30 August, 2023

I Almost Forgot

To unleash a variety of moths upon your poor suffering eyes!



Portland Ribbon Wave

At last and other comments.


Compare with Blair's Mocha in a previous post.

Four-spotted Footman

First 'proper' footman sp. of the year [Rosy is great, but too compact to be a real 'footman', you know?]

August Thorn

Not only first thorn, but first August.

Small Dusty Wave

Lots of these turned up [comparatively, that is. Five wouldn't be at all remarkable ten years ago...], and still one or two most mothy mornings.

Autumn Green Carpet

Another first of species; I've had two other green carpets [Green and July Highflier] before, this looks markedly different in the scale and made me go 'ooh, what's that?' when I saw it.

I shall spare you any more [this time] though be warned that the calmer warmer cloudy-ish night are meaning I'm finally getting some moths now, so another moff post may be coming [next month though].

I do have non-moth content, and indeed non-Patch content [!!]. There will be birds. It will be good.



You trust me, right?

Be Seeing You...

26 August, 2023

Neither Fog Nor Rain Nor Blazing Sun... Pt.3, Surprises In The Sunshine

Saturday was the day.

My head turned in a virtuoso performance in escalating pain, so I missed it all.


Sunday, when I was finally able to get going, was a day of showers and sunshine. I went to the Nose anyway.
Lugged the Big Scope over on foot; I needed the exercise and have found that migrants can disperse inland a way over the course of a day [you know, when you can't get to where you want to be at a proper time on account of not being allowed to slep until it was getting light...*]

That latter turned up a total of 8 Chiffchaff, so clearly not entirely pointless.

Anyways, the gungy rain band that had really spurred me to get over there proved to be without followup, and the weather just got sunnier [not entirely a shock, there] but a few surprises were in store, not least the return of The Veteran to seawatching! He brought his Artefact [bought at the same time as The Dread Item ::Ominous Chanting:: I've spoken of in hushed tones on here before] and the Power therein Summoned a few surprises...

I started on my ownsome, but most of the 5 hours I watched were in Pete's company [he got down the next day, too I hear :) ]

Not exactly classic conditions

Fog in Channel.
Continent cut off.


Long-range birding

You may note the continuing distant fog, the lack of clouds, and the end of The Veteran's Artefact [[I couldn't include any more in shot without its Power causing interference...]]

Results and so forth.

Glonk Corner, 5hrs
SW wind, clearing weather

Sooty  [1402]                                                           1
Balearic                                                                    3
Manx                                                                       13
Arctic Sk                                                                  1
Little Tern [1420]                                                    2
Common Tern                                                         1
Sarnie                                                                      7
Guille                                                                       2
Gannet                                                                    211
Kittiwake                                                                65
Fulmar                                                                    10
Also and bird-wise most notable, a Snipe flushed from Lead Stone to Ore Stone at 1712!!! Not only my first ever on site, but Pete's, too. Picked up by him zig-zagging over the water, and caused a lot of confusion until 'a stripey-backed wader with a long dark bill and pale belly' finally hit the right combination of neurons...

But all that even was secondary to what surfaced in the bottom of my scope view when I was tracking the Little Terns past the Ore Stone [far side, the scamps]... A blow! No, two, no more and ohmysweetGoddess the size of those dorsal fins..........................................

Five big, dark, blunt-browed cetaceans, heading south a kilomatre or so offshore, with visible low bushy blow and Jaws-style dorsals...

Getting the Veteran - who arrived as they did [Summoning power] - on them was first priority, and I did, just. No pic, though.
So gutted about that.

It was a little over two hours later that any other cetaceans appeared; a group of at least 7 Common Dolphin, who came in from Lyme Bay [just N of E] north of the Ore Stone and turned N.

Pulling myself back together,

Mostly it was watching the sea, clicking the passing Gannets and Kitts as they appeared, and, well, being grateful it wasn't raining on us whilst kinda hoping it would. The Veteran enlivened things no end, he has a plethora of tales and is always good company, birds behaving or not.  :)

Be Seeing You...

[[* Medication, long story, yadda yadda... ]]
[[** Yes, yes far far too much with the ellipses, but come on, even for me this is special circumstances. And it's far preferable to what I was actually saying, which was, I can assure you, in no way silent.]]

Neither Fog Nor Rain Nor Blazing Sun... Pt.2, Two Birders Vs. The Rain

[That's Friday week, the 18th, by the by]

I'd had the Glory of Cory's [up close and personal, oh yes] in the morning, but got back in the afternoon to find The Teacher on station and 'a few bits and pieces' having passed in the previous hour. 

Oh, it rained a bit, too.

Actually it rained a lot, and the wind got into it, making even my Big Boss Bumbleshoot unusable [at least, if I wanted to see anything].

I got VERY rained on.

But this is seawatching.

Said rain stopped photography [stop cheering]

On my way out in the very late
morning, just for atmosphere.

That's from my first effort. I took no [yes 0] photos in the afternoon despite watching for 3.5 hours.

I do have numbers [what sort of watcher do you take me for? Anyways, clickers aren't worried about water]

Glonk Corner, 3.5 hrs
SE wind, fog and heavy rain bands
[S or S/N]

Balearic                                                     1
Manx                                                        65
Pom Sk                                                      1
Arctic Sk                                                   3
Arctic Tern                                                1
Common Tern                                           2
Sarnie                                                       3/9
Gannet                                                      258
Kittiwake                                                 101
BHG                                                          5

It should be noted that The Teacher had 2 Stormies in the Ore Stone Channel, which I was utterly unable to get on [not a shock, they're little wotsits, especially with a swell to hide behind] and - skuas aside - both of us got stuff the other didn't, so see his twitter if you're curious for a fuller picture.

I was very wet when we ended by mutual consent [out of coffee, birds dried up, though the weather hadn't...], but it was like the old days, and I was much drier than, say, after the Day Of The Sooties* at BH [my boots didn't squelch on the way back up the Slopes, for example]

Would have been nice to get on a Stormie [I'd been musing aloud that a storm petrel was all I really needed to wrap things up in the morning, but lack of rain really precluded them], but hey, that's seawatching.

And I would be back.

Be Seeing You...

[[* This is Back In The Old days, pre-blog, when I went straight from an early shift at the Merry 'Vox to Berry Head, finding some of Devon's Finest {all VERY soggy, sporting slain brollies} and vast numbers of Sooty Shearwaters {with assorted Bonxies vexing them!}. I personally counted 450. It was GLORIOUS, despite getting utterly drenched. Oh, those were the days  :) ]]

23 August, 2023

Neither Fog Nor Rain Nor Blazing Sun... Pt.1, At Last, At Last

Betty [ah, those names] had not exactly classically good timing in coming through, but come through she did and through a weekend to boot.

It didn't look promising to start.

Friday and getting out of work to worryingly dry ground had me thinking, 'well, there's some mistyfog at least' and getting to the Nose on principle.

I spent more than 20 minutes messing about the bushes at the bottom of the First Slope, with a Willow Warbler the only bird of any note, before setting up at Glonk Corner to give the sea an hour, just in case.

That hour - without much of my usual kit - turned into 2.5 and only leaving due to a drop in passage and a desperate need for coffee [and waterproofs due to forecast rain]

Look at the vis.,

Fog wall, east wind

The wind was right into me, and yes, that's a big swell there, but no rain and visibility wandering from ~1 to 1.5km.

Cory's were coming through inside the Manx Line. Angling out to pass behind the Ore Stone.

Four of them.

It was wonderful...

[And if my bleeping camera would zoom in in fog it would be epic, but, well....]

I did get - in slightly clearer vis. - a couple of skua shots.

Yes, you're getting them.

Arctic Skua
Light morph, 2nd or 3rd summer

Harrying Kittiwakes

Three Pom Skuas
[a light 2s and 2 intermeds, likely younger]

Slightly better?
One of two Ringed Plover
on the Lead Stone

But of course,

Glonk Corner, 2.5 hrs
E wind

Cory's Shearwater [0921, 0931, 1016, 1036]                          4
Sooty  [0936, probable 2nd at 1028 but Poms intervened]     1+
Balearic                                                                                    2
Manx                                                                                     135
Bonxie! [0922]                                                                        1
Pom Sk [1028]                                                                        3
Arctic Sk                                                                                 4
Com Tern                                                                                1
Sarnie                                                                                      1
Gannet                                                                                   118
Kitt                                                                                         7
Fulmar                                                                                    3
Med Gull                                                                                2
Curlew                                                                                   2
Ringed Plover                                                                        2

And for some pictures not so foggy,

Those pesky bushes[what did I miss because of these??]

Common Carpet
[pale one]

Ye Gods and Great Big Cory's, that was far better than I expected!  Proper seawatching, with a variety of goodies and all at a nice range [if a bit foggy for pics...]. I've only ever had one Cory's closer than those - which went down the Ore Stone Channel, once upon a time - and they all gave a lovely prolonged view, muntering by with a few flaps and lots of casual 'ambling over the waves'  :D
Really, I had no choice but to come back again - after a trip home for lunch and to tool up properly - and what happened?

Tune in next time.

Be Seeing You...

20 August, 2023

Patchy Weekend. Pt.2, Staying In

No, not moffs. [Not just moffs anyway]

Getting on with it;


Adult female GSW
[just turfed a juvenile off]

And now....

Jersey Tiger

Rosy Footman

Angle Shades

Blair's Mocha

Waved Umber


Large Yellow Underwing

Rusty-dot Pearl

Lime-speck Pug

A few new species and some very nice ones, there [though not always very obliging when it comes to being photo'd, the scamps].
Finally, a couple of other new species to the blog, both from Here, and yes, not mothses!

Pseudeuophrys lanigera

So cute!
[Unless you're a small insect, I suppose...]

White-tipped Darwin Wasp


I suppose a few numbers? At least 5 juvenile Greenfinches in two age groups, and at least 3 juv Blue Tits [likewise], though probably more, ditto 2+ juv Robin and Dunnock, and 3+ juv Blackbird. 9 is the highest total of Greenfinch seen at once. At least 1 juv GSW still regular, starting to lose the red cap, so sexing should be possible at some point soon maybe.
The summer sun has meant keeping the curtains shut in the pm, which in turn makes counting harder, though good for the birds.

Be Seeing You...

16 August, 2023

Patchy Weekend. Pt.1, Off Out

Overdue attention to Patch last weekend.
A bit of seawatching - despite my head trying to spoil the party again - and a lot of bashing, with a few bits turning up closer-to [but more of that Next Time].
The weather wasn't ideal, but so many birds being about meant even a late afternoon watch on Saturday [I defied my head and even managed to lug the Big Scope from Home... Get me.] scored a few goodies.

But before [or sort of after, though we're opening with one taken on the way to a seawatch.!] that, here's what's been about, and the Best Things Onshore in the Nose area;

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Another, basking
on IMD

In one of the few spots out of the wind, were at least 2 HBHM, being frequently attacked by Gatekeepers for some reason [which ignored other butterflies, racist buggers]

Keeping to the theme and cutting to Sunday,

In better light

Wait, what's this one up to?


Red Admirals plentiful

Gatekeepers even more

Peacocks less so

Getting back to the seawatching, in 2 hrs from Glonk Corner:

Cory's  [1739-41]                                        1+
Balearic                                                       1
Manx                                                           33
Gannet                                                        80/7
Kittiwake                                                    28/14
Fulmar                                                         5
YLG                                                            1
Med Gull  [juvs]                                          2

Also 10+ Common Dolphin, in from NNE and foraging N of Ore Stone. Cory's picked up apparently foraging in this area, [almost below my view, as passage of Manx distant] briefly lost to sight, then refound heading pretty much due E to Big Shear Line range, before turning S. Probably another then briefly picked up at slightly greater range, but may have been same bird lingering.

Those numbers don't tell the whole story, as it was dead when I started up. I mean nothing for more than ten minutes, then a trickle of Gannets, before my first Manx at just after the half hour. A little flurry included the Balearic, then it died off again for twenty-odd minutes, before another pickup culminating in the Cory's. The Common Dolphins turned up at the start of the second good bit, and that may not be a co-incidence.

Upon arrival.
No seabirds out there!

Also, as I packed up I checked my bag carefully*... and found a stowaway!

Great Dart?

No dark V mark by the head rules out Heart and Dart, the black kidney, circle, and [rather hidden by all the wear] dart marks pretty much rule out anything else [Heart and Club has a club not a dart, and dark mark near head also]. As an immigrant species, south winds and being on the coast means I'm not unreasonable in my ID.

No more moffs, here's more from Sunday,

Little Egret

Common Fleabane

Golden Scalycap

A few Chiffs and Blackcaps in assorted cover were most likely not migrants, which have been thin on the ground [or over it] with the only definites being a couple of Yellow Wags over me while skywatching [cloudwatching...] at work the week before. Assorted small numbers of hirundines and Swifts were most likely locals, though a few double-figure groups of Woodpigs maybe not.

I'm sure this will change, though.

[EDIT: yep, since writing this, The Teacher's started finding migrants at the Nose, though of course he has Help***]

HBHMs aside, Sunday's patrol was largely an exercise in exercise, though others were doing it better [gig race came down from Shaldon Regatta and used Lead Stone as a turning point {wimps, should have used the Ore!! ;) } ].
Here's a little scenery;

The Nose, Lead Stone [just!],
Ore Stone, from Black Head

Of note; assorted rowers, including skulls [on the sea!?!], a wonderfully tasteful yacht, the Toe, the Quarry, the north slope IMD woods, and a bit of a sense of the size of Hope Cove [Brandy Cove is hidden]
I took this from Lovers' Leap on Bishop's Walk, by the way.

Be Seeing You...

[[* Always check your bag after a stop; you never know what's come aboard... From ticks on t'Moor to snails [that sickening CRUNCH.....] to scuttly spiders or amazingly tickly Woodmice**, it's always better to check first than regret later. You know I'm right.]]
[[** Sorry, Woodlice ]]
[[*** ::Ominous Chanting:: ]]

14 August, 2023

That Heap Again

Well, dear reader, I did not get out at first light on Saturday to try my luck with the Cory's Influx. I was awake, but my head just laughed.....

Sunday and I was again awake at a vaguely reasonable hour, feeling much better.


Did I mention the weather was a bit sunny?

Well, I could have tried Pendeen, but a) I wasn't up THAT early, and b) dry powder and so on.

I went up on t'Moor, picking route on hope of getting parked on a sunny Sunday in August..

I shouldn't have worried, it was - close proximity to reservoirs aside - very quiet up there.

Wonderful, right?

Up from Holne to Ryder's again, this time doing the proper route back via [yes, you guesssed it] the Heap of Sinners.

Wow. Spectacular.

Itsa cairn. On a smallish hill. Bit of a view.

[Oh, yes, that is a shower passing by in the background. Got rained on a couple of times, but in such a desultory way I just grinned]

The usual set of pictures, assorted,

Holne Moor

Cairn on Holne Moor

You don't go up
Ryder's Hill to
look at it.

Sat at Puper's..

... One of the few places
you can see Hound Tor from

Forded the Mardle
[over the knee in places...!]


Yes, an actual bird!

Keeled Skimmer

Being quite helpful

Grayling, less so

Twin-spot Carpet

An Agaricus,
possibly porphyrocephalus

No fancy birds, not a sniff of a Wheatear, but that didn't stop it being a lovely walk. Albeit a little interesting getting through [or more often around, they got to 5' and densely matted...] large areas of very frisky Bracken. And finding the Mardle Ford rather washed-through and well over the knee at the deepest point [the dark bit in that pic] was fun. Hey, I got across without soggy boots - it's technique and good gaiters - despite attracting a pesky persistent Horsefly while I was trying and failing to find an alternative.

Also, that day was the last Swifts were present, with at least 9 screaming about at sunset, but none seen or heard here since.

Ah well.

Be Seeing You...