31 January, 2023

Birding With The Folks

You could call it going for a walk about Slapton Ley, but when everyone's toting optics and the star turn was this;

Marsh Harrier, 2cy

I think you'll agree we were birding.


Ok, maybe the Marshie had some competition..


Dun-dun dun-dun
dun-dun dah-da


[Yup, even a flight shot; just look at that keel!]
[[Ok, the Mute Swan photobombed it, but considering how hard my camera tried to stop me getting anything...]]

Slightly better flight shot,

"Worship my fringes!"

Though for sheer showing effort, this Rook was on top;

Yes, Rooks are pretty.

Unlike the Pochard,


And as for the Cattle Egret...

No, it is one. 
[C'mon, look; cattle!]

The wind was a bit nippy, and it got all drizzly [bad weather forecasters, naughty weather forecasters, telling lies again; sunshine my ar-] late on. Oh, and the Goldeneye were hiding [and where's a Bittern when you want one, eh?]

But seriously, it was all rather fun, even if my gingernuts came out as gingerchews...* [Though to be fair, they tasted ok, which is what really matters.] That the Marshie came by as we were sat in a lovely and very sheltered spot was just wonderful timing. [We may have sat there some time, but well, you know how it is :) ]. And yes, I did do some counting [!]; there were 59 Wigeon in Ireland Bay.

And finally, a little more Spring;


Be Seeing You...

[[* I followed Mary Berry's recipe exactly, too. Tut and double tut. Come back Deliah, all is forgiven!]]

27 January, 2023

Glorious Devon

The sun shone, the wind failed to howl, and I decided to take myself off to go wandering about the countryside.

No, not t'Moor - there is more to Devon than Moor and Coast, you know - indeed a place I'm quite fond of, especially in the winter when it's quieter [all the second {third} homes and holiday lets being empty]. I consider it Glorious.

Observe and try to argue;

Green and misty land

Still January, though...

There was a decided nip in the air, and indeed the roads were a little... glacial. Parking where safe and walking a fair few miles on foot ensued [no problems with that; good for you and you see and especially hear more birds :D ], though sometimes a bit gingerly.

Frozen Deceiver!

Still snow lying in places, even.
This being proper rolling countryside, full-on industrial farming has been impractical and so there are still some farmland birds about. Now also a pleasing number of landowners who take active care. :)
With almost traffic-free lanes, I could concentrate on ambling around enjoying myself, and did so   :D

Anyways, what was about?


Four flying Fieldfare!

If you stay put quietly, sometimes they'll come to you;

"What's that click sound??"

But most birds just flew overhead with various levels of vocal prettiness


Lark ascending

Linnet posing

Ok, sometimes they landed. See previous comment.

Stonechat getting
all atmospheric

Lark descending

Scuse the pic* but I just had to..

Lark departing

Sorry, sorry...  I'm stopping now, please put the sticks down.

Pointing the camera away from the sky,

Hold on, you're not
a Chaffinch...

"Yeah, neither am I"

Going through hordes of Chaffinches and Linnets did eventually pay off. :D

As you could see, said farmland is dotted with small woods - very nice - and in same were the usual spp., mostly keeping moving to stay warm! But someone struck a pose for me;

Also not a Chaffinch

And speaking of poses..

Heh heh heh...


"Yeah, I can jump that"

Fallow Deer,
dark morph

Nothing like being inconspicuous, though with the frequent surprise ice patches, it was pretty much mandatory.! It certainly paid off, with those two far closer than you expect non-farmed deer to be.

To end, a final image.

Amidst snow and ice,
Spring is coming...

Be Seeing You...

[[* Photographing flyover birds in low sunshine is not at all easy. They seem to make a habit** of flying so that the Sun catches you in the corner of your eye as you track them. Cue total loss of vision, random shooting, and much frustration... ]]
[[** Though with all the shotgun-toting loonies tweeded persons about, it may be evolution in action?]]

26 January, 2023

More Ketchup. Pt.3, I Suppose The Patch Gets Some Attention, Too

Because it's there.

[Ok, technically that's 'Here' but whatever...]

The Hope's Nose Irregulars have sustained effort, with a scattering of Black Redstarts, Purple Sandpipers, and Med Gulls the result.
Some of those I've even seen myself...

But let us look first away from birds-

::Trumpets blare!::



Oh great....

Look, guys*, there will be birds. There are birds. I just want to put these on the thumbnail, ok?
"So why did we leave that nice
platform in Brixham Harbour again?"
Grey Seals on Sandy Point!
[Scuse the vegetation, but I was keeping my distance and not silhouetting myself so as not to disturb them.]

Also, at the very same time;

North shelf, Thatcher Rock.
Count the seals!

How many can you see[al]?
Answer here**


The east shelf 
of Thatcher Rock

Yes, that's *** present. Now readers with long memories may recall I once photo'd that many piled up in Hope Cove a few years back, but 'tis not a frequent sight.

Right, birds;

Great Northern

Numbers have been dropping down from double figures to 0 to 3, with the shift away from rough weather.

Wait. That's not a
Block 'ead....

Same? Different?

Look, birds, plural. Now go put your Question to someone else.

Ah.  Well, I suppose that's ok then.
Cardinal Bill, please?
BURN!!!....      Oh. Right.          Sorry.


Right. Where was I?

Ah yes,
I have - when weather and Life permitted - been seawatching as much as I can [Obviously.]

A couple of 2hr watches from Glonk Corner;
First one gave a couple of hundred each of Gannet and Kitt, with 2 GND and 5 Fulmar [wow, I hear you cry], the second about 140 Gannet, 20 Kitt, 13 Fulmar, a GND, a diver sp. [small one], and a GCG.

So no great shakes.
Common Dolphins have been offshore - though not as close as they have been! - and there have been periods of feeding frenzies, with Tuna in attendence [though getting more than a scything fin in view...],
Two discrete frenzies,
about 2km offshore

Guillemots are back locally - making counting passing auks difficult - and BHGs and Common Gulls continue to frequent the slick when it's there [which it has been with the heavy rain of days past]. About 9 Oystercatchers are wintering on site, with a few Purple Sandpipers.
Slight size difference, there
Let us end on a note of flowering,


All over the shop, as per standard.

Be Seeing You...

[[* Gender equality in the Inquisition?!? ]]
[[** There are 9. You missed one on the far left. ]]
[[*** So 13 Seals 'around'. Not bad. ]]

22 January, 2023

More Ketchup. Pt.2, The Good, The Bad, And The Psycho

As well as going South, I've also been North.


Best in show would be

Spot the shank

Excuse the Ruff
composition of 
this photo...

I'm not doing that
pun... Even I have
[some] limits!

Godwits facing off

When asked where all 
the Dunlin went...
Psycho said "Burp!"

Pochard, 2
Getting very rare
in Devon...

How many Snipe
can you see?

At least 25 of the stripey sneaks at Bowling Green, though only about 4 visible from the hide! 719 Blackwits were likewise countable, but a good 500 were hiding off on the left and refused to be counted; a load flew off as I legged it down the lane for that purpose*, the fiends...

Previously, I spent some leisurely time [I'd taken a brolly, so the frisky showers bothered me not ;) ] with lunch and a flask at Powderham Bend as the tide went down, before stopping at Cockwood on my way home. The Spoonbills were feeling unusually elusive, but some birds put on a show.


From Powderham Bend I counted 489 in 4 groups [mostly about the Clyst], here's part of one of them,
Avocets off Starcross yacht club
Also - if you wait they come to you - showing nicely when it was sunny,
Dunlin and Grey Plover
Yup, another one

Lapwing don't do mudflats

I counted 213 of them from the railway bridge. I didn't count the Brents or Oyks or Canadas also in those fields. I did count 2 Cattle Egrets among 9 Littles, but they all looked like white blobs in the photo..

From Cockwood Crossing, the female Scaup showed.  A bit closer.

Just a bit.

11 o'clock from the pink buoy,
 roughly on a line between the round
and Rolo-shaped yellow buoys.

She's facing left. Honest.
Scope views were great. Ish. Well, much better, anyway.

An assortment of RB Mergansers and GCGs were on the river from both sites, with the latter outnumbering the former by more than 2:1  [21 to 8, combined totals]

Behold Iced Gems roosting GCGs;

Grebe raft

Speaking of grebes, a Little was close off Cockwood Harbour, and a Black-necked out upstream of The Wreck. Neither felt showy, but a few waders were fairly close-to,

Keeping well away
from Psycho

As an Avocet came close,
so did the rain...

Be Seeing You...

[[* Ok, I was looking for the Ruff, too.]]