28 April, 2022

Tarting About t'Exe Looking For Year Ticks

So the whole yearlisting thing involves a fair amount of frantic twitching scarcities - never mind actual rarities - when they pop up.

Double Duck Dipping vexed me mightily [though it seems that one is being chucked out for reasons I'm not entirely sure of..??] but I still ended up zipping over to Exminster twice after hard-to-see birds.
The first being from work, the second from up on t'Moor....

Right then, let's hit some moderately ok [giving due respect to lack of sunshine..] pictures of Things Assorted;

Guess hoo-t?

"That pun was despicable..."

Short-eared Owl. Gotcha.

Twerk it baby, yeah!

Jack Snipe. Ditto.

Wait a minute, that's
not a gull...

Not a Kestrel, either!

Osprey. [Always keep an eye on what's casually flying overhead. Even when cooing over ridiculously showy Jack Snipes..!]

It was a pleasant change to actually see what I was looking for [eventually] with the odd bonus, too.
Also running into assorted of Devon's Finest [and Most Infamous ;) ].

Meanwhile, on The Patch [on account of still not being mended... :/ ]-

Will be in another post.


Be Seeing You...

25 April, 2022

Tarting About t'Moor Looking For Year Ticks

Though the Patch has been dealing a fair few, I've been off away - and not just partaking in wild duck warbler chases - looking for this that and the other..

Sometimes even seeing them.

Flyd Piecatcher

This dear thing was not my first of the year, but came along while I was sat waiting [with rations] in the vain hope of Something Else.

Also near that failure,

Tree Pipit

So so close. So so upSun.....



Now that one's a year tick. :)

So's this!

[Devon, that is... Ahem.]


I do so love Whinchats.

I did a little gentle yomping on Friday, as my ribs felt better so I thought it perspicacious to start getting back into shape. Turns out the ribs were faking it and gleefully started acting up again. Bugger.

Things got even more interesting as I - while well away from my car and not long after finally catching up with that Whinchat - got a text from the Teacher concerning a Jack Snipe he'd found. Tarting about in the open* on Exminster. [The Jack, that is, not the Teacher.!]

What happened next?

Well, the next post may well reveal.... Something.
Will it be mud, gateposts and no birds, or maybe feathered things upon said?

Oh, the suspense.

Be Seeing You...

[[* They do not do this. Also they vanish when named, being Quantum Birds.**]]
[[** Thus again clearly demonstrating the Power of The Artefact... ::Ominous Chanting:: ]]

24 April, 2022

And Now For Something Completely Similar. Pt.2, Also The Sunshine..?

Spring is sproinging its best and with all the warmth, assorted things are putting in appearances. Like this;

Dark-bordered Bee-fly!

Yes, of course it's the common one that poses so wonderfully, but at least 2 more occur at the Nose and I will keep my lens peeled [ho ho].

Rockit strikes a pose

Dovesfoot Cranesbill

Great Black-backed Gull
Spider Crab

Clarke's Mining Bee?

Epistrophe grossulariae

"Finish her!"
Mortal Kombat: Red Ants


Honey Bee

I will resume posting, and perhaps even start talking about seeing things, soon.


[I have been. Seeing things.]

But I need to just get something posted, so here we go.

Be Seeing You...

19 April, 2022

And Now For Something Completely Similar. Pt.1, The Fog....

With my intercostals still healing, I am restricted to light duty [attempts at not so light duty having Consequences]. No running around lugging rucksacks over t'Moor or Big Scopes here, there, and everywhere  [I can get away with brief short distances, though].

Bashing the Patch is of course good for the karma and sometimes even the Yearlist, so silver linings and all that, eh?

Getting on with it.

Like it says up there.

Nice viewing conditions for birders with thermal optics...
Assorted Eiders and Puffins have been sitting on the sea at ranges varying from 'How far?!?'  to 'Oh come on.....' - at least when I've been there. I shall spare you blobs - no matter how well-witnessed their taking was - and instead unleash this upon your poor eyes;

These are actually subadult males, but only came within a kilometre while totally upsun [yes, even with the fog, still silhouetted by it...].

Other birds showed a leeetle closer;

Willow Warbler
[moving rapidly]

[bit distant in fog]

[said I'd show you
a better one!]

Puffins, Manxies, Common Scoters, Brent Geese [!] [[Ok, I saw one, and flying with a Canada Goose of all thiings.. And going South?!? ]] and almost entirely Sandwich Terns have been flying by. On Saturday there were 2 Puffins sat on the sea, one of which flew off South and then another flew by while no. 2 was still under the baleful gaze of The Artefact...! Super thick fog on Thursday hid many passing terns, of which one group were Commons by call. I am pretty sure - due to low numbers passing, if nothing else - that they were the 4 which passed close inshore at Dawlish Warren a couple of hours later while I was looking in vain for non-existant ducks.. [Ahem]

Right, enough of this. I will continue the Fun soon!

[Heh heh heh...]

Be Seeing You...

18 April, 2022

Deja-vu. Again.

Another day after Nights.
Another report of a needed yeartick in duck form.
Another ill-advised twitch.

Another lack of communication of a vital detail.

Another frickin' dip.

Here's what was visible at Dawlish Warren;


Despite having posted that, I didn't see nothing.
[No, I'm not apologising for that sentence. Read it and know a fraction of my suffering*. :p ]

A Whimbrel flew by and into the Exe very close in, and at least a half dozen Sarnies were more heard than seen. More seen than heard were 4 Common Terns - which I'd almost certainly heard earlier at the Nose! - which were very welcome. That, however, was it. The fog had not only not cleared but thickened, and then it got even worse.

Mutter mutter mutter.

That miscommunication I mentioned? The LTD [with a flock of C Scoter] that I was looking for was, in fact, a fly-through. Small detail, two little words would have helped; want of a nail and all that.

Oh well.

Patchy posts with actual pictures of birds and things will follow.

Be Seeing You...

[[* No, not sadism. Art. :) ]]

16 April, 2022

Overdue Patch Post

Ooops, totally forgot I needed to write this..!


Grinding on the Patch - almost entirely at the Nose - has led to a few migrants in the last week [not this weekend, this is an overdue post, remember]. It's not all been cursing the idiocy of my fellow semi-evolved apes.   Not all.

Right, how's this for starters?


My second of the year - I'm on 3 so far as of now... - striking a lovely pose for me. :D

Brown and white blur

Flushed off the rocks at Sandy Point and zipped off North.
[I will be putting better Whimbrel shots up soon. Honest.]


Portland Spurge

That Whimbrel and Wheatear followed an hour's seawatch on the 10th. 100/23 Manx, 6 Sarnie, 30 Gannet, 18 Guillemot, 7 Razorbill, and 1 Fulmar were the passing birds between 18- and 1900!
[This after my head attacked again but was unusually defeated before the sun set. The Teacher had had 'lots of Manxies' so I was determined!]

Another go early the next afternoon gave 15 Sarnies heading north in 10 minutes, accompanied by a gull smaller than they were; Little Gull! Looked like a 2cy but didn't have much on the upperwings so might have been a not-very-hoody 3cy. Little Gulls have been knocking about Lyme Bay all winter [it seems to me, at least] but I've kept not seeing them, so this was most satisfying. I didn't get much else, though an influx of singing Chiffs and Blackcaps - well inland not just coastal - was noticable.

Let's have something else new;

It's a Bee.
Despite the book,
I can't ID it...

Keeping on keeping on.

Be Seeing You...

12 April, 2022

Wild Duck Chase

Reports of a nice Green-winged Teal at the Backwater had me scurrying over straight from work on Saturday [Oh yes...].

Reader, I dipped him.

::Many Ancient Devonian swear-words::

Some scenery;

Bridge Marsh

Wrong Teal

Those two were the only Teal of any flavour I saw at all, even though on the 'right' scrape.
Drat and double drat and so on.

A singing Willow Warbler was but a nutmeg of consolation, and to be fair it was good to just be over there. The Backwater is wonderful birding country, with hides designed by people who have an actual clue [take notes rspb], and a great crew of locals. Speaking of, running into Bun was worth the trip on its own [wotcher, mate!]  :)

The Black Hole,
from the Farm Gate

Eventually giving up, I took a scenic route home and while I saw exactly zero owls of any flavour, I was rewarded with a nice Grey Partridge 'somewhere east of the Exe'.

Scarcities and rares are what get you a big yearlist [the 'usual 200' just take persistence], so this had to be tried. Hopefully he'll be back in the far end of the year.

Be Seeing You...

Short And Sharp

I have proper posts coming, but first of all, you may recall the orchid I pictured in my last post?

Last one at the Nose, that one*.

I can't put my
finger on it
but something's

Yup, some waste of oxygen has come along and...

Taking a few more deep breaths, I consider it to be like a dog attacking roosting waders. You blame the owner.
People are simply not taught how to behave properly. No responsibility any more, is there?
Also of note, tracks of a couple of mountain bikes down the cliff section of the steps path. Someone will get seriously hurt because the council in their infinite idiocy neglected to put NO FUCKING BICYCLES! on the little sign everyone ignores by the entrance**. Yes, already illegal to ride a bike there, but you have to point it out in big red letters for the hard of thinking...
I ought to calm down before I post [[Oh, just imagine me on twitter....!!]],  and I really thought I had.

Oh well.

I will post again, proper birding-type things and hopefully maybe even in a more restrained manner.

Be Seeing You...

[[* There was another, but it's been trampled out of existence by people too lazy to use a path with a couple of small bushes by it. ]]
[[** To be fair, the guilty parties are probably the type you need to make it physically impossible to get a bike in*** to stop. ]]
[[*** Deer fencing and anti-cycle gates, such as at the top of Yarner. Yes, really. ]]

07 April, 2022

Grinding On

Plans, assorted, were thrown out by my pinged ribs, so I spent the weekend trying to heal [willpower - hey it might work - and rest] and taking a daily gentle stagger over to the Nose. This worked quite well on Saturday - as you may have seen below - but generally things have been horribly quiet.

Not completely dead, mind.

But we'll get to that.

We'll open up with Star Image of the post, as Spring is trying its best to sproing and despite some chilling - not to mention wind-blasting - one of the Last Two has popped up again;

Heath Spotted Orchid

Also popping up - as I was leaving in vexation on Monday afternoon - my first Willow Warbler of the year. Very close-to in the Entrance Bushes, it moved off into the Top Dell and was far more interested in stuffing its bill than singing. Still lovely to see.

Only even vaguely news-worthy things in front of camera were..

Grey Seal

Brown slug

Purple Sandpiper

This was Sunday's highlight, briefly coming up into view.


Now wandering about in pairs, will they succeed this year?


On the Mud Path on Sunday, presumably died of shock via dog encounter...

Bit too grim to end on, perhaps. Let's see something purdy, then.

Early Dog Violet

[Out later than Common Dog Violets for reasons best known to themselves]

Still no Swallows - for me at least - and while the gulls [and Buzzards] have gone off spectacularly a few times, no passing raptors have flown through my field of view..


But we keep at it.

Be Seeing You...

03 April, 2022

Crake, Spotted.

Fun and games and a need for covid-cover had me working surprise dayshift at work this week, with extra hours too. So naturally, a showy spring Spotted Crake was found.

I was very good and waited until work was through - having Friday off for a trip to TH* - on Thursday to zip over to Exminster and defy a frozen blast of Arctic Air to see if a little speckly bird would come out of cover for us. The weather did not do anything to help, smiting the most visible sections of the Crake's favoured cover, glaring sunshine off the water at us, and, oh yes, snowing!

'Us' being assorted hopefuls, who were gradually whittled down by time and cold, until The Artist Himself arrived. The venerable one, it turned out, needed Spake for Devon, so made a very uncharacteristic twitch. Good thing he did, too, as it was surely his Power [it was his ownership which imbued The Artefact, after all] that summoned first a lovely Ruff at very close range, before at the 'yes it really is' time of 1954, the Spotted Crake broke cover and spent 3 minutes being utterly adorable for 4 birders and a passing mundane. A few minutes hidden and then it came out again.
Much rejoicing ensued.

My camera was necessarily in nightshoot mode, so half mag pics, but I got somethings;

Spotted Crake!

Yes, that thing in the middle

Teal on the left, btw

Let's see that Ruff;


And zoom out a bit.

Crake country

And maybe turn the lights up,

Looking through a hedge, of course...

Also on site, a close Spoonbill!!!!

Asleep, of course...

You can't have everything.

At least 3 Marsh Harriers - whose attentions may well have contributed to the Spake's elusiveness - were prowling about. One of them got something small with long legs and long toes. For a worrying while it was feared that it was the Crake, but having had a think - and a check of comparative sizes - I reckon a Water Rail was the most likely victim. Whichever, it was robbed by a Crow, which spent a long while gleefully hidden with the remains.
A Common Sand flew in and vanished into cover - first for the year, would you believe! - and there were still scatterings of wintering waders and waterfowl, though no hirundines or anything else Spring-like.

I was a very cold but very happy birder on my way home, I can tell you!

Be Seeing You...

[[* Irony being ironic, it got last-minute covid-cancelled. ]]

02 April, 2022

Spring Is Here At Last

After far far too long, with many interventions by inclement weather and even more inclement head, I have finally made it into Spring.

Yes, the first confirmed* Wheatear at Hope's Nose!!



Wheatears strike poses, they're lovely;

"This is definitely my good side"

More surprisingly [though at a more appropriate date for a first one] was a Redstart in the upper South Side. Calling and being unhelpful, it was still pre-Wheatear, and I really didn't expect to ever be saying that!
The Black version was still loitering about the Sandy Beach, and the Eider likewise about the Oysterbeds. No Sarnies down here - the sea was very quiet - though the Guilles are back on the Ore Stone ledges. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in song are multiplying in numbers and extent.

Also out now;

Bloody-nosed Beetle

But is the sheen
purple or green?

Shining Cranesbill

Summery Rockit

I wasn't alone at the Nose this morning, with no less than 4 birders on site; positively crowded! The sunshine was warm and the wind, though toothily cold, nowhere near as strong as expected [for once]. We were more than half-expecting a Swallow or two in/off, but no dice.

I slowly staggered home [[Oh, did I forget to mention? I've twoinged my intercostals again. Still got that plague, too... Yeah, so much fun. But it has to be kept gently moving.   ]] to have my afternoon interrupted twice by 'air raid' alarms going off. The first one even had the Buzzards up, but could I get on it? Could I f-

Drat. Again.

But still. WHEATEAR!!!!!


Be Seeing You...

[[* As far as I am aware, these are the first photos of Wheatear at Hope's Nose this year.
'Pics or it didn't happen' goes both ways. :P ]]