30 March, 2019

Spring Sun, Spring Birds

Posting out of order, but hey what's new? I'm typing this around prepping something tasty for tomorrow, so excuse any disjoints in the narrative.

Right, so Friday saw me heading off East in search of some very funky little birdies, oh yes indeed.

The Patch was swathed in mistyfog when I left, but as I travelled I eventually climbed out of it into what turned into very warm sunshine indeed!

I went in search of these things;

Dartford Warbler!

Spoiler alert; I saw them! :D


Not quite a Nightingale

Striking a pose

I used the diabolical tactic of picking a good spot on the track and waiting. Dartford came to me, showing both up and down sun, as you can see.

Why did I write that? Ask the chap with the leg-sized lens who went swanning off into the gorse... ::Sigh::

Anyways, I was here [yes, the one site you're allowed to mention]

RSPB Aylesbeare

I wasn't just standing about waiting, though. There's more to the place than the bit up the top.

Also Aylesbeare

Still Aylesbeare

Vast numbers of singing Chiffchaffs were everywhere, though no Willow Warblers yet.

Best I could do

Also slow enough to catch;


Peacocks pose better than Brimstones

On my way back, I hit a few spots about the Exe. Working backwards, Matford had no Green Sands, and the 'famous field' had 19 Little Egrets and 0 Cattle Egrets, so you still don't get a Cattle shot from this year. Sorry.


Goosemoor was mud and a couple of Curlews [well past high tide] and off the platform, assorted waders and so forth were mostly waaaay off and up sun.

One of these ducks is not like the others

Looking the other way

To Bowling Green, where some birds showed well, and some were more bashful.




Grey Heron

Little Ringed Plover

On the left [newest] scrapes. Hard to see from the hide; lots of dead ground.

Another LRP

On the right scrapes. Even harder to see [more dead ground!]

Left LRP
Better views from the lane.

Yes, the LRPs are rarer [certainly in a Devon context], but I think the Dartfords deserve the headlines. I mean look at them;

"Yeah, check out my wonderful tail!"

Sometimes they behave. :)

Now if only I can run down a Green Sand...!

Be Seeing You...

29 March, 2019

Out For A Yomp At Last

Stuff it, time to go out and have some fun.

Having tired of sitting about taking it easy to no appreciable benefit, I decided to use my week properly and started with going for a proper amble about the Moor. It's sunny, I'm on hollyday, and well, the only way to find out if I can do it is to do it.

So, I went from Holne up Ryder's Hill, then cut my usual loop short to head over Snowdon to Puper's, where I sat myself down on one of my pet skywatching spots to see what came by. After a mere hour, I went down into the Mardle valley and successfully crossed the eponymous river the splashy way before contouring back. Nice and easy, 14km or so.

The sun shone, the wind was pretty light if a little nippy, and it was giving rather than swampy underfoot. Skylarks sang.

Skylark. Singing.



One of two.


Firstly, a few scenes from;

Bit scenic

Going up there

Hawthorns not out up here yet

Ryder's Hill

I'd put in the panorama from up there, but there aren't enough pixels.

On Snowdon [Not the Welsh one]
Teign Estuary way off in the haze

View from Puper's

Quad-sized bracken-basher
[customised gas cylinder and angle steel - nice!]

The Mardle

Look, up in the sky.. What's that big bird with black wingtips and sticky-out legs??

Highest Grey Heron I've ever seen!

Also at least seven Buzzard up, including the famous Bucky Pale One, and three Raven.

Itsa Buzzard

Itsa different Buzzard

Other photos of interest;


Pisaura mirabilis, I think

[That's heat haze!]


Mipit on deck

"You lookin' at me?"

Mipit in tree

Lots of Meadow Pipits, some in groups - migrants?? - and some feeling more territorial. Sometimes the two mixing;

"Git orf ma' lahnd!"
Dartmoor Mipits are hard, too!*

Ah, but it was lovely up there.


Be Seeing You...

[[*Callback to a certain visit to Staines, back in the day  :) ]]

26 March, 2019

On Patch Pt. 2, Newish News

Being slightly less out of date Patch stuff, not entirely pictures of things, either.


The feeders have definitely woken up, now that the BGBirdwatch is safely over [hmm], with some fun multiple sided fights between Sparrows, Robin, Greenfinches and Blackbirds.. The poor tits are getting beaten up when they're not after each other, too. Ho hum.

My Lavender, Rosemary, and Bay are all flowering merrily [so's the Berberus, of course] and the Hawthorn is coming into leaf. The odd bumblebee gets up, but star wildlife was the wonderful bat!! Or possibly bats plural!
EDIT: Actually bats plural, a Pipistrelle* flew past the window at 1847 - could even have come out of the Home roost?

To expand a bit;
As you may recall, last year I finally got a little more proactive and tried actual IDs beyond the Pipistrelle [of one sort or another]; which was only identified by virtue of being the only spp. that could [or would] fit between bricks to roost in the building's cavity insulation! [Only time I've been happy about the 'fashionable' scanty mortaring, I can tell you..]
I'd tentatively ID'd a few at my nearby batwatching spot, and now I've had another sighting off my skygarden Sunday evening, as a spp. with obvious ears [so not a Pip] looped close off my balcony! Not long enough ears to be a Long-eared spp., the height off the ground makes things interesting, too. Perhaps a Serotine? Very hard to judge size and proper flight action for a bat only visible when it gets above the skyline when you're in a valley!*

Getting back to birds, while migrants have been coming through - including ones big enough to set the gull alarm off repeatedly [though never while in my line of sight, grr] - I've not yet got a Willow Warbler. Chiffs have started chaffing though, which is good, and there's all manner of nesting going on. I've been putting spare hair out [great to finally find a use for the stuff**] and it's been going, well, once I cut it short enough for the tits to carry off! [[Yes, hair is a thing to put out for birds]]

Magpie with stick!

Let's see some more Springy things..

Whitejobs; Three-cornered Garlic and Blackthorn

Bluejobs; Speedwell
[I think it's Grey Field Speedwell]

Not just at Berry Head

Cliffs around here are dangerous not just from the 'how many hundred feet?!!??', or the surprise crumbly rocks, but also from biological landmines like these darlings.

Close soaring raptor;
Itsa Buzzard

It's always a Buzzard

Unless it's a Raven

Fungi still popping up here and there
I think this is a Waxcap sp.

And finally;

Not a stuffed Robin!

This little maniac hopped up onto the path side and demanded to be made famous, so here it is.

Be Seeing You...

[[*These are not contradictory, as said Pip was in sight for several seconds, giving a much better view]]
[[**I am one of those long-haired types much envied by the follicly-challenged, so have quite a bit to shed.. :) ]]