30 May, 2020

A Grand Day Out. Pt.2; Pretty Little Things And Massive Erections

First of all...

Get your filthy minds out of the gutter. For shame.

This is a theoretically family-friendly blog.

Having said that, I did - after taking a very scenic trip across Middle England - come across a couple of impressive human-made structures.

Yeah, I'm going there.

All shiny and cleaned,
Cerne Abbas Giant

Yes, this is what I did after I'd spent a happy [well, when I wasn't trying to photo it in flight..] couple of hours cooing over the wonderful Collared Pratincole up on Severnside. I was already waaay up North [to us], so I figured I might as well keep going, right?

After an interesting trip across some bits I'd not crossed before - highlight not one but TWO DeLoreans!! Under their own power!!! And one was a Time Machine!!!! [Great Scott!].. Ahem - I was hoping for a Marsh Fritillary, or at least a Duke or two, and assorted other short grass spp.

Rather scenic

 That one taken during a cooling off break, as I got very hot [that site has amazing shelter, perhaps not a surprise] and oh, but I got MF, too...

Marsh Fritillary

The first butterfly I saw on the hillside! This is the first one I've ever had the chance of shooting, too.
[No, not at all smug]

Slightly more contrastingly marked

The Marshies were notably less contrasty and bright than the [pictures of] the ones in Devon. Possibly due to being raised on plants grown on chalk, not proper 'ard rocks?

Almost like a 'proper' one

Striking a pose

And another Marsh Frit

Yes, each photo is a different insect!

Just glorious.

Final Frit

There were heaps of other butterflies, too... [Oh yes, he is]

Dingy Skipper

Another angle

Third one

Grizzled Skipper

Look at the electric blue hairs!

Large Skipper

Moth spp.
[I can't find this in Micro or Macro]

Small Copper

Speckled Wood

Cinnabar Moth

Green-veined White

Common Blue

Also a Common Blue

Also Large White, Brimstone, Small Heath, the Duke. [Adonis Blue reported but not seen by me]

Birds are required;

Yellowhammers in good voice

Grey Wagtail

Time was meandering on, and I was out of water, so I toddled back to my li'l car - seeing yonder wag from the bridge - and then home? Well, not yet. Being in the area, I couldn't not drop by Maiden Castle to yeartick Corn Bunting... :)

A small bit of Maiden Castle,
a truly massive erection of earthern ramparts
[[what did you think the title meant???]]

In that brown bit..
Stock Doves [at least 9]

Corn Bunting

Showing very well


Cracking day.


Be Seeing You...

27 May, 2020

A Grand Day Out. Pt. 1; Roadrunner Of The Sky

Missing the Devon Collared Pratincole of recent years hurt, as only a Lifer in your home county can. Ah, the Joy of Work. [Yes, yes, could be worse, stop moaning etc. etc....]

So, when news broke of one distant but in reach and more importantly actually sticking around, I ummed for a few microseconds, then very bravely waited until the wind was [forecast, at least] to ease off to go after it. I did wait on news - tart that I am - but positive news = can't see me for dust.

I was almost as fast as this!
Collared Pratincole.

Yes, that shot again. I like it. :)

Told you I had sharper ones

Didn't promise better

Or did I?

Maybe should have led with this?

Or this?

Against a green background

'The speed of a Swift, the agility of a Swallow', or 'Cross a Nightjar with a pterodroma'.. You get the idea. Wonder to watch [especially when it shoots past you over the levee at grass-cutting height, maybe 8m away!], nightmare to photo in flight. What a bird.

Pilning Wetland from the levee

A bridge

Another bridge

Common Mallow


Having travelled on first news, even after a couple of hours with the bird [and a nice stroll down from Aust Warth] I had half a day to play with. Oh, what to do...??

Hmm, date, weather, social distancing..

Oh, I've got an idea!

Coming up;

A Grand Day Out Pt. 2; Pretty Little Things And A Great Big Tonker

Be Seeing You...

The Sweet Sea

'What's this??' You may well cry. 'The sea isn't sweet, it's salty as can be..'

But seawatching certainly is sweet. [Ok, it can be, when your brolly hasn't blown away, you're nice and warm and dry, you've not missed insanely good birds, you-.... you get the idea.]

A week into Reduced Restrictions [so that's last Friday], finalllllly there was something like weather. Now, mid May isn't exactly late August, but needs must and all that.

So I hit the Nose straight from work [previous day's luke warm coffee and all.. There's commitment!] and had two hours of fun and frolics. Also Puffins.

Especially Puffins.


I only had 8, but see above re: Work. And one, well;

Itsa Puffin!

Ok, not a close Puffin, true

Classic seawatching view;
low, fast and very dark!

Also Manxies, a lone Sarnie [are there no other sea terns??], a s/pl Sanderling [too busy flying to see if it was a SanderBling], a steady passage of Gannets [about one a minute], Kitts, Fulmars [probably], a whole shedload of mostly local auks, and a s/pl GND.. Going south?!?

Don't believe me [for shame]??


[feet on the left]

Bit closer to,
s/pl visible

Yup, going the wrong way.

Also of note...

"Auks, sah, 'undreds of 'em!"

Mostly Guillemots, naturally.

More blobs Guillemots

But not all,


Also in the cave thing

Trouble the Herring Gull
[She flies like a cartoon bat, in case you were wondering!]

The World's Hardest Oystercatchers
are at it again

Trace fossil

The edge of the coin is flush with the broken edge of the stratum [it's a bit hard to make out]. This was a round section burrow, which was filled with the same material it was made into, implying it wasn't open when the overlying sediment [you can see it behind the coin] was emplaced. This is also indicated by the rather wobbly edge to it [an open hole would need more certain stable walls]. At the time I thought it was a worm tunnel, but that discolouration, and the shape of it, makes me wonder if it isn't the home of a burrowing bivalve [think a dinky Razorshell or something], which may still be in there?

Bivalve and brachiopod assemblage
[slightly hidden by grass etc.]

A little hard to make out, maybe? A cluster of shells, probably dumped in a slide, certainly not in life positions. Directly above the date on the coin is a section right through a nice mud-sitting type bivalve [something like G. arcuata] - that pale grey patch - with the rounded underside [that sat in the mud like a boat's hull in water] lower left, and flatter 'lid' valve upper right [it hasn't come out well, but if you look closely you can see the grey bit is edged by shell].

Now after those grey rocks, here's some colour;

Greater Knapweed!

Just opening and looking quite Common

The pale grey-green scales with black chevrons are diagnostic of Greater - Common shows a similar shape to the flower head but had seemingly all dark scales [yes, I know not the proper term], which have more thumbnail-shaped black markings.

Hedge Mustard

Prickly Sowthistle

Far better than expected, considering the date, the fact the weather had already passed through, and that I couldn't get there early enough.

Of note, my go at a Devon yearlist hit 200 with Puffin. I was quite pleased to realise that* - yes, it's daft, but I like big number birds to be funky ones, and say Common Tern just wouldn't be quite the same.  [I've still only seen 2 tern spp. this year.....] [[Sorry CT fans, in my defence I'd be happier with Arctic, let alone Roseate :) ]]

Ok, shutting up now.

Be Seeing You...

[[* I use pencil and paper for my lists and count by clicker.. What?? I'm still Backward! ]]