30 November, 2022

Things Up The Nose

[I will not call this post 'Bogeys' I will not call this post 'Bogeys' I will not call this post 'Bogeys'....]

Additional to the last post, an assortment of things and stuff and so on found up the Nose, mostly on Sunday.
[Ok, yes it's all fungi. Are you really surprised?]
Blackening Waxcap
Crimson Waxcap
Butter Waxcap
Meadow Waxcap
What a lovely prompt for
inappropriate humour...

Slimy Waxcap
and a Fairy Inkcap

H. persistens

Cedarwood Waxcap

Snowy Waxcap

Coprinus impatiens
[very mature]

Nice to finally see them.

Be Seeing You...


After not being able to join in the fun the day before, I somehow managed to drag up and get to the Nose at an almost early hour, in the hope the weather forecast would be accurate and some of the previous day's wind and rain would persist.

Ho ho ho

Ha ha ha.

There was a slick of sorts still going, and if the wind hadn't died, or the rain behaved, it could have been rather interesting...
Bit of swell,
hint of slick
Blobs 8 of 11 GNDs,
rafting north of Ore Stone

Much closer GND

Flypast GND
[one of the 14!]



In 2.5 hours from the Mounds,
[all S unless stated]

GND 14 [also 13+ on sea]
RTD  1
Stormie  1 [0813, heading E fast]
Pom Skua  1 [0841, imm dark/int, N]
Gannet  160
Fulmar  2
Com Gull  2
Med Gull  4

Kittiwakes passing and lingering in the hundreds, auks [mostly Guillemots at first, then more Razorbills] also passing and lingering, including ~310 on the Ore Stone at 0810 and another 350+ flying out of the Bay in one mass at 0830 [these apparently entirely Guillemots]
6+ Common Dolphin came south and loitered to the NE of the Ore Stone

Also 10 Oyk on the Lead Stone, with 3 LBB stopping off there.

GNDs aside, not exactly vast numbers*, and again Grey Phalarope and Leach's evade me, but still much better than the weather merited and certainly worth the try.

Later in the day I took an amble about Haldon with the Folks. It was moderately quiet, with very little stopping to pose - Crossbills and Siskin flyover only, no Redpoll - but still rather scenic,

Pretty Crow photo

Yes, it is Autumn, I think

Giant Funnel

Those the only fungi visible, due to 'foraging'...

A handful of flyover Fieldfare were the only even slightly unusual thing, but it wasn't a birding trip [though a Woodcock or something would have been nice.. ;) ]
[[I perhaps ought to note the coffee and pirate gingercake - whilst watching said sunset - were perhaps the true primary purpose of the afternoon.! o:) ]]

Be Seeing You...

[[* For 'these days'. You used to get big numbers of passing divers on a good day. These were birds which had been roosting in the sheltered waters between Nose and Teign and heading out/onward.]]

26 November, 2022

Cold, Wet, Not Miserable!

The weather continues to be inconvenient.

It really won't do.

But being on Nights gives me a little flexibility.

Anyways, Monday afternoon I was able to get to the Nose for 1.5 hours of fun from The Mounds [up to dusk.!]

I was fooled by all the sunshine into not dressing for a proper winter seawatch and so got a bit chilly [but that's all part of the fun] and very rained on [but had, in a moment of prescience, taken a brolly along at the last moment, which saved me from hypothermia...]
Anyways, my camera continues to be not-entirely-functional [and replacing it is proving difficult, as it and its peers are out of stock everywhere... damn Time Of The Year...] so you're not getting some of the really good stuff [er, my blog definitions of 'really good'], but here's something;
The Goddess of Birding helps
out with Little Auk locating

Note the rainbow-led shower and the actual slick!!

Lots of light gulls on that there brown streak of loveliness, though the best one - a 1cy Little! - buggered off as I arrived and my camera just laughed at me...
Kittiwakes, BHGs, Common Gulls were all present in double figures [more Kitts and BHGs, ratios varying with assumed Kitt passage] with a couple of Med Gulls dropping by [ad and juv]

Small [not Little] Gulls

With a lot of loitering and so on, counting Kittiwake passage wasn't feasible, but I did get a few numbers, all S;

Razorbill  92
Guillemot  7
auk sp.  7
Little Auk  1 [1559*]
Gannet  36
C Scoter  1 [f]

* Loosely with [or possibly being overtaken by] 4 Razorbill, close inshore. It lost me when I tried to zoom in on it, pretty sure by coming in even closer. Also a possible on the Manx line at 1520, but angling away and couldn't rule out Puffin.!

A GND flew in from the north and landed by what turned out to be 4 others north of the Ore Stone Channel. The raft eventually built up to 7 birds, with another [in distinctive near- s/pl] to the south of the Ore Stone. A possible BTD was also present, a big one if it was one, but I was unable to get good enough views with the swell.

An interesting candidate for a subadult YLG spent a while on the Lead Stone [nice boxy white head, good mantle tone] but I couldn't get a usable pic, let alone a look at the wings..

Having rained on me,
that there cloud above the
Ore Stone saunters off over
Lyme Bay...

On my way down, I had a quick look in the newly-opened Top Dell, where I found a lone female Blackcap.
Well, better than just Robins, right?

But definitely worth the effort.

Be Seeing You...

23 November, 2022

Mothus Interruptus

We interrupt this birding nonsense to post some moffs, still hanging about in recent [ish] days..

Feathered Thorn

Rosy Footman

Box Tree Moth


That is all.

Be Seeing You...

21 November, 2022

The Grind. Pt.3, Keeping At It

This could easily have been called 'Getting Rained On Again', but I went the other way.

Well, my head struck again this weekend, but either side of that I gave it what I could around having Important Things to take care of.

Oh yes, getting to That time of year again...

Anyways, one good point was my happening to be vaguely in the area of Exminster on Friday early afternoon, and in need of somewhere to have a quick bite to eat. I may have happened to stick my scope in my car...

Looking all scenic

I limited myself to going through the horde of quacky things in the vain hope of a Green-wing or AmWig  whilst munching a flapjack [and fending off a ravening Robin, whom I had to bribe with a large chunk of my lunch to not chin me....]

The rarest waterfowl I found?


Egyptian Geese....

A few Lapwing

Apply a little zoom

The Barnacle Goose [yes THAT one] was about, but not in my field of view and as I was Being Good [and on a deadline...] I didn't go after it. [Seen him, he can BLEEP off...  Ahem.]

I did get a couple of lovely noisy flyovers - total surprise - but the Rule applies, so unless I've told you in person, you'll just have to wonder :P

Earlier that day, I found the Nose full of the unTrustworthy finally doing some more stuff, though that included taking a Big Strimmer to the Top Dell entrance... No chance for any migrants for this little black duck, then. Cheers.
To anyone visiting, the Lost Bench is back in view for the first time since they themselves covered it in brambles to try to seal said Dell up. [Logic? Sense? Fah, they scoff at such things]

Back at the Nose again on Sunday and I found a single whole and entire female Blackcap in said Dell, but nothing else.
Elsewhere, the Dynamic Duo of Blackstarts were still on South Beach, at least 11 Oyks on the Lead Stone. It also rained on me rather hard, but that's what happens when you go out. Bit of a surprise seeing as how it was Just So Sunny when I set out, see?

Thatcher Rock in a westerly

I got back out to Blackball for dusk, and [after a bit of a wait where I was wondering if it was really going to be worth it...] counted 1000+ large gulls, 13 Kittiwake, 1 Razorbill, and 3 GC Grebes [first of the winter] on a very flat sea.

There are birds out there...

Finally, heading back from the Nose, I looked up and was only just in time with the camera when I heard this flyover;

Spot the C-130J

There will be More  [oh yes... Heh heh heh]

But until then, I shall [as hopefully ever]

Be Seeing You...

17 November, 2022

Proper Birding; Mist, Mud, And Moments Of Magic

While I should have perhaps been off looking for achievable yearticks, I had Unfinished Business to take care of.

As you may recall, I am wont to go up on t'Moor every Autumn to practice my fieldcraft against the winter thrushes. 'Fieldcraft vs Fieldfares' and so on.

I have been out playing with thrushes [Emsworthy, remember?] but it's not quite the same as the proper unenclosed Moor. Also, I've not been Up for a while and you pine, you know?

Yup, Holne and the Mardle.

The weather was not helpful. At all.

Hillscraper clouds and mistyfog reduced visibility to 30m or less, with only the odd patch of clarity for most of the morning. This is at or under flush range for thrushes - they are twitchy things, why they're good practice - so you have almost no chance to see and approach with care.

It being a bit late in the season, the berries were almost entirely stripped, with birds mostly foraging on the still very soft ground and so even harder to see and more cautious with it.

Added to that, my camera threw a proper hissyfit - I'm going to have to admit it's needing replacement - so shooting what I did find was, er, problematic.


Misty moisty morning

Very atmospheric and so on, also wonderfully quiet  :)

Itsa Holly Tree

There were 12 Redwing in that there Holly, which I was carefully stalking, until whoooosh! off they went. Bugger? Oh look, nice female Sprawk came in from the other side.
Closest I got to a picture..

After working along Holne Lee to and around the upper Mardle, where I flushed a Snipe but found no Ouzels, I doubled back to the top of Holy Brook as the weather amazingly cleared up.

Lunch and a couple of hours of attempted vismigging ensued!

Ok, the visibility didn't last..

Small parties of Woodpigs, Mistle Thrushes, Siskin, and Greenfinch passed by, but it was pretty quiet on that front.

Closer-to, though,

GSW, foraging
in a small Hawthorn
at ~15m from me

Kestrel, hunting
almost overhead!

Close enough for me to hear the tap-tapping of the woodie and the Thump! when the Kestrel dropped on something [she missed]

Not bad..

Even better was what rolled into my bin view as I was tracking an odd-looking thrush [I have no idea, odd-plumaged Fieldfare, maybe] down the Mardle, quite high up...

Oh I say what's that lanky raptor?
Thrush dropped, actively-flying raptor coming in near head-on and well above me [a good 100' up] suddenly shifted course and started gaining height. Long tail, long wings, slim body.. Kestrel? Wings wrong. Kinda browny, Sprawk? Wings very wrong, but oh look what else is there.. Adult Peregrine in the same airspace, not doing anything in particular, but the raptor clearly was 'Nope!' and got above it sharpish. And they were of a size.
Similar wingspan, raptor longer but much more lightly-built.
So, I thought very hard, how big is a Hen Harrier, really?
They give the impression of being Buzzard-sized, but, aren't they actually teeny?

I couldn't remember. And as this was no ghost-grey adult male, I was filled with [slightly embarrassing - I should know this] hesitation.

All this was going on above the horizon and upsun, and my camera was sulking, so you're getting nothing. I watched the bird gain height and head off west over the ridge, crossing north of Puper's.

Those of you who know [or have checked] dimensions will know that yes, HH is indeed about that size and a ringtail HH is what it was. So slim-looking I'd suggest a young male, but.. Well.

Anyways, once the cloud had closed in again, I went over the ridge of the moor to the back of Venford, where a gap in the gunk showed 8 Goosander and 3 Mallard on the water.

My camera would periodically work a bit at certain focal lengths, and so I got a few pictures of things that stayed put for the time I needed to coax operability. Sometimes a minute or more;

Goblet Waxcap

Vermillion Waxcap

Cedarwood Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap

Dacrymyces chrysospermus

Great Big Slug sp.!

Aside from photographic vexation [and the chap in the fancy black Hilux right up on Holne Moor; camera sulked so no proof, alas..] and a slight lack of numbers - understandable with date and weather - it was a very enjoyable time, with 6 spp. of raptors though only 4 thrushes!

Be Seeing You...

14 November, 2022

The Grind. Pt.2, Nuggets Of Joy

With the main rush of migration [possibly] passing, it gets to the hard end of the year.
Shorter days and colder weather compress matters too [though the reduced need to get up so early in the morning to be out at first light is nice, I must admit!]

Wintering and later-passing birds are still out there, and as one with a deranged compulsion self-inflicted torture yearlist to think of I have even more need to keep at it.

I bashed a fair bit of the more sheltered side of the Patch on Saturday, with a few parties of mobile Redwing and another nice juvenile Sprawk the [scattered] highlights.
Eventually I got to the Nose, where The Irregulars had turned up a Blackstart or two.

Black Redstart,
female type

Sometimes birds behave. 

Black Redstart,
adult male

Sometimes... Not so much.
Gorgeous bird, though.

Also behaving at the Nose;



Shaggy Parasol

Of interest, not a single waxcap of any sp. to be found. The fact that the 'trust' delayed hacking the Bracken until the 2nd week of November [and still haven't taken the grass cuttings..] may well have something to do with it. [Or, to be fair, maybe they took against the weather this Summer and aren't feeling frisky; though they are up on t'Moor, as you will see]

Let's have something from Not the Nose..

Longquarry Point, seen
from Babba's Combe

Grinding continued this afternoon [eventually], with a few phylloscs about - though hardly any calling let alone showing, the little scamps - and a nice party of 4 Redpoll low overhead [S] the definite best bit. Still no sign of that Eider, and General Thought is that he's done as they seem to do nowadays, and moved on. He or other[s] may re-appear next month or so...?

Gotta keep [the Nose]* at it!

Be Seeing You...

[[* Yes... Now you get it. ]]