30 June, 2019

The Lost Valley Of The Bugs

Ketch ing up from my week's summer hollyday, we have a tale:

In which your hero, despairing of BC ever fixing the security on their website, decides to go off and find his own Heath Fritillaries and in a strange break with all expectations, though after trials, travails, and lots of mud, sweat and deers..... actually does!


Prove it? Right;

Heath Fritillary!

Yeah, total spoiler. No apologies. :)

And yes, the world was indeed turned upside down.

They were bashful with their underwings

"Camo is for wimps!"

The weather had been naughty for some time after the earlier hot spell, I had - you may recall - despaired of seeing those early frits for yet another year. Then it relented, and a sudden warming seemed likely to bring fresh flutterbies out. Sunshine and the odd cloud [of even shower] seemed a good mix to get them visible but not too frisky, too.

So, off I toddled to pastures far, and I hunted low and lower. I found pretty scenery and a quite a few butterflies of not the right sort;

Meadow Brown

Small Heath

Green Hairstreak

Eventually, being hot, damp - it really rained quite well when it felt like it - and very bothered, I for the sake of proper practice checked the one last bit I hadn't stomped, despite it not seeming very likely and not having even found the frickin' foodplant. Not one. [They're all over the East fringe of t' Moor, for example]


Ohh, what's this?

The teeniest Common Cow-wheat

Hiding in vegetated scree.
This is a very under-reported plant, as while the big ones are realllly obvious, growing in great patches and getting knee-high, there are a surprising amount of tiny ones, all over the shop.

Getting back to the day in question..



Scores of these. Title up there not just about butterflies!

But there was this hidden valley in a hidden valley, steep, hard and not at all friendly, but never mind that;

Not quite a disused railway line

Speedwell sp.?

This looks quite like Poisonpie,
but it's on heath and I reckon it's
The Deceiver!

Also I had a surprise - very much so on all sides - encounter with Red Deer. These were the first I've seen in a long while - I think we're in multiple years here - and while 'only' six, they were at point blank range; about 10m!!! The terrain and wind direction responsible, of course, as neither party were aware until said distance, when a lot of shock was shared around. Alas as they were so close I had no chance of getting my camera out, switched on, aimed and focused before they vanished, but I had some lovely views of them bouncing through bracken [and finding it much easier than I was..]

Being in the mood to celebrate, post-Heath I relocated somewhere with some breeze, and scaled a hill I've not before;

Dunkery Beacon

View from far better than view of, though the weather interceded a bit [sideways rain up there!]

Can you see it?

Looking up the Bristol Channel, beyond Flatholme [with lighthouse on south side], hidden through rain but shining white in something like sunshine, it's the Severn Bridge [number two]. Just a wee way off.
It was clear through bins!


Yeah, so, I've now seen every spp. of butterfly that occurs in Devon - and most of the accidentals - but not all IN Devon, and a lot not yet on photo. Yes, this is a personal mission. Yes, some are going to be nigh impossible [I'm not going after the vagrants, but the residents - ie. breeders and regular immigrants - I am] without being naughty. And I haven't been. I've not so much as climbed over a gate - or indeed walked through an open gate [I closed it] - so until a certain organisation fixes their web security it pretty much will be impossible. But you never know.

And I'm not giving up.

Despite how hard some of the 'possible's are.

Hey, it passes the time 'til the next storm. :D

Be Seeing You...

Boats And Blobs.

A ketchup from my week off.

It's been a long time since I've off to go staring at the sea at Prawle.

A rather iffy forecast gave me cause - it's still default setting, after all - and well, some beats none.

Worth going? Yes, though it had its moments.

Taking the scenic route home was a very good call, as you shall see.

Right then;

That view again

Passage wasn't insane - shock - with an Arctic Skua and two Puffins the best of it. Manxies were 27W/67E, with a few inside 'blob' range..

[uh oh]

Itsa Gannet

40/9 of them, so outnumbered by Manxies [usually this is a good sign].

The balance difference - more Gannets west than east, opposite of the Manx numbers - makes you wonder. Weather unlikely to be a major factor, so perhaps an indicator of differing origins? I [reasonably] assume these are all provisioning adults.

Yeah, I did mention Manx blobs...

Two Manxies

Slightly closer

You get the idea.. The lone group of 7 Common Scoter, are even worse.. No, you'll not be afflicted.

A scattering of auks and gulls were to be expected and that's pretty much it.

Of course, Prawle isn't just about what's out to sea. There are some nice plants;

Sea Campion


Birdsfoot Trefoil

English Stonecrop


Slender Thistle

Far more activity from local breeders, with one sp. in particular vocal and demanding of being photo'd;

Rock Pipit
Giving it large!

With not a huge quantity of avian passage, attention was inevitably drawn to other, bigger passers-by. Yeah, yachts again...

Can't think why this caught the eye

[Only technically a monohull - look at that hydrofoil!]

A little older

Proper sailing

Oh yeah..


There were noisier travellers;

Wonder where they're off to..?

I took the scenic route home, hoping for something flying over Slapton Ley [it's happened before]. In the event, the interest was the other way, and quite bigger than even a GWE..

Dat ass
The above showing why, to my eye at least, why there's no such thing as a good-looking carrier. I know they are the ultimate in function over form [even for a warship], but come on..

However, she is in her own terms, a magnificent beast;

H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth

I get very mixed feelings looking at her. I won't put in the rants that come to mind - look up serious sources if you want to get an idea of where I'm coming from.

But hey, I went to Prawle, I did some seawatching, and I have lots of photos of blobs and yachts [and ships] that I haven't unleashed upon you. See, getting better. :) 

Be Seeing You...

29 June, 2019

I've Taken A Funny Tern

Yes, that was awful.

No, I don't care.


I don't know what it is about me and delivering baked goods to loved ones, but that's twice inside a week now.

In fact I type this part way through baking more - cupcakes this time - because it seems like it's worth a try [And I owe them as an apology.. :( ]

So, it was a flying cake before I toddled up to the Exe to have a look for the Caspian Sea Monster that had not only shown up - the day before, when work said "Ha ha!" - but hung around. Eventually, anyway.

An early 'no sign of' had me off on another Bug Hunt - more of this in a future post - then intending to drop supplies off and have a nice chat but.. Well, maybe I shouldn't check the news? lololol

Anyway, I headed over and arrived at the Clyst Platform to be told 'it's just flown up river'.. Oh ffs...

Then it came back and plonked down on the mud. Yes, inevitable burned out photos;

Caspian Tern

With a red ring on the left and metal on the right, too. Now read from some wonderful photos taken right before I got there, showing this is a 3 year old from Sweden. :)  Tern darvic rings, eh? Well, this was an unusually obliging bird. Sometimes.

ID Challenge

Anyway, it sat, it flew, it preened, and then it vanished.

45 worried minutes later it reappeared, fishing wellllll downriver, and those still present were treated to the classic CT diving style;  'like a brick' !!  ;)

Coming in to land

At least two Little Tern also present - entertaining with their far more stylish fishing while searching for the Caspo off the Goatwalk - and a variety of other waders [also stylish being spl 'shanks]

Snazzy Greenshank

Spot the Water Rail

It was lovely getting to see really good views [don't go by my photos] of that monstrous beast [you should have seen its gaping threat posture with that bill when BHGs got too close!], the one up on the Taw-Torridge was always a bit... distant.

And the howling gale meant it wasn't too horrifically hot, either. So at least that was good for something. [This will make more sense when you read the other post to do with this day, something like Another Bug Hunt]

I shall

Be Seeing You...

26 June, 2019


Another post and not about events a week or more in the past..!! Yes, surprise indeed.

Also about a surprise for me.

You see, there's been a big influx of Painted Lady butterflies recently - not entirely surprising with the winds blowing them up from Africa [along with the continent-wide heatwave!] - and so I naturally didn't expect to see any here. Certainly not here here. And definitely not one that would not only strike a pose, but let me take pictures...!!!!

Yet, behold;

"Quit the snark -
you'd be a lot tattier if you'd
just flown from Africa!"

Natural concrete camo


So, having actually got something half decent and with camera still in hand, I wandered about looking for anything else taking a breather.


A Snout - maybe even Paignton??

Brindled Pug
[form hirschkei?]

Of course the spider gets the good one!
Hawk moth sp. [Striped?] dinner for
Cellar Spider S. bipunctata 

Even more posting is on the way. Oh deary deary me, what a standard to set...

Be Seeing You...

25 June, 2019

Patch Gubbins

Assorted this and that from recent Patch doings, not including that trip looking for butterflies.

Yeah, utter excitement!

But really, there are actual things here. Things in photos.


Itsa Magpie

As it might say if it could talk "And they call those brown ponces 'Azure-winged'?!?"

Why the infamy?

"If Robins and Blackbirds can do it..."

I may need some sort of weight-activated water gun.....

[[Now, when the Woodpigs start doing that, THEN I'll be impressed!]]

In other news;

First brood Greenfinch

First brood Blackbird

Different brood

Still with yellow gape

Coming in more often, though
rarely posing

That Coal Tit

Flame Shoulder

Mottled Beauty

Oak Nycteoline

Broad-thighed Beetle

Red Admiral

So, much of a muchness, really. Nice to see juveniles starting to appear, but most of the fun has been off-Patch. The relevant posts shall surely be forthcoming now I'm back at work instead off out gallivanting about the place.

Look for those silver linings.

Be Seeing You...