29 January, 2024

Walking Around In More Circles

Another week, another city, more wandering about after yearticks.

This time it was Plimoth* and I had business with birds upon a theme of red not green.

Cue the thumbnail pic;
Redshank, showing
us how it's done


I headed over after work on Friday, hoping and indeed succeeding in catching to falling tide at Laira Bridge, where a certain grebe was duly fishing just upstream near the west bank. However, I then spoiled this great start by legging it down to said Bridge to try to get a decent photo, instead of setting up and hitting it right away. Looking into the light and getting a blob at best was my fear, so it wasn't an unreasonable decision. Also said RNG was actively fishing, and could drift off out of view very easily. So moving closer.

You can see where this is going, right?
Well, I certainly didn't see where the Red-neck went, it vanished qite thoroughly! I rather suspect it had gone quite a long way, as there's been one on and off around St.John's Lake, on the 'other side', and I have a One Bird Theory...

A nice GND was just downstream of Laira Bridges**

Helpful light?
Ho ho ho...

Hoping the RNG might come back when the tide turned [it was getting quite low] and having other fish to fry, I turned myself upstream and yomped to Saltram.

Blaxton Meadow
[perhaps a renaming in order?]

Not much to see? Well, the Greenshank nipped off quickly, but a whole lot of Snipe didn't

Not being very Snipe-y

This lot doing it better.

Double Test;
1. How many Snipe?
2. Spot the Jack!!!!


Oh yes.

35+ Common Snipe in view, which isn't bad. One [and possibly a second] Jack Snipe was blimmin' brilliant.

Another year tick was very vocal but not very visible. I headed up to the house, then back via the inland route, and
On the Gift Shop
Duck Pond!

One of 28


There you are.

Eventually one started up the kid's toy routine down-Sun.   :)

Getting back to Laira, I met a local birder who was making a practice of dipping the RNG, and duly no RNG was seen by us.

Suffering yearlistingitis, I abandoned the wait and headed up to the edge of t'Moor in search of another red-themed bird, but it was getting late and not a sniff could I get of her. 


But I'd got 4 out of 5, and while dipping the easy one was annoying it was also somewhat amusing [well, it is now, looking back] or at least bemusing.

Having to go back for a rubber duckie, though.. Well, that's birding.
[Those with longer memories may recall me going a LOT further for one, once upon a time, so not that unreasonable. Maybe.]


Oh, yeah, sorry.

'That's yearlisting'.

As it was a weekend of it, there will be more and I shall

Be Seeing You...

[[* Don't get me started]]
Two, see?]] 

27 January, 2024

Walking Around In Circles

So you have a tendency to do daft things when chasing yearticks.

Like wandering around in large funny-shaped [due to a very inconveniently-closed bridge] circles trying to find and photo a bird that shouldn't be that hard to get, really...

I found the right bit of the right bit eventually, in what was very much not the sort of area you'd expect to find waders in. Behold, what is in effect a bramble-lined concrete channel in one of those neighbourhoods were there are speedbumps everywhere;

Green Sand,
'somewhere in Exeter'

It's not that bad, really, [bit like Foxhole, he says] but when you're trying to get the frickin' camera to zoom, it's being petulant, and you notice out of the corner of your eye a shifty type in a hoodie alter course your way.. Well, you start to think of post themes.  [Ok, that slightly after you've got a bad pic, pocketed your camera, and stomped away past said - probably entirely unaware you exist - character with your best 'I am so not worth even thinking it, mate' face on]


Before that, I'd tried wandering around a lot of the Valley Parks, looking for this as well as that. It was a bit windy, but not horrific, and sheltered areas weren't bad at all.


Spot the Little Grebe.
I did [at last!]

Along Northbrook, a Kingfisher wasn't a yeartick, but was posing

"You'd be amazed how many
hoorays walk right
past me every day without
a clue, you really would"

No, mate, I wouldn't.

On the Exe herself, Goosander;


Time for a close-up.

[Ok, a zoom-up...]

I like Goosander,
even when they're
not feeling helpful

"Do you mind, I'm trying
to preen, here"

A shingle bank on the near side of a river far better than the far side of a lake when it comes to getting photos [funny, that].

A very sneaky Dipper was less obliging, as was a nice [well, sort of] Grey Wagtail. A bit further downstream I got rather muddy trying to get a decent angle on what looked like a Green Sand, hunkered up by the waterside;

Sat on a riverside lawn
at Countesswear..?!?

Not quite where you'd expect one.
[And until I got opposite to it, those orange bits were hidden]

Anyways, I got there [in both senses] in the end.

What next? Hmm.

Be Seeing You...

22 January, 2024

Tarting About The County

As you do, when combining birding with shameless yeartick hunting.
Many sites, many yearticks, here's a flavour thereof;

Have you ever really
looked at a Dunlin?

Didn't see that one coming, did you?

Dunlin not a yeartick, but wandered up while I was trying and failing to see one. I was having lunch at the time, back to a rather frisky wind, but not so distracted to miss the chance of a half-decent picture.
[By my standards, at least]


Spot the yeartick
[easy version]

Spot the yeartick
[moderate version]

Where's Wally, but with birds.

Or, How Many Brambling Can You See?


Right, and now...

Spot the yeartick
[hardcore version]

Ambling about rural lanes and encountering some very big [~300, 300++, and 503 {that one counted as they streamed by overhead; it took a while!}] finch flocks of mostly Linnets, Chaffinches, and more Chaffinches respectively!
A few other species with them and another flyover Crossbill all added up to 9 finch species, which isn't bad [plus 2 buntings]

Easier to photo in a tree was this


Getting back to the Exe

One or two Brent Geese


And some assorted scenery,

A day of days, perhaps. 
Ain't Devon Glorious?

Be Seeing You...

20 January, 2024

How Many Turnstone?!?

Wandering down to the Real Living Coast in hope of Sandpipers Purple, I found 7. Which was good. I also found some Turnstone, roosting on the boulders. On quite a few boulders, as there were quite a few Turnstone. 'Quite a few'? Try 108, folks. That's a fair few for there [though you'll get that way on a good day on Preston Parade] Certainly far too many to get into photos, at least without risking disturbing them, which I was not going to do.

So here are a few glimpses,

Turnstone, on the rocks

Sea a bit frisky

They were well-scattered

Sandpipers Purple!


If the light wasn't so awful...

A surprising number of birds in the north end of the Bay, with 8 GND [including 2 in the Outer Harbour], 1 RTD, and 4 GCG, along with a scattering of Guillemots.
A seal in same Harbour looked quite convincingly like a Common, but vanished under the surface before I could get a clear shot and frustratingly did not reappear in view.. BUGGER.

Slightly more helpful; spot the grebe,

Ok, not that hard

Elsewhere and closer to,

Blooming Alexander.!

Three-cornered Garlic

Summer Snowflake
[yes, in January. Welcome to Devon]

Lesser Periwinkle

Greater Periwinkle

Perhaps inevitably,
it all ended in Violets

Be Seeing You...

17 January, 2024

Sometimes You Have To Take A Break And Go Sit On A Tor

Like it says up there.

Heh heh heh

The wind was most toothsome, but I managed to get out of it. I'd lugged the Big Scope up and had a good look around, though I only got onto scenery with it. [Hey, worth a try, and bonus points for bemusing passing mundanes ;) ]

I was on one of my favourite bits of t'Moor, enjoying the view and seeing what flew by [not a whole lot, but you puts the hours in]. There was Christmas Cake and it was Good.

Actual Sun shining..!!

It's that Man again

On the way up - took a deosil loop, just for fun - it rained a bit

Finishing my loop, it didn't

[Note seriously sheep-proofed wall!]

In a grassy sheltered area, a quite ridiculous 135+ Fieldfare and 4+ Redwing were hopping about the Gorse,

A small section

I even got the odd yeartick [thank you flyover Crossbills!]

One could argue that days off should be employed in maximum yeartick hunting, but there are other Rules, and time off without a Tor is no time off at all.
It was truly wonderful up there.

Be Seeing You...

More Ketchup. Pt.1, Yes, That Seawatching Post

What do you mean 'what seawatching post??'....

I said I'd do it, and while there may have been technical issues and a certain amount of temporal squeeze, it's here, isn't it?


Anyways, a burst of seawatching from the Nose back in December [last month, you know? Just.      Ok, yes 'last year' is also techncially correct but that's neither here nor there] and I suffered an attack of comparisons.

Thus this nonsense.

Also some of my usual [ie. awful] pics.

Oh dear.

Great Northerns

Ok, so that one's not so awful, but don't worry, worse to come.

But first, as threatened, promised, some numbers and such, as to passing birds.

Four watches over a week total time, of different lengths, equalised into hourly rates;

Gannet                       40        62       105      45
Kittiwake                  190       72        15       15
Auks                         500      685       93       70
Fulmar                       16         5         23        9
Common Gull            24        2          2         5

All southerly passage only.

Total numbers of selected species, again all passing South only;

GND                           1         0          9         9
RTD                            4         1          0         1
Manx Shearwater        0         0         1          0
Common Scoter          0         0         3          4
Curlew                        0         0         7          0
Redpoll                       7         0         0          0

Also of interest,

GNDs on the sea        3         2         8         15
[All in addition to
passage birds]

The Curlew were close

Common Scoter

GND and Gannet

Same GND, came by close.
Don't click on this, btw

An interesting gull assortment

BOGOF on Meds

I have more, but we'll leave it there, I think.

Be Seeing You...