30 May, 2022

Rollin' Rollin' On...

As you may have gathered, I went scuttling over to a fancy holiday park thing in cornwall on Friday in search of a Roller. Because gorgeous wonderful bird. Also a Lifer. O:)

I casually mentioned I'd be back the next day, as I'd agreed to drive The Teacher and No.1 Son down as soon as news of the Roller had broken.
Now, why did I go on Friday? Well, because I could.
[[And because if I didn't and the thing had pulled a Friday Night Special I'd be spitting teeth....]]

As it happened, the bird, while it did show well for a good 90 minutes for me, was never exactly close and there was a lot of heat haze [note my wonderful snaps]. Thing is, unlike say a Buff-bellied Pipit, a Roller is not only gorgeous, but full of character as well. They're like a cross between a shrike and a flycatcher!

So Better Views Desired.

Anyways, we had a much better trip down, and arrived to find that yes, the bird was still around, but hadn't been seen for more than two hours...

Four hours of nothing after that....

We were putting stuff back into my car when another chap who was also leaving wandered over to make sure we'd seen the bird*- Wait, WHAT???

Yes, maybe 5 minutes after I'd given up a 2.5 hour vigil at the spot where I'd been watching the bird the day before, it had naturally appeared.

Cue a brisk stroll.

Oh, hello there;

Scope-filling views!

[I should point out my camera's autofocus does not like digiscoping, and refuses to give a sharp image. Mutter Mutter]

Roller in Holly

Turquoise blur

Let's have a bit of scenery;

Over there.

This was standing atop a bank - laden with Bramble and Stingy Nettle, having jumped into and scrambled out of a drainage ditch to reach it - with a howling Northerly wind blowing into your face.

Proper birding! :D

More [minus the scope];


Tail porn

On the lookout for Bees!

Hawking bees and dropping on unwary beetles was its main occupation; there were damselflies blown up high [which attracted 46 Jackdaws at one point] but the Roller seemed unwilling to get anywhere near the canopy, let alone above it. It was attacked by a Jackdaw at one point, and was generally very wary [the two things may be related...]; hiding under the overhanging Holly canopy and looking up as a Buzzard cruised over [at some height].

More fun on the way home, as we were treated to a flypast Red Kite over the A30 at Sourton.

A Good day!


Be Seeing You...

[[* It is One Of Those Things You Do; making sure other birders have seen it. :) ]]

28 May, 2022

Time To Rock And


Not exactly close-ups, blasted by glare and heat haze, but oh what a bird!

Yeah, the bright blur..

After the usual twitch-y shennanigans, I enjoyed about an hour and a half of this glorious thing sitting and swooping across a wonderfully set-aside field on the Clowance Estate [who are very laid-back about all the birders wandering around] near Camborne.

Caveats; I managed to miss a flyover Honey Buzzard and I never got to see the Roller close. But through a Great Big Scope, views were lovely!

So much so that I'm going back for more.

[[Yup, Mad.     You're not surprised, are you?]]

Be Seeing You...

25 May, 2022


Let us open with the usual misquotes of mouse-related literature - or rather let us not - and get to what I actually got up to.

The Nose on Sunday morning was hot, sunny, and grockle-infested.

It's definitely Summer, then....

Painted Lady

Sometimes they behave. A bit.

Several of these periodically behaving immigrants are now knocking about.

Now for an ID challenge;

Once I'd assured it my
name wasn't Arabella,
the caterpillar relaxed.

I have some caterpillars shown in my moff books, but not all, and no ID help [bit of a hole, but of course they have a 'caterpillars' book to sell, don't they?].
A couple of these were basking on sunny path spots.

Easier to ID,
The Whitethroat

Yes, 'the'... He's quite distinctive, with feather damage at the bill base,

In better light.

There were two on site the weekend before, but only one found this time. None still in South Side..
Oh, how we have fallen.

Offshore, a little action among distant gulls and Gannets led the eye to a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins [did I mention I'd lugged the Big Scope along? No? Well, I did]. At least 4, feeding in the Outer Bay.

Only slightly closer to, three Common Scoter sat on the sea, attempted to look like other spp., and generally lurked up sun.

Narrow-leaved Vetch

Common Carpet

Hours in and all that.

Be Seeing You...

24 May, 2022

Fairy Country

While all of Devon is Glorious [rhymes with heaven for a reason, you know], some parts of it have been known to take the proverbial.

Sometimes I almost feel sorry for everybody else.

[[I would apologise, but I've met people from somewhere cold and northeasterly with airs illusions of superiority.. ;) ]]

Getting to the point [or thereabouts], I went for an amble with the Folks about a lovely bit of woodland.
That I'm not going to name because it's small and too many people go there already! :P 
[[I'm not having a dig, it's just that google happens...]]

I will include photos, so those who really care can work it out, [and if you know me irl, I'll happily tell you] but suffice to say that lots of bits of Devon look like this, so if you have the chance, you can experience similar places.
We wandered out through a woodscape of undulating slopes; climbing to outcrops and dropping to streams. Above a constant green canopy of leaves, and below a carpet of the same. Shifts in topography and geology meant that the flowers in the carpet changed periodically, though Bluebells were pretty much everywhere. [This being sort of the point]
After a coffee with a view - albeit rather weather-impeded - we went back the other way, along the ridge top. This was a landsscape of lanes and fields, woods and  hedges, still with the periodic shifts in flora.
As you may well have guessed, it was lovely.

Some pics;

The odd orchid or two...

...and an odd moff.
Agonopterix nervosa

The joy of fresh Beech leaves!



Bonsai Oak

It was - despite the uneccessarily inclement weather, misbehaving scenery, and inconvenient hoorays - a rather pleasant time.

The flowers really helped.

Be Seeing You...

23 May, 2022

Patch. Hello There. Again.

The Nose on Sunday was a cloudier and rainier proposition than on Saturday.

Look who I met - of course - on the First Slope;

First of the year...

.. Painted Lady

Also a s/pl GND flew South [ok...] and a dark morph skua sp. flew distantly North.


the other singing

Oh, but think back to when we had getting on for 20 singing Whitethroats at the Nose....

Yeah, yeah, I've moaned about this ever since..


Be Seeing You...

20 May, 2022

Patch. Ok, What's That.....

With the aid of even the teeniest bit of hndsight, this should have been posted on the day.


So, Saturday morning and we have a few things of note at the Nose,

Common Blue

Click Beetle

GBB marmalises
another Spider Crab*

Also avoiding the camera - by a second at most - was a Cirl Bunting [reportable as mobile] and a seaduck sp.

Not avoiding it were 6 more ducks, despite range;

Common Scoter!

3 males, 3 females. In the top pale band of water, can't you tell?

[The Artefact did help, must be said... ::Ominous chanting:: ]

Finally, we come to the point and title thing;

No, not the female Linnet!

Nice wingbar, right?

Answers on a 'Reply', will be treated as confidential on request [honest]

I'm almost tempted to put it on a certain ID forum...




Be Seeing You...

[[* Sorry, 'cornish king crab'.... ::Snigger:: ]]

19 May, 2022

Wild Bird Chase

Turtle Doves and Little Owls are verrrrrry thin on the ground [or a bit above the ground, usually] these days.
I spent a large part of a sunny Saturday looking around former haunts [yeah, spoiler there] for them.
I got exactly nothing.
Well, I saw lots of lovely countryside, and a very nice Hobby; which teased me dreadfully with beautiful views that would have made wonderful photos if I'd just been a second quicker... Then came back around and did it again..!

Glorious Devon

With proper copses and hedges and trees.

And orchids growing by the dozen
along the lanes.
It was all too much for my poor head, which then attacked with an almost unknown ferocity, my other little problem joining in for a double attack that was still echoing when I finally got a couple of hours sleep Sunday morning..
[I did recover, and even got out on said day. Twice. Willpower might have been needed at first, but I felt much better in the afternoon. Honest.]
Anyways, more to come.

Be Seeing You...

18 May, 2022

X-Ray Birding

It is a truth univers-

No, wait, used that one last time.


There are certain things you learn to expect in birding.
One is that certain birds are right little buggers.

Want to see a singing Gropper?

Forget it.

Want to see an Aquatic outside a net?


Anyways, on a slightly less overthetop example, seeing a Garden Warbler is not exactly easy. Especially a singing one.

You'll hear them alright, if you're in the right place at the right time. [Once you know how to tell them from Blackcaps and don't get me started on that]

Seeing them?


Garden Warbler
[if you're very lucky]

Lurking, skulking, hiding. That there is usually the best you'll get, for about a second before vanishing.

Patience. Persistence.

Sheer mindless luck...

"Wait... you can see me?!?"

Most strikingly marked
of all warblers.

If he can't see me...

.. I can catch him singing!

I'm a bit of a fan of the things - irritants though they are - as while they're zog all to look at, they do sing nicely. Better, in my allegedly humble opinion, than Blackcaps [who sound like a cross between a Blackbird and a Robin*]. This may be why Blackcaps have the nasty habit of sounding like them, especially in subsong...

Getting around to more proper blogging, those there were taken you know where, in a landscape filled with Brimstone butterflies [all being right little BLEEPs to try to photo...]. I was looking for them and Spotflies, but found none of the latter.
I did find hordes of mundanes, there being some sort of Event on [arg], but stuff happens...

Oh yes, there.

Many other Summer-y birds, though. It was quite nice.

Away from the crowds.

Be Seeing You...

17 May, 2022

Patch. 4, Oh No, Not Them Again...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Backward Birder will presage warmer weather with pictures of assorted moffs.

Also flowers.

Maybe other arthropods, as well.

Yeah, no excape.

Brown-banded Carder Bee [or just odd Common*]
on one of those great big flower things

Red And Black Rhopalid
[what a name]

These are related to Firebugs, which are an actual thing and apparently live on the frickin' Orestone!! I NEED to find one....


Damned Elusive

Musk Storksbill

Hedgerow Cranesbill

Buff-tailed Bumblebee.
[But it's got a white tail?!?]
[It's a worker. They do. So now we know.] 
[[And knowing is half the battle!]]

Hedge Woundwort

Ok, so you're expecting moffs.
Not great pictures of very common species, sitting at funny angles on walls [and ceilings, sometimes even unlucky cars...].

I do have some.

No, really.
Slow start but we have some.

Just not yet.

Yeah, you've got to wait for the next one.

Or the one after.


Well, I'm a bit behind. [[What's new?]]
Stuff happens, you know?


Be Seeing You...

[[* Gingerness of thorax hair, yellowness of hair around that, and bands on abdomen do indicate BBC, and it is in range here...?? ]]

12 May, 2022

Summer Is Here!




Ok, enough of the usual, I've got something a little different for you;

Wai- Whaaaat?

Tracking a Swift, it dipped below the horizon and the dreaded autofocus of torment and woe did not lock onto the trees or just go out of focus, it still caught the bird. Well, as well as a teeny pocket camera can, anyway!
Look carefully, you can see the translucence of the flight feathers and damage  on the second outer left tail feather [the bird is upperside towards].
I'm moderately impressed, if I do say so myself.

Also, breaking [ish] news from Work, where weeks of skywatching at lunch has produced almost exactly bugger all [two sightings of Stock Dove and a few hirundines. Not even a single Buzzard, FFS...]. Tuesday's effort at last included raptors! Very high up, but 4 of them!
And only one was a Buzzard.

Oh yes, the big influx even found me, with a Red Kite over high from the East, then turning and heading rapidly South, at 1153. A second did the same at a slightly less horrific altitude at 1202, with a third kite going straight on West a minute later.
Also 3 Swift and a couple of hirundines heading North at treetop height.
AND the Pied Wagtails fledged 3 the same day.


Since then? Absolutely bugger all.
Go and indeed figure...

[And no, no photography in the workplace.]

Be Seeing You...

11 May, 2022

Patch. 3, More Of The Same

Well, kinda.

Singing extra-hard to
make up for lost time

Whitethroat at very last. An elusive female the day before [yes, that much a topsy-turvy Spring it has been].





Going around and around in the same things.


Dotted Bee-fly

Ok, not entirely the same things.

HMS Queen Elizabeth

[Still no F35 flight shot though.. :( ]

More to come.

Oh yes.

Be Seeing You...