31 August, 2022

It's Not Raining. Why Is It Not Raining?!?

The August bank holiday weekend is traditionally one of rain. Wind. Depressed mundanes and happy seawatchers.


Not so this time around.

Bah humbug.

I was woken by my evil alarm woke early on Saturday, saw blue skies and no wind* and promptly went back to bed...
[[I have to get up at ohmysweetGoddesswhatabominationofanhourdoyoucallthis?!?!? o'clock for work, so doing it at the weekend is above and beyond. :p ]]

Saturday evening I toddled over to the Nose.
[I may have baked some stuff in between, didn't do nuffin' 'k?]

classic conditions...

The sea held my
full attention..

But we have to have something, so here's a gull for you..
[oh noes...]


The actual seawatching?

Miss Adams applies...

Dusk fell as I wandered home, and I finally got something new.. Bats! Pipistrelles by hour and look of them, at least 5 along IMD and @ Stoodley [one at the latter flying right into me!?! Bats are very soft, btw]

I even sort-of hit one;

Spot the bat!

Later detecting from Home gave Common Pipistrelles, up close and personal [though not quite that close!].

Sunday morning I was dragged from my bed by my alarm up at a fairly early hour and this time, seeing both cloud and some wind, I took the Big Scope over to the Nose.

The sea got 2 hours from Sunrise Bench - I correctly expected passage to vary between 'offshore' and 'closer to Fraggle Rock'..... - and I got far more than I expected!


Being the exception, many passing high up and close in.

Actual numbers? Realllllly?

Cloud made the difference.

[All S unless stated]
In 2 hrs.

Gannet  298/8
Kittiwake  4
Fulmar  6
Med Gull  1
Sarnie  3
Com Tern  2
Arctic Tern  1
Balearic Shear  11
shear sp.  1
Sooty Shear  1 [0849]
Bonxie  1 [0906]

The Bonxie was trolling along, then made a sudden 180° and pounced on a group of hitherto unseen Balearics, sat minding their own beeswax on the Manx line [behind the Ore Stone, sneaky things; good job I was so high up!]. Usual 'bowling ball on skittles' effect...

Also at least 3 Swallows past S and a Clouded Yellow on the Mud path.

The Sun came out and everything vanished [such as it was]. Bigger clouds passed to N and S, and I wonder what was under them..
Not to complain, did far better than expected.

The day was not done, either.

But that shall have to wait.

Be Seeing You...

[[* Trees.]]

27 August, 2022

What's In A Name?

Let us begin with a  'You were warned, remember?'   :)

Moths, moths, moths.

Why did I first get interested in them?
Well, it comes from seeing sightings reports, and all those weird wonderful 'What the actual..?!?' names so many of them have.
Butterflies tend to the functional; 'Marsh Fritillary'... It's a fritillary that you'll find in marshy areas. 'Large White'... Yeah, exactly.

Then you get the moths.
Oh do you get them.

One name that stood out to me, reading lists of light-trapped lovelies [many seemingly near-identical brown oblong-things] was what seemed to be the most gratuitously over-named thing going. It caught in my memory and has stuck there ever since.

This week, at long last, I've seen one.

It was sat on my car, tucked in tight to the windscreen wiper, and I noticed it only as I drove off. 
Pull over, camera out, what's this?


A bit burned out, but not
a bad pic for the hour....

This - and those triangles with black bits next to them are characteristic - is none other than the wonderfully titled

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Yes, really.*

[The black marks look like a Hebrew letter, allegedly. And yes there is a Hebrew Character, too...]

I am more than a little delighted.

While I'm at the moths, here are some more...
[Oh dear]

A Beauty**

It was a Heart And Dart, 
in the time it took
to get my camera
it became dinner....
[Four-spotted Footman eyes
very hopeful spider and 
says "Try it, mate"]

Small Dusty Wave

August Thorn


One that got away.!

Portland Ribbon Wave

Dark Sword-grass

Minor Shoulder-knot
f. saliceti

Mecyna asinalis
At last! 
[Of course it's one of those 
'technical' micros.....]


[[You may quake in fear to learn that I have Yet More in the works. Worse, they're almost entirely pugs and crambids....  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgghhhh...... ]]

Be Seeing You...

[[* Which is actually very common and generally all over the place if you're a proper mother with a light trap and so on.... ]]
[[** This looks like a Great Oak Beauty, 2nd gen., but while they do occur 'in Devon' - according to W,T,L - Willow Beauty is the only one of the beauty spp. in range on the maps.. Hmm.]]

25 August, 2022

The Sea Watch(ers)

I'm no van Rijn, but sometimes a photo just works.

The Teacher and The Murphys

[Yes, that is Steph seawatching freely and of her own will.! ;) ]

[[Even staying out in the rain....]]
[[[Ok, she spent most time chasing Hummingbird Hawkmoths with her Great Big Humungous Camera Of Shootyness*, {and said moffs clearly like her far more than me} ::deep breath:: but she did seawatch as clear photographic evidence shows.
Done it here once, now time for Porthgwarra, right? ;) ]]]


Thus it was at the Nose on Sunday morning, with 3.5 hours watched from out on The End, and yes it even rained quite hard on us.
[I had defied the weather in the hope of prompting this and got a bit soggy, but cared not!]

We had some numbers, and some of those even got themselves recorded;
[All S unless stated]

Balearics  79
Manxies  15
Med Gulls  11
BHG  14
Guillemots  2 [on the sea]
Fulmar  9
Kittiwakes  650+ [~650 on the sea when we arrived, eventually dispersing**, and a passage after]
C Scoter  3N/3S [quite likely same 3 birds messing about]
Gannets  [passing in low but steady numbers]
Whimbrel  2

Flew in just to pose
for the camera, darling!

Two pods of Bottlenose Dolphin offshore, at least 5 in one, 4 in the other [and likely a lot more in both] and a pod of Common Dolphin closer inshore, at least 4 and probably more;

"No, no, no,
I'm supposed to be in 
front for the group photo!"

** Look at this. Those white things are all Kittiwakes [ok, there's 1 adult Med Gull, too...]

Just a fraction

Also of note,

'Pilgrim' cutting it a
little finer than anglers,
and perhaps owner, would like!

Finally hit a flyover Fulmar!

They've done it again!

The world's hardest Oystercatchers have fledged two juveniles :D
Here we have one of the Mighty Two - in heavy moult - with said kids [note juvs' grey legs and neat plumage].

It wasn't just Steph looking at bugs, and as these were on a Rock Samphire right by me....

Holy nectar-sippers!

The Batman Hoverfly, in full Adam West mode  :D

The commonest,

most boringest,
and yet most variable
of hoverflies...

Despite the lack of desired species [for me at least, Balearics were wanted by everyone else!], it was a good morning, not least due to much of the Uusal Suspects being present together for once!

Be Seeing You...

[[* Have you seen her twitter? No??? Then go and be suitably amazed. ]]

21 August, 2022

Noisy Little Darlings

Friday, early evening.
I was interrupted whilst messing about online doing something important by a great commotion outside my window.

But what's all this?


Not only did I get one on the property on camera, but it was a member of a family party!
At least 4 [incl. 2 juvs seen together] very busy and vocal in that tree out there ::points:: before moving off over the road.



Be Seeing You...

[[Firecrests? Breeding?? Somewhere on the Patch???   I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.... ]]

19 August, 2022

That Patch Place...

Again, defying heat and Sun and hordes of frothing grockles... [eeeeeesh], I have been down the Nose [and elsewhere, but less said the better]

I've even been staring at the sea.



Arriving last Saturday at 0645 [what does the 0 stand for...? Exactly.] I found, well, bugger all.
No land migrants, but three Oyks on the shore and a few Gannets offshore.
Some feeding activity was going on waaaaaaay off to the SE [and probably was stuffed with Balearics, judging by pelagic results] but Gannets and gulls aside, nothing could be ID'd through the heat haze [yes, even that early]

What did he get?

Try these;

Autumn Lady's-tresses

In the garden of The Bestest House - along with a Wall - none at the Nose.
I contented myself with photographing flower-lurking insects;

Chrysotoxum elegans

Eumerus funeralis*

Welted Mason Bee??

Long-faced Furrow Bee?
Or Green Furrow Bee?

Also, this chap reeling in the Bass in his gill nets...



Here's some overdue gully goodness;

The Horror....The Horror...!!!

Love that manky moulting monster!

In other news, my Last Swift was as recent as the evening of the same day, seen from Home at 1920, feeding overhead at the usual foraging height of the locals.

And finally;

{In one's best Richard of York}  A Storm, A Storm, my yearlist needs a storm!!!

Be Seeing You...

[[* Note exposed hind leg, showing shiny bare patch, allowing ID to sp.! :D ]]

16 August, 2022

This Post May Still Contain Punnes

'A punne, or play-on-words' as the Master usually put it.

Yeah, you'll be getting a few of these, though nowhere nearly as dangerous to life and sanity as the great Sir Pterry's... [Or as good, obv.]

So, what's to do with the punfest and why am I so Choughed with myself that I can't resist them?

Well, you see, I've coveted certain mis-named corvids for a long, long while. And giving the cornish a load of our Cirls without getting any back just added salt to the wound, I can tell you.
Other people coming by them in Devon just stopped me forgetting, and well, recent events...
Anyways, a report on saturday of '5 around Prawle' was too much to bear, and as I actually had a Sunday to play with, I reckoned it worth a try and damn the heatpedoes [that was very bad]

A fresh breeze of a vaguely easterly direction was blowing, which helped a lot until you got out of it, but oooch it was toasty.

I parked at the top due to the nt being gimps, and walked a goodly loop. Coming back up was not amusing, but I made it, despite Choughing away like a steam engine at the top of the steepest bit...

And, despite finding large areas of Choughless sun-baked coast, I did eventually encounter 

Well, you've seen the thumbnail already, right?


[Jackdaws say 'chuff!'.]


I think I have something to crow about: Devon Tick and a very showy one!

Chough on deck.

In a cattle field.

See one, get one free;

"Hey. You got any sammiches?"

I know these aren't much to rook at, but Choughs are right little buggers when it's time to get the camera on them. I'm sure it's deliberate.
Just like they are at sites further west, they're either right there and so obvious, or just... Gone.

I didn't just see the noisy darlings, I even gave the sea an hour [ho ho frickin' ho], and assorted pictures are now on show;

Clouded Yellow

One of at least 4 present :)

Distant Wheatears

[just these 2, though]

Birder's view ;)

Six-spot Burnet
on Creeping Thistle

Small White

Some stripey thing,
dozens of them about...

At least 10 Oystercatcher and two parties [10 total] of Ringed Plover, put up by free-running dogs, of course... 

Gulls, too! [On islands, being Not Daft]. Only one picture, as I know Mercy;
Gull ID Challenge!

[But not that much... Heh heh heh]

How many species can YOU see?

And now for a little scenery,

Looking towards Peartree Point.

[Compare that one with the same view on the Buff-bellied Pipit twitch....]

Prawle Point

That arch looks like it's just been stuck on as an afterthought, doesn't it?

Bolt Head, with
Starehole Valley partly
hidden by Sharptor

Showing why you get so many good things in Starehole; first and last sheltered stop. The pond [fresh water = massive magnet] is just under the left building, level with lowest tan field, in this view.

Stone wall style

Gammon Head* **

::Swats Sting::


An aside now. 
It is an infamous fact that the mobile reception around Prawle is, not so much poor as totally absent. Even in line of sight to Salcombe you get nothing.
Even up atop the plateau at East Prawle village, you've got to stand on a bench and hope...
So I was just slightly surprised to get a text message [on my yes utterly ancient phone {before anyone has conniptions, look at the blog title, folks 😉 } ].
It started like this;

Now that's a powerful mobile tower!

Changing subject;

Most interesting thing I
saw at Slapton Bridge
on the way home..

Oh yes, I happened to be passing a site where a Spotted Crake has been tarting about on my way home. It would have been rude not to drop in on the off chance.

No chance.

[Crakes are very dawn and dusk, usually!]

And whilst the numbers of idiots on the roads was... well, what you'd expect for a sunny Sunday in August [ie. meeeeeeellions] it was still a jolly good day out.
More Choughage!
Choughed off

Be Seeing You...

[[* Yes, that's Salcombe in the background. Yes, they go by yacht to the beach.... ]]
[[** I always think it looks like Red Dwarf, myself.. :D ]]