30 January, 2019

Tarting About South Devon

That title ought to get some dodgy search results...


Right, so to explain a little; I've again managed to damage myself, resulting in the last couple of weeks seeing me doing not much, with even an attempt last weekend at merely ambling about the Patch not going down well.. :(
Things have seemed to be slowly improving - though of course work hasn't helped - and seeing as same work has deemed that I can have my nightshift Fridays back, I, well, I couldn't NOT do something. Earlier pre-ouch hopes of t'Moor had to go [uneven surfaces and lots of yomping? Yeah, no.] but a little birding about the place wouldn't be so bad?

Well, it has been so bad and yes I know I shouldn't have indulged, but I couldn't resist. I think the reward was worth the price. [[Well, I have a few doubts when I wake up in pain in the middle of the night again, but apart from that.]]

I only hit three sites, chasing a few ::cough:: yearticks, plus some nice views.

Things didn't start well, with parking in the wrong layby leading to my car getting tangled in frickin' barbed wire; it attached itself to the suspension* without me noticing it and so there followed an entertaining-for-bystanders moment wondering why I wasn't moving when I tried to leave..?!?
Fortunately, no huge lorries arrived before my car suddenly pulled away with a worrying jerk. I quickly found somewhere to stop, saw the line of wire trailing from my car, swore vehemently, saw it was attached to not hanging off, swore less vehemently and tried to remove it; very glad I had leather gloves to hand [Ho ho]. Even more fortunately, nothing was actually damaged beyond my nerves and possibly my back. :(  So be warned, be careful where you stop..!

Enough of that nonsense. On with the proper stuff.

Right, first up, Portworthy; home of booby trapped laybys and possibly a Red-crested Pochard. Mr. B Jr. had said it was on the 'back one of the higher tanks'. I had a good look and found only Little Grebes and Coots, though I couldn't find a spot where you can see all of the back one - there may be a field you can get into?? Turned out not to need to anyway, as I nipped over the hill to Portworthy Dam proper, where I was not alone! Very nice Birder who shall remain nameless got back out of his car to tell me  'It's over at the back, asleep'

"Yikes, camera; time to go!"
Female RC Pochard
[plus Mallard]

Taken into the wind, so not the sharpest. Also a bit distant, observe the view you get;

No zoom, no crop
[Bird is under the whitest cloud]

Distant is what Big Scopes are for, of course. While I was there, it would have been wrong not to hoof back up the road and have a look at the other end;

Any Green Sands?

Shades of Grey

That's a 'no', then. But hey, there are gulls, so...

[[No, don't scream... Gulls are fun! Really!]]

Note: Those of you who've read the last post will know what's coming. And now appreciate the range.

So, an assortment of gulls, with Herring, Lesser and a lone [1w] Greater Black-backed, Block 'eads, Commons... But anything else? Well, there were some nice prominent white heads standing out. I got zapping quickly, as you never know when they'll go, then I could go through them slowly and come back for more shots if needed later. Good idea, as it turned out..

A nice mix
[and look at that monster!]

By size alone, that Big One looks very interesting, and the grey feathers rule out just a GBB. Could it be a YLG, or just a huge Herring? [Or indeed a hybrid Thing] It did not turn and I had no way of getting a better view, so we'll have to say 'Er.. Maybe' about it. That's birding.

Horrible-looking gulls
Having had a better look through the scope, the 1w on the right is a LBB, the 4 1ws in the 'middle' are all odd-looking Herrings [really], but the 2w preening top left is.. Interesting. But like the Thing up there, it did not turn and I could get no more on it.

In the shade

In the Sun

Trying to find something good in those.. Oh well. Chaff and all that.

So, a fairly usual set of gulls; lots of standards, a few odd-looking ones and maybe a possible or two. But then, sometimes, just sometimes you get something like this one;

A lot more than 'odd-looking Herring'

I still don't quite believe it, to be honest. That's probably why I can't bring myself to type the C word. An actual picture you [probably] can't argue with.... How can this be? This doesn't happen to me.

[[You know it's getting bad when he starts rhyming]]

Anyway, a glimpse of that through the scope made me say rude words and scramble for the camera. It exited before I could shoot anything usable. Typical? Not until I went through all the pics at home did I see that one up there; from the salvo of group shots.

Enough, I've tortured the normals for too long.

I saw a non-gull, too;

Looked up at the right time

So, I headed south, to see what I could find about Thurlestone and South Huish. You may recall the latest in a long line of Pec Sand dips from my last trip, so I didn't have much hope for my target.

I was wrong.

Female Long-tailed Duck present with 35+ Common Scoter well off Warren Point.

Out there.
Under the thicker cloud,
just below the horizon.

Third from left - stands out nicely!

Those blobs on the left of shot are ducks. Yes the things under the little bit of surf. They are birds, really. No, really.
 Anyway, the flock was only visible from the cliff top due to range and chop.
[See? Much more like normal service!]

Pretty compensation;

South Milton Ley

Looking very scenic with the watermarks.

The Thurlestone

Right, what's on South Huish??

"G'day, mate"

Stop crossing yourselves, they breed in the wild, now. They're like prettier Canadas, really.

Not quite a Lesser WF
[itsa Brent, btw]

Say their name and they appear... But look, lost Brent Goose!

Med Gulls are BOGOF today

No escape from gulls, at least you can see them better..?

"No, I won't turn my head!"

Not on camera, anyway. Brat.

Stonechats know how to do it

I still had another place to go, so it was on again and this time East.

Looking across Stokeley Bay to Scaup Point

Yup, Slapton again, too. Grudge match or just somewhere out of the wind?

Also, yes I mean Scaup Point;

Odd one out

After hiding off up the Ley, eventually the cracking male came down as the light faded. Out of shot, at least 5 more Pochard and 7 Goldeneye. No fancy grebes, but male RND was still about [he wasn't feeling helpful this time] and at last a Cetti's opened its little beak and yarked in my earshot.

Over to Torcross sea wall;

All scenic

Blobs again
30+ C Scoter off Strete Gate

Show horrific blobs, give compensation;




Oh but it was a wonderful day. I even got a flyover Woodcock, all tubby and brown.

[[Ok, to be Perfect, a Bittern flying over the northern Ley would have been the other thing, but you can't have everything!]]


Be Seeing You...

[[*Very securely; it looked like it had been tied onto the bottom of my suspension..!?  I guess an end loop had lost its post and found my car at just the right angle to catch, hold and self-tighten?!?!!]]

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