25 September, 2018

So That's Where All The Rain Went...

Getting out of work Saturday morning, it was still dark and not even slightly raining. Nice cloud ceiling, light winds. Ho hum, thought I, and once home started getting ready to hit the Nose with the dawn.

Then, sticking my head out the window to see how light it was getting, I met the rain. The rain said "Hi there" and stayed all frelling day. No joke. Sometimes fairly light, sometimes rivers-in-the-streets, but no let up at all.

Eventually, some wind joined it, so I ambled over to see if a phalarope had decided to spin about the slick at the Nose.

Spoiler Alert: No chance.

Rain-splattered view,
but nice slick

Small swell

I did see a few terns, including 4 Common, a probable Arctic, and two Black [oh yes], so definitely not a wasted soaking. Grounded migrants were an amazing two Chiffchaffs, though I also met four damp Wheatears, who I left well alone as they were suffering enough without me trying to photograph them on top...

The gulls were another matter, despite being crap, and here are some rain-splattered [the wind was E- ENE, the git!] pictures thereof.  Yup, no mercy here.

Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls

Cruising at speed

Black-headed Gull 
over the slick

Sneaking in..
a juv. Med Gull

Real-world comparison;
3cy and 2cy Herring Gulls, plus 
piggy in the middle

Same bird on left, 
with 2cy Herring

Olive-looking mantle, contrasting dark tertials, two-tone tail, pale underbody, long hand, and two dark bars on arm. All those features together mean a good YLG candidate, but any can be shown by Herring Gull.

[Because wonderful posing on the deck shots are great, but many of us don't get perfect views where we bird]


Elsewhere on Patch;

On Horse Chestnut
possibly Ossicaulis lignatilis

Not pictured, the incredibly noisy yarking 1cy Tawny Owls - mostly seeming to be right outside my window - not only by evening at the weekend, but first thing in the morning too.

Moving on.. More from the Big Evening Out to Froward!

Common Rosefinch

Look at those tertial fringes!

Yup, cooing.

Ok, that's enough of that.

Time for some pretty scenery;

Mew Stone and friends

Looking across Start Bay

After a good series of views up to 1730, and another brief appearance up to 1800, I decided to leave the wee thing and headed back. Of course, being me, I'd [over] prepared, and with the big scope in my rucksack it would be a shame not to use it. And put off that climb.

So I moved to the Coastwatch Point, where a little bench was handily sheltered from the wind and gave a nice view. Seawatch!!
I gave it an hour, and while it wasn't exactly Pendeen, I still managed to see some birds. Not always easy to photo, though...

A record shot by definition
shouldn't need a caption

So that is what is known as a waste of pixels..!
[That's a 2cy Kittiwake, btw. Really. You can sort of see the white triangle in the left wing..??]

Slightly better[!]
1cy LBB

Gannets were quite plentiful, with 64+ in the area, plus a scattering of Kittiwakes amongst the feeding gatherings in the northern parts of the bay, but not a single shearwater could I see.

Closer in, large numbers of hirundines came below and over; no huge flocks - and never more than a score or so in view - but you slowly realised there were actually an awful lot moving up the coast and possibly inland.

All this fast food attracted falcons, and I even hit one;

House Martin and Kestrel

Above that sort of thing

Awfully burnt out, but white from chin to vent.
Love those juvie Cormorants

Common Toadflax

Sunset at Start Bay


Much better.

Be Seeing You...

24 September, 2018


Oh dear.

Well, it rained a lot, and then the Sun came out and so did an actual staying-put showy Rosefinch. What is a birder to do?

Join every other Devon birder and go and have a look at the little darling, of course!

Sunday hadn't gone well, so it was late in the day that I even turned to 'puter on and learned the news, but I thought to myself "You know what, self, we haven't been on a twitch for ages. I think part of our malaise is that we are in twitch-drawal. We need birds. Go for it!"

Who could argue with that? [[Never mind that while talking to yourself is bad, arguing with yourself is worse..!]]

So, I toddled over to Froward, and trod the familiar way down down down....

The Daymark


The air was full of hirundines, mostly Swallows, but getting photos of them in the not inconsiderable wind proved beyond me, let alone my camera..

So, to the main event. Where a little bird hid in a gully and dared birders to even get eyes, let alone autofocuses on it..

What do you mean, you can't see it?

You see the trees on the skyline? You see below them a smaller patch of fluffy white Old Man's Beard? Yup, in there.

1cy Common Rosefinch

There it is!

The Old Man's Beard was intertwined with Woody Nightshade, and they were berries of choice [as you can see from the little feller's messy gob!] - I suppose the Sloes were a bit big?

Fruiting bodies;
Woody Nightshade and Old Man's Beard

A longer post, concerning the weekend as a whole, is in the works, with more pictures of not-at-all grotty birds [who came up with 'Grotfinch', eh? They need a proverbial clip 'round the ear. Lovely birds, one and all] and hardly any horrid gulls.

Ok, that might be too much to promise.

But there will be more Rosefinch; wonderful bird.

And there's still that post. Oh yes indeed.

Be Seeing You...

21 September, 2018


After many delays, we finally cracked and said "BLEEEEP the weather, let's go for an amble!"

Yes, at last, the Folks and I got out and about. The weather was not helpful, but never mind, eh?

Default settings were enforced by the dread combo of wind and very low cloud, so we went to Fernworthy and spent quite a while sat in the hide, waiting to see what we might see. This proved to be a very wise move, as not only did a Kingfisher fly past - shockingly this is my first for the year*!! - but also, it meant we were on site when these three dropped in;


Two more Snipe!

They didn't stay long, having a preen and then moving up Teign, but wow! :)

Elsewhere on the res.

Canadas, Mallards, a big LBB

18 Canada, 34 Mallard, 1 Teal, 1 Cormorant [very pale-bellied juv.] were all to be seen in the gunk - the dam was mostly out of sight!
Water levels also very low;

Hide view
[Snipe on near shore to left]

Normally water from trees to trees

The reservoir was pretty dry, everything else, not so much

Very pretty

Birds were mostly the expected, with a few House Martins and an alba Wagtail overhead, and a couple of lurking Chiffchaffs. Eventually, we came across the tinkling notes of a pleasingly large party of Crossbills, which were typically right up high and against the light;

Adult female
[my bins are better than my camera]

The day, however, was - as you may have guessed - was dominated by fungi. It looks like it might be a vintage year for them, and I counted at least 28 spp. Fungi are also usually much more camera-friendly, as they rarely move when you zoom in on them. Having said that, I still managed to take OOF pics and not realise at the time. It was mizzling a lot, and the light wasn't exactly strong, resulting in some weird effects, which I didn't have time to fix via camera settings [[stop that and get on with it]]


Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric

Lovely examples.


Old Panthercap

[but whiteness and volva imply A. virosa?]

Armillaria sp.
[I think a pale Honey Fungus proper]

Yikes! Sterilise your boots...

Brick Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Rooting Poisonpie?

Blotched Woodwax

Trichloma sp.

Wood Blewit

Russula sp.

Hohenbuehelia petalodes
[Impressively long name for impressive little fungus]

Porcelain Fungus?
[Thick stems, also despite photo effects, 
actually very buff;


Definitely Porcelain Fungus
Classic Porcelain in situ

[If in doubt..!]

Watery Milkcap?

[somewhat munched]

Pore shot

Big wet leaf?

Bovine Bolete

Slippery Jack**

Inocybe sp.

Interesting one...

... An agaricus!
I'm pretty confident this is A. urinascens
[Not broken by me, btw]

Aniseed Funnel

Nice troupe of 
Soapy Knight

Soapy Knight close up

Root Rot...

Oyster Mushroom

Mosaic Puffball

Chicken of the Woods
Fairy Inkcap

Woo, lots of fungi. :)

Be Seeing You...

[[*Yes, really. I am in shock myself. Things just happen. Birds, eh?]]
[[**The one in the foreground looks a lot like Larch Bolete, but that's not likely to occur in Devon.]]