26 February, 2021

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Right then. Breaking apathy and so on.

After days of frontal wind and rain drove - at last - some divers and grebes into the area, I finally forced myself through the apathy that has blighted me last weekend. Bright and earlyish I strode off with a loaded rucksack - I need to keep in practice toting it for when I CAN go back on t'MNoor [I have learned the hard way not to disrespect my shoulders, remember?] - full of no picnic materials at all and so totally covid compliant*. It was damp, if not drizzly, reaching showery, and still windy in a SSW way.

Yup, the Nose. Where else?
I got a treat;
So if you ever wondered 'Can Kestrels hover in the rain?' the answer is 'Yes, but they look kinda scraggly'.
And now we know.
["And knowing is half the battle!"   Ahem]

Also a treat of cetaceans, with 3 or so Harbour Porpoises hunting to the north, and at least 2 Common Dolphin zipping by south through the Ore Stone channel first thing. :)

No sign of the LTD [which I strongly suspect to now be tarting about the Exe, the hussy....], calls from the Blackstart hiding in the quarry, and the Glonk flying about in the now traditional manner.
Except, of course, when it wasn't;

Standing Glonks are far easier.

However, something had changed.. There were actual GNDs about!

About frickin' time too, and other comments. The visibility wasn't good and didn't improve, and none of them came anything like close, so you know what's coming, right?

Great Northern Divers

Almost a nice wingflap, there. This is the biggest group; 7 of them.

Three more

21 in all between Thatcher Rock and Longquarry Point, no other divers spp. or any grebes to be seen. Only low numbers of small gulls, either.
It was rather warm, quite the contrast from earlier in the month. Let's get a little educational, shall we?
Immature gulls!
With monstrous Glonk as size comparison, observe the variation in these 'orrible manky Herring Gulls. Just to make things even worse, the Dougal Effect may be involved. [And.. are you sure those are all HG?? ]
And to make up for that;

That Spring-y feeling?

Coming up, even more stuff! In which we find out what was daft enough to be trying to roost off Blackball and who was daft enough to try to photo blobs at multi-km range at dusk in the rain... [[Oh yeah, that'd be me, wouldn't it?.... Uh oh ]]

Be Seeing You...

[[* You can stand around for hours if you're fishing, with a tent, but you can't even take a flapjack and a teeny flask to keep you going... Sigh. ]]

24 February, 2021

Missed A Bit

Back in the mists of... well, not that long ago, really. I wandered down to the Harbour in another blasting easterly [so now you know when] on the offchance of anything sheltering there. I got zip.

It was, however, quite scenic. Also an interesting gull amongst those trying to lurk amidst the waves.


Livermead getting all atmospheric

Two adult winter gulls.

On the left we have a nice Herring Gull; white markings clear in primaries, light-mid grey saddle with blueish tinge, head streaking [still]. 'Standard lwhg' and so on.
On the right; a gull with little white in primaries aside from a chunky mirror in P10, darker greyer saddle - no blue tinge - and white head, which is also rather chunky-looking [though you can't see that well in this, the only photo that hit it...]. Not the best comparison photo for many reasons, but you use what you can get.


Q'est-que c'est que cas?

'Hmm' probably covers it. Could be a YLG. 

Oh well and other comments.

Have another picture;


Really nice one. At the Nose, of course. :)

Further and hopefully better [though not, I fear, in terms of the picture quality...] posting will follow at some point. Also another 'Hmm' gull, whose images are so bad, I'm wondering if it's even worth bothering with...

Regardles, I shall as ever

Be Seeing You...

22 February, 2021


As the Great Sir Pterry wrote;

"I aten't dead."

I have been struck down by a particularly virulent strain of apathy - an affliction which you may be aware I am especially vulnerable to - and consequently have barely managed to get what must be done for survival done, let alone go swanning off out amongst the meandering hordes in search of tweety birds...

After a titanic battle [you should have seen the special effects, really spectacular... ], I may have finally broken this. However, it could well get all StarWars on me and strike back [groan]. [["Come to the Lazy Side, we have cake and the internet...." ]]

Whichever, I have material for you, over and above That Other Thing, which I will get to directly*.

In the mean time, a taste of said Other Thing;

Running Crab Spider sp.
[immature, so almost certainly unidentifiable]

That's the shooty end of a fan heater, btw. Not quite sure what it was doing there...

Also.. Yes, you read right; 'running' crab spiders. Crab-shaped [legses on the sides and longer ones at the front] as you can see... but unlike the colour-changing flower ambush ones, these are actually very fast active pursuit hunters. When they feel like it. [Scared? :) ]

A proper update, with talk of birds and so forth, will be coming. I've uploaded photos and everything [They're awful. Mostly] and just have to gather enough inspiration when I'm somewhere near my computer [it's no good getting it at work] to actually write things and add the right awful pictures of teeny blobs that are grebes, honest. [You'll - if you're very unlucky - see......]

I will

Be Seeing You...

[[* You know it's serious when I get Deb'n..... ]]

14 February, 2021

Easier Targets

Life is Circles.

I love Croci

Especially the purple and white ones. :)

Waxcaps, too

This one popped up in the little warm bit we had before the Freeze. You can see it's suffered from the wind. As to which waxcap it is.. What do you reckon?

Also of note;

Alexander's out 
[ok, has been for a couple of weeks now]


Still rising

Be Seeing You...

11 February, 2021

Longshanks Birding

Once upon a time, something different happened.


I'm not too sure myself, I suspect it has always been this way. The rest was a dream.

Thus; prowling the Patch. Checking up on the Dynamic Duo at the Nose. Running into The Teacher and Assorted Locals.
As you may have guessed from the last post, I connected with some Black things last weekend, which was nice and rather satisfying.

What else was going on?

Well, Glonkus glonkus and Clangula distans were still doing their thing. The adult Med Gull turned up again. I found Purple Sands defying gravity and the sea [not bad]. I heard a Firecrest singing [ :p ]

Keeping up with the Glonkashian

Med Gull and BHG
[vaguely in focus
comparison shot]

4 Purple Sands



Hopped up and posed, so I had to.

Glonk flares for landing!

That Blackstart again

I have another post of Things That Stay Still coming up at some point in the near future [shock], and assuming I don't vanish under metres of snow [don't laugh], I'll be out and about bashing again.

Be Seeing You...

08 February, 2021

Black Weekend

Lockdown Life continues and so we play a familiar game:
Do the same things, get different results.

[ That's birding, folks. ]

Persistence and attention to your environment. Sooner or later [usually later, but hey] you'll be looking the right way at the right time. Then you get;

Black Redstart


Black-necked Grebes


Patch Year and Year ticks, thanks.  :)
Not to mention good views of lovely birds and I didn't even get rained on. Bit nippy, true...

Speaking of. It is now blowing a frigid hoolie and there was a teeny bit of snow coming home today. I remember the Beast I with no fondness, I must say.

Further posting, containing more nonsense and hopefully less of that, to come.

Be Seeing You...

[[ A not very long and remarkably un-filled-with-swearing post very nearly went up in this spot. Thankfully, cooler head prevailed {Less cool head was shoved in the freezer until he stops frothing about ANPR cameras and fines per police force / county / ten miles crossed, interspersed with manically repeating "If you can't walk it, you shouldn't see it".....} 
Birds, birds, pesky birds.
 It came off a ship. They don't fly more than 300 miles and then in Autumn; where's it been? In a cage. It was probably sent over by the French to annoy us and will start quoting MP&THG at us soon.   Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.....  It burrrrrns, oh yes, it burrnsss usss.....      
I'm shutting up now. ]]

07 February, 2021

Springing Into Focus

I had been intending on posting this when I got in from today's [oh, wait, yesterday's...] exercise, but News has somewhat discombobulated me. Life and Birds do so like to make Mockery of us, don't they.*
Getting on with it;
While wandering about in not always the rain, this time of year brings about other discoveries. Less mobile and generally - aside from occasional traffic issues - much easier to photo [in focus, even, sometimes]. It, er, should be noted that all these were taken in January...

You know it's getting Spring-y when;

Primrose at the Nose

Crocus by the road



And as we haven't had any fungal fun for aaaages...

Velvet Shank

So when are the Wheatears getting here, again??


Be Seeing You...

[[* Ha. Ha. BLEEEPing Ha.....]]

03 February, 2021

Grinding In The Gunge.

Right. On with it, getting.

Saturday. Easterlies or thereabouts; brisk to strong ones. Also gunge, rain, and so on.

What to do when it's blasting onto the Nose? Well, try Site B. 
At Berry Head, when it's too horrid for the seawatching point, you goto Shoalstone, likewise there's a handy Victorian shelter not too far from the Nose. Might have mentioned it before.

Sort of sheltered from the weather, sort of some birds in the Bay. Eventually, a small group of Kittiwake turned up and started foraging, but with visibility barely reaching the nearest cruise ship, I admit I had hoped for more than Herrings, GBBs, Shags, and Corms. But patience - verging onto persistence - when combined with a big scope in decent weather usually gives something, and I was fortunately looking through said scope, working sections of heaving sea in the vain hope of anything on it, when something brown whirred past.

Looks like a duck, a chunky duck. No speculum, no whiter belly, nice milk chocolate brown, hint of barring?.. Oh that'd be a female Eider then! :D  She went into the Bay and I did the dance of joy. 
That was it, though. Not even a slightly suspicious-looking gull to interrogate. I'll take it! :)

The next day I was out sharp and heading once again with big scope in rucksack [lugging it around is very good exercise] and no flask [Bah. Bah I say] on a nice walk. I arrived at the Nose, 4 Song Thrushes up, at the same time as The Teacher, so we ambled about the place at a proper distance from one another. Two sets and so on.

The LTD was still present, and the Glonk again showed off like the utter tart it is..

Glonks laugh at howling easterlies.

Much better though, in terms of site rarity [that's on site, not seawatching flypasts], was this little lurker amongst the rocks below The Steps;

Sandpiper Purple!

Common and BH Gulls were messing about in moderate numbers, but not a diver to be seen, perhaps a little less surprisingly, despite careful scanning through the drizzle and spray.

Stronger rain arrived but I was on a mission, and so headed to Meadfoot, where I met up again with The Teacher, and we looked out from the shelter across a slightly more visible Bay than the day before. At least until it tipped across [not really down...]. As I said to him, 'When you can't see Berry Head [before the rain hit, I'd been trying to work out if anybody in Shoalstone shelter was a birder!], it's time to look at the sea!'. We looked. Nada.

He'd had enough [having a larger quotient of Sanity than me], but I still had Unfinished Business and yomped on through the rain to the Harbour.
No Purple Sands on Haldon Pier, as expected in a nasty easterly [but you have to check to prove it.] with a Rockit alone. The young Razorbill was again in the Outer Harbour, but only Shags and Cormorants in the sheltered north end of the Bay- Wait, what's that right tight in off Torre Abbey?? Looks grebey....  Dammit, round to Princess Pier.

Ah ha [after about ten minutes of scanning]; Two GC Grebes. And... ah, that RTD The Artist photo'd so wonderfully the other day! While I'd scuttled around, they'd moved towards Corbyn's Head, the diver was a little further towards Livermead.

2 GC Grebes, lower centre right
RTD [white throat only part really visible], left of centre


What an awful shot. Hand-held in howling rain, autofocus would only lock onto the wall behind them....

Speaking of, I also found a couple of Purple Sands in a very odd place;

Spot the Purple Sands!

This is the Victorian reclaimation wall near the Princess Theatre, right by Torre Abbey beach. I guess on this coast, any shelter with nearby weed is worth it.
I had checked everywhere I could reasonably get to in search of diving things and found three. I figured that would do and headed homewards. I wasn't that soggy, though continuing surprised at just how many people were out in such weathers. [I had hopes, hopes of at least a little solitude; vain foolish hopes.....]

I am still trying to see - and ideally photo! - a Blackstart. I got very close up in the Lincombes, actually heard calls, but not a sniff of a sighting [big private gardens, steep slopes, plurality of rooftops to hide on, the works...]. I'm not giving up.

I have more to say, and better pictures to upload, [the graininess tells of how fun the weather was] but they await my next post.

Be Seeing You...