30 October, 2019

Service Notice

Greetings, dear readers.

You may be wondering why I'm not posting, despite claiming to be filling in the backlog, with assorted posts of all manner of interesting things.
Well, unfortunately, due to technical issues with gaggle, I am currently unable to upload images to this blog.

Hopefully this is only going to be temporary and normal service can be resumed in the near future, however, until then you won't be seeing anything new.


If this situation persists for any length of time, I will switch back to the old format of text only posts [[stop cheering]] but hopefully this won't be necessary.

One way or another I shall

Be Seeing You...

25 October, 2019

Little October Showers

Hmm, what to do? With no juicy rarities in range, I reckoned a little exercise and maybe some Ring Ouzels were the order of the day on Friday, so I toddled over to the Avon valley to see. [Something about a flock of 20+ flying about drew the attention...!]

The forecast was sunshine and big showers with a brisk SW wind, so it seemed likely that there'd be a few sheltered spots with Rowans* which would be good when the sun came out. I took rations and plenty of waterproofs and figured to find a good spot to stay put and wait.

Plans and reality, eh?

Ring Ouzel

Yes, that's the top of the slope... Yes, the frickin' thing is facing the wrong way.

This is the only one of three I saw that posed. In the rain. At long range.

Oh well. This is still, I think, my best R Ouzel shot...

Anyways, water featured heavily, both falling from the sky and travelling downhill at a rate of knots, for the Avon was in frisky mood;

Avon: "Try kayaking this.."

Ooh, speaking of.. You may recall on an earlier visit this year - looking for and failing to find dragonflies - I did find and photo a colour-ringed Dipper. Which wasn't on the CR Birding site. Well, I sent said details off to the BTO and they have got back to me; it's a '1cy+' female ringed by the dam on 9/5/18 [though apparently it had a light green over metal; looks very Dark to me...]. So yay. :)

Right, back to the fun;

Mistle Thrush


Ok, enough awful bird photos.

"Heeeere Ouzy-Ouzy Ouzels...."

Hmm, think that one's full..!

Autumn colour

What was present and visible?


Munched Grey-spotted Amanita

Yup, fungi.

Cue mostly in focus sometimes identified fungal bodies.

Gorgeous Velvet Shank

Very pale Turkeytail
Jelly Rot

Ivory Bonnet

Milkcap sp.

Slimy Waxcap

Butter Waxcap

H. reidii

Blackening Waxcap

H. persistens?
[pale one]

Snowy Waxcap

Rather worse for wear,
possibly Parrot Waxcap 

I got rained on a lot, and vexed by the Ouzels, but hey what's new. The fungi were fun. Groan.

Be Seeing You...

[[* The birds will strip the Rowans before they touch the Hawthorns, then strip them before touching Holly, and after that resort to Cotoneaster etc. It is the way of things]]

21 October, 2019

More Old Twitchin'

More from Before The Gap.

Yeah, a Friday a while ago, I finally gave in and went up to Bowling Green to see about that Dowitcher.

I'd seen the previous one there way back when, so way back that the last Dowitcher I've actually seen was a Short-billed [you may recall some awful phonescoped shots on this here blog if you're old enough..] over at Lodmoor. [Fun twitch that, lined up on the path and all.. Ah dear, how it takes you back [[nearly falling over when I found out how much the car park was - oh sweet innocent..!]] ]

Anyways, the forecast threatened rain maybe and certainly delivered wind, so I had some hopes the bird would decide to stay on Bowling Green and not go out on to those nasty exposed mud flats.

As it happened, it did both; appearing from its hiding spot in flight with a group of Blackwits, then magically re-appearing a short while later. It proceeded to show very very well, then hide again, then show, then hide, rinse and repeat at closer and closer distances until it was right by the frickin' Lane..!!

Garganey were their usual evil selves [there were 2, looked like 1cy], hiding at the back in the left channel and only showing for seconds at a time. No sign of Curlew Sand, but the Ruff, after also hiding, came over and showed quite nicely on the round island.

Inevitable pictures;

Long-billed Dowitcher

My what a long schnoot you have

But a petite bird

Blackwit comparison

Very well marked face, there. In active moult from juvenile to 1w;

Mixed feathers

Also in the frame [groan];

Juvenile Ruff [male]

1w Shelduck

Busy moulting

"I only paused on the yellow lines for a moment.."

Plenty of water and waders

A Sprawk flashed through very low very fast, and a couple of Buzzards were overhead, but no sign of the Marshie while I was there.

Be Seeing You...

15 October, 2019

No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition!

Expecting Red-eyed Vireos to be utterly annoying sneaky bar stewards, on the other hand....

Yes, a few notable events in one little trip;

A REV I meant to go for not leaving before I could go.
Twitching a REV that was actually there when I arrived.
Seeing a REV!
Not given up after seeing it, but stayed on the rest of the day in an attempt to actually get a photo of a bird nobody has managed to photo yet.
[That last possibly being madness, but I think of as persistence]

Seawatching at 'Gwarra
Seawatched at 'Gwarra 'til sunset
Seen a Firecrest and got a photo
Seen a Turtle Dove and not got a photo
Seen something for the first time in 21 years, doing something I've never seen one doing before

Ok, enough of that silliness. No Vireo photo, but never mind, eh? The one on Scilly's been photo'd a lot if you want to know what they look like. What did I get camera on? Oh boy.
Get a load of this;

Zoggin' 'eck!

White Stork [plus Jackdaw]. This came cruising overhead and gave some distraction to the waiters at 'Gwarra; nothing like staying put for hours to see things flying over / past. The last time I saw a White Stork was in 1998. Yes, that far back! [I have dipped one since then...::Mutters about miles of stinking mud and heat and flies...:: ] I have never before seen one on the wing.

More things;





So, back to the Main Event. Lots of waiting. Where?

"It's in there"
"About 2m from the top, next to the squiggly branch"
"Left of the gap, right of the spiky dead bits"
"...That's a very pale leaf."
Dialogue [almost] entirely invented, but you get the idea. It stayed mostly hidden in the copse by the Doctor's House [which is not called that], moving and showing in bursts about every two hours. Only three people saw it well [5 seconds or longer] while I was there. I got maybe 2; enough to sketch its bum [ahem] plus movements and flashes, with vast amounts of nothing in between.
The old-timers veterans talking about how "Oh Vireos used to be so easy, just down by the car park - step under the trees and look up at them" didn't help...
Birds, eh?
 Speaking of, while waiting, I did find something myself;

Looking away again! 

After I called it [it appeared at the spot between those people's heads in that picture up there - they'd moved by then!], it naturally vanished, but after a few minutes worked back out into view and actually stayed there for people to see! :)
Also to see;

ID Challenge

Right, let's have some more of that wonderful White Stork. Because, well a frickin' stork! Flying! [My previous two were both stood motionless in fresh-cut hay meadows]

Classic pose

Carrying cargo

Yes, one of the Knepp Estate birds*; so a release, not an escape. There is, at least in my mind, a difference. Elders and Betters, and indeed Powers That Be may differ, but well, that's their right.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee
[with mites]


Someone felt like posing!

I kept at it until the light went, even having a look up Hidden Valley [the bird showed again to one lucky chap while I was away, of course!], then scuttled up for a quick seawatch, because it's obligatory.

Westering Sun

Hella Point looking pretty

I didn't get much, you may be shocked to hear; about a Gannet a minute and one shearwater sp. - picked up with bins and lost in the gloom before the scope could lock on, so just 'sp.' without any further indication! [Not often that happens, most spp. are usually 'probably something but not sure'] - with the Gannets hanging about interestingly over one spot, but nothing surfaced in my view, alas.

Heading up there also gave me a surprise pop up Lesser Whitethroat in the Bracken, which vanished into said with alacrity as you'd expect.


Time to go...

Long day, bit frustrating day, but the nice surprises - c'mon a frickin' Stork!! - made up for BTV of the REV. Ahem.

Be Seeing You...

[[* Rewilding project, released 22 White Storks - all with those ridiculously over sized sat trackers - in hope of starting a migratory breeding population.]]
[[ID Challenge; It's - obviously, look at the disclaimer - a female Chaffinch! :D ]]

14 October, 2019

That Which Was Lost

Ok, after delays due to chasing birds after the delays due to hardware issues, let us get back on with it sort of where I left off;
[You remember, I had been seawatching at the Nose and seen lots of skuas and photographed a few of them..? Yes? Right]

Red Admirals still about in numbers

Not too bad a start. Now, do I inflict the assorted horrible attempts at skuas and even Balearics I tried on the day?

Arctic Skua

Ok, that one wasn't too horrible.

You can see what it is

Well, you can see something

Probably not a mark on the lens

To sp. from this, right?

With a Gannet for scale

Yet another

These are all different individuals, by the way.

That one's a light morph!

Intermediate morph
Skua on the deck!

It is, of course, a Bonxie! [I bet that Gannet went ".....aaaaargh!" very very quietly to itself..!]

Right, and now for that other staple;

Gulls on the Lead Stone

Can you see the one I was looking at? Surprisingly well camouflaged.

Some gulls came a bit closer

Aiming at a Balearic, I caught this

1cy Gannet in lovely pose. Imagine this with some more range and light so you can't see that bill well....

Spot the Turnstone

Right, I think that'll do.

Oh, you really missed this, didn't you [yeah, for the whole week I was offline..!!]

Anyways, I probably forgot to add some more close up [ish] Bonxie pics - I took a load of them - but nm.

Coming up, mostly mundanities about the Patch, a couple of not very good pictures of a very pretty bird, and the inevitable Schnooted One.

It makes sense in my head.

Be Seeing You...