuisance! The clouds were where it came from; they were made of water then, billowed up from the sea, back when it was blue.."

Please excuse that, the heat does funny things to me.

It has been very hot, very dry - even before all the sunshine - for a long while, and I'm not a Summer person, really. But what can you do?

Stop writing post-apocalyptic drivel and get on with it? Oh, ok.

So, last time we had clouds, we also had at least a little wind, and coming from the WSW or thereabouts. I was coming off a night cycle, so not only missed the earlier and better front, but wasn't able to get to the Nose for first light, though I turned up for 0600, which wasn't that bad.

Things were better than it seemed as I stomped down, perhaps a little disconsolantly, and it turned out to be a worthy High Season* Opener. I watched for five hours before I had to go, as I had Things To Do and very important Things they were.

Perhaps not ideal conditions

The wind picked up and went more SW as time passed, and it tried to rain, though not enough to put my brolly up. But birds did pass. Some pretty nice birds, even.

Hard numbers, peoples;
Stormy 1
Manxie 39
Puffin 3
Bonxie 2
Arctic Skua 1
GND 1 [s/pl, big one, too]
BTD! 1 [s/pl]
C Scoter 140
Sarnie 2
Sanderling 1 [s/pl]
Curlew 1
Med Gull 14
Kittiwake 86/4 [Those 4 N with FF!**]
Gannet 63
Common Gull 2
Fulmar 2/8 [not counting local breeding birds inshore]

Also a count of 637 auks on or on sea near the Ore Stone - most but not all Guillemots, as at least 4 Razorbills around the fold area - and highly territorial Oystercatchers [seeing off GBB, Raven, C Crow, Herring Gull etc - usually from below and behind {ouch}] at their usual spot.

And now for some mostly awful photos of not the best birds [because expecting that would be hopelessly optimistic, now wouldn't it?]

High left

Centre left

Centre low
[resting area]

Centre right
[main area]

Top right
[The Folds - cave just left of shot]

Apologies for awful over-cropping of long-range hand-held max zoom shots.. Counting [and seeing birds facing the rock!] was much easier with the Big Scope.

No more bad Ore Stone pics.

Common Scoter!
Curving off the Manx line to head into the Bay

Closer Scoter

Grey Seal

Inevitable Mallard

"Got any sarnies?"

First proper seawatch since April [oh, the shame], hopefully not too long until the next one....???

Be Seeing You...

[[*To those who say seawatching high season starts in July, or even the August BH, I have one question; When do the WISPs arrive in the Western Approaches? Exactly.]]
[[** Yes, carrying Sandeels - they're breeding somewhere!]]

25 June, 2018

First Up; Time To Apply Witch Hazel

Having read tales of woe on twitter from certain of Devon's Finest, I have to share my sympathies for their plight. Indeed, I have joined the ranks, being tagged twice in three days.

It has been an odd year for insects, with many out early or hanging on late, some in vast numbers, some worryingly scarce. One of the former is unfortunately a teeming horde of patterned Dracula-impersonators. Yes, I type of Horseflies.

They fly with grace and no small delicacy, have beautiful eyes, and their wings are impressively marked as well.

But oh ye Gods and Little Fishes are they a both metaphorical and very much literal pain in the everywhere!

So, to perhaps make all of you involuntary blood donors out there feel a little better, I present ::Scary drum roll:: Horseflies........
Aish Tor shirt infiltrators!
[One getting hit rather more thoroughly;
they are the same sp.]

Bystock attempted lunch-interrupter

That nosilife stuff really works fast...

Yes, rather morbid, but this is the only way to truly appreciate their beauty without suffering painful consequences.

[Photographing males on flowers doesn't count!]

I'm not one for massacring wild animals, and will shepherd flies out of my home if at all possible. I'll repel, cover, and leg it if I can, but Horseflies are very persistent, so sometimes you just have to say "You or me, sister"...

And on that cheery note, I bid you au-revoir.

Be Seeing You...

[Happier postings will follow.]

24 June, 2018

So, What Have You Been Up To?

My traditional* MidSummer week off comes to an end, with a notable paucity of posting therein. I'd like to blame all this sunny and humid weather, and to be fair it has played its part; there's nothing like hot sunny days to make me pour a G&T and not start blogging... ;)

[This is probably a better state of affairs than me starting drinking and then starting blogging..]**

But the fun is over and the inferno awaits, so I will need to recover, while still being able to get up at ohhhnoooooooo o'clock in the morning. Nothing like sitting inside and paying attention to what I'm doing for that.

Yes, you've guessed it, this is another putting-off-posting post.

But I do have something to make your dear devoted hearts skip a beat - and no, it's not in horror at a gull - so feast thine visual organs on this here Patch-denizen;

Sings: "Me and my shaaa-dow"

For the non-butterfly aficionados among you, this is a male Large Skipper. They like to strike poses, wings angled and ready, then launch themselves at anything that dares to fly past. Small but viscous. ;)  I've seen them go for teeny flies, and really large butterflies - even a dragonfly once - though I've never seen one go for a bird. Not that I'd be surprised if one did!

The more prescient among you will have correctly concluded that I may have been chasing butterflies, and you'd not be wrong.

Tales of these and other adventures will be forthcoming in the coming week, possibly under an allegedly amusing banner. 

Be Seeing You...

[[*Because I keep doing it.]]
[[**Yes, I am sober when I post. Stop acting like you're shocked.]]
[[Ok, technically I may on some occasions have had a wee dram, but not enough to impare my spelling, so that's ok.]]

21 June, 2018

The Sun!

Of the few times the weather has behaved on the Solstices, none are unmemorable.

More words are, I feel, unnecessary.

Hail to the Sun!


I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunrise;

Grey Seal

Sun worshippers on Berry Head

Sea Carrot

Tufted Vetch

Who needs sleep when you can have this?

Be Seeing You...