30 November, 2020


Who was more surprised? Probably me, finding a late November moff, and one that was not up on a ceiling, too!
Feathered Thorn
I had to dig my macro moff book back out to look it up. :)

Be Seeing You...
[Proper posting Will Return]

24 November, 2020

Wicked Mission Marmalade

The day after everything got exciting at Fernworthy, I was back with the Folks in a - safely bubbled - amble about the place. 

This was the first time we'd been there together since the previous October [!!], which just goes to show how Interesting recent times have been. [The weather and assorted injuries haven't helped, though].

The weather forecast was markedly better than the day before, so of course we got there to mist, drizzle, and gunk....
But we were unrelenting, and the weather was seemingly shocked into aquiescence; it cleared up and even threatened sunshine! Later on it remembered itself and started mizzling again, but it was good while it lasted.

We'd already decided to go somewhere a bit different to the usual route, so it seemed natural [to me anyway] to swing by the scene of the previous day's drama; the clearfell which is forever to be known as Wicked Mission Marmalade.

As we were surveying tha blasted area of clearfell, noting PD and his boys off in the distance, Mum said "What's that funny bird?"

Yup, the Geat Grey Shrike flew out from the trees, right past us, and plonked down on a dead conifer pole less than 100m in front.

Great Grey Shrike

My camera decided to misbehave at this point, not only doing the 'spontaneous turnoff' but also going into night shoot mode - which I didn't notice until after the bird had moved - so these are half the size they should be... Grr and Arg.
Left wing held lower, showing tail pattern.
Even better, as we were watching it, none other than the DartAngler himself came up, [great to meet him] and after a bit of Vanishing Shrike business, I got him on the bird as it worked the fence line. Then it went swanning up the valley after PD and co., and they got it too! :D Result. 

Then it was time to move on a bit, so we continued the loop we'd started up through the trees, though finding ourselves once again by another edge of the clearfell, we took the chance to take a coffee and cake stop where there was an actual view of the landscape.
Little Black Dog,
also blasted heath and Thornworthy Tor
The GGS had made itself scarce, and perhaps this was the reason,


Not much else to see, so we went on and got properly arboreal. Also, as you may be expecting, fungal.
Cue pretty pictures;
How's this for a tree?
It should be noted that that there wonderful Beech [yes, it's a Beech] wouldn't be able to grow like that without it's sheltering surrounding of conifers. Plantations get a lot of stick, not entirely without merit, but they do have their uses. I've gone on about my thinking on this before, so I won't bother your patience again. :)
White Spindles
[C. fragilis]

Sulphur Tuft
[notably paler, late-fruiting specimens]

Golden Scalycap

Bitter Oysterling?

Bell-shaped Mottlegill

Dwarf Bell

It's a Deceiver!

Deer Shield

Clouded Funnel

Spring Cavalier

Common Rustgill

We had a very nice amble, despite the dizzle - which attacked again during stop number two [well, you can't demolish a ginger and rum cake in one sitting... It'd be wrong. :D ] - and enlivened by the usual woodland spp., most notably a very vocal group of 7+ Crossbills, which flew all around us without settling, the little scamps!

Be Seeing You...

23 November, 2020

Why Doing The Daft Thing Is Sometimes Very Right

After a Saturday morning spent doing important things, I decided against all sense of timing and daylight to have another go at Great Grey Shrike. It [or another] had turned up at Fernworthy, which is not only far further out of the way and with longer yomp-to-location than Vitifer, but didn't the forecast say rain was coming?
Even more so, wasn't I going to be there the next day with the Folks? [Ah, but dragging my Parents about on another wild shrike hunt would be bad form; we were planning for a nice walk and some cake, not sitting on a tree stump for several hours, staring at a blasted landscape, hoping a little grey bird would appear...]
Stuff it and other comments; just do it.
I got thoroughly mizzled and drizzled - enough to warrant waterproof trollies going on - but in a shock move I actually saw the bird! Twice! In flight, yes, but closer-to than most GGSs I've had the pleasure of.
I achieved this by going to the wrong place; fooling the crafty bird, which had shifted its position on learning I'd arrived. :)*
As the shrike had headed back towards where it 'should' be, I decided to follow.. Needless to say, with light failing I didn't refind it, however I did find something far more important; a fellow birder in distress, having had an argument with gravity which he'd lost thoroughly. 
The area being very out of phone signal, I helped him get as comfortable as I could [this is why when on t'Moor I always have a survival bag on me, folks!] and once his partner returned from their car with supplies, I went back through the dark to drive out to where I could a signal and get through to 999 [the reservoir overlook spot as it happens], then wait for the emergency services and liase with them so they knew exactly where to go once their atv arrived. The three magic words, it turned out, were 'Wicked Mission Marmalade'.

Kudos also to the young couple in the camper van who I flagged down, who took blankets up to help keep the poor chap warm.
I am glad to report he texted me the next day to let me know he was safely in hospital.

I'm just so thankful my feet carried me over there; I was telling myself while I was doing it that it was daft and pointless, I should be heading back down not going in entirely the wrong direction as it got dark, but they just kept on stomping. I hate to think what would have happened if I'd listened to myself....
 No photos in this one, I'm sure you understand.
 Coming up, The Next Day. [It's much cheerier and more like my usual fare; distant birds and proximal fungi.]
 Be Seeing You...
 [[* Turns out, this was where it had been seen earlier, photo from which sighting - SM did it again - was my prompt for going.. Go and indeed figure.]]

22 November, 2020

Another Wild Shrike Chase

Seems to be the way this year is going.. Mutter mutter.
So, a plan to take the one day of 'good' [ie. non-seawatching] weather last weekend to go look for even more funguses about Fernworthy was detoured by report of a Great Grey Shrike tarting about Vitifer.
I couldn't resist.
Cue a day-long chase here, there, and everywhere with not a sniff of the thing.
'Someone said someone else said they'd seen it but it flew off' was the closest I got.
But, I didn't get rained on, I did see a very nice bit of bird behaviour, and I got out up on t' Moor, so not all bad. 
AND I got to run into a few of the Devon Scene for the first time in ages. [Cue socially distanced nattering :D ]
Ooh, what's that?
Lump of lichen.
And it wasn't even Monday...
But anyways, observe;
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Investigating a nice hole.
"Kick-ki ki.. ki... ki..."
Let's get to the close-ups...
Yellow Stagshorn
Yellow Brain
White Milking Bonnet
Snowy Waxcap
Yellowleg Bonnet
Panaeolus sp.
Matt Knight
Very pale Deceiver!
 Fungi are so considerate. 

Flammulaster granulosus?

Nitrous Bonnet

Be Seeing You...

19 November, 2020

More Of The Same. Yawn.

In which we travel back to last weekend [not this last weekend, the one before. I am once again a little behind...] to see the yellow, white, and 'other' funguses from the Nose, also the odd other thing as I'm not entirely one dimensional these days. Honest.
But first, some slight interest, as the trip to work that Monday saw a surprise wildlife sighting: big brown bat!! [Downway Lane, if you're interested] It was a warm night, but still, November bat. As to ID, it was hawking right over the road at head height, ie. low enough to be hit by traffic... Without a good view or better yet a detector you can't be sure, but I suspect GH.

Anyways, to the fungal pictures;

Butter Waxcap

H. reidii

H. persistens

Very boring slightly different yellow fungi...
And non-yellow ones;
Snowy Waxcap

Heath Waxcap

Slimy Waxcap

But the fungi at the Nose are by no means all little waxcaps..
Clouded Funnel
Powdery Brittlegill
[late, but very warm this year, so?]

Turf Mottlegill
Collared Parachute
 Away from the Nose, the odd fungal sighting still;

Fairy Ring Champignon
But it's not all fruiting bodies, here's another hanger-on.
November Bumblebee
 The birds are starting to be more visible - and audible! - again;
mid 'Trett!'
Wintering Chaffinches are back
Well, a long delay and not actually a lot of news, but at least no horrid gulls inflicted [this time] and we got there in the end. Now all I need to do is get to all the other things...

Be Seeing You...

16 November, 2020

I Must Be Quackers

After Friday's fun and nonsense [which I will get to], Saturday was a bit of a washout in more than one sense, and I found myself on Sunday suffering a serious case of apathy. When your get-up-and-go has got up and gone, it can take the oddest thing to finally prod you into doing something, anything [other than a 'last in the technical' attempt at a sachertorte...].
So suddenly randomly in motion, I found myself racing the sunset to go see a duck on a duckpond.
Dear oh dear oh dear...
At least it was there [unlike my last twitch to the site....]
1cy male
Just starting to moult in the finely barred [that'll be 'vermiculated' in proper speak] light grey back that marks Scaup out so. 
Pied Wagtail

Great Northern Diver
[actually nowhere near Brixham Harbour, 
love that foreshortening]

Also to come, the weekend before, and that trip out I mentioned earlier.

Oh, can't hardly wait, can you?

I suppose I can show you one thing;

A slice

Yes, sachertorte is supposed to have more layers, but that would require the thing to rise a bit more... [Or at all]  Also supposed to be made with apricot jam leavened with brandy, but I used raspberry with gin and a splash of rum*. Sue me.

[Tastes ok, at least  :) ]

And on that note, I shall

Be Seeing You...



[[* I ran out of gin... Ahem.]]
[[[And it didn't have a soggy bottom, before you think of going there.]]]