27 February, 2024


I'd finally had recovered enough to be able to lug a scope and so dragged myself out on Sunday.

Defying the plague, the weather, and quite probably anything even vaguely like sense, but I had Unfinished Business.
Yes, it was raining hard, sideways, and the roads were rather riverine in places, but that wasn't stopping me. I headed up and then left a bit, with the route giving a group of 20-30 Oystercatcher in flight over fields near Sith*, before reaching my target;

Spotted Redshank

There you are.

Zooming back out a bit,

Arch Brook

When I first arrived, the Spotshank was on the left of this shot, high up the Arch Brook - VERY close to me - and I used my car as a hide to get a briefly wonderful view, before a van came zooming by [despite the flood waters] and flushed it off to the Teign shore, out there in the distance, where I got that photo up there [actually still good views {at 75x}, but the camera likes not the heavy rain]. The Spotshank worked its way back along the shallows and into the mouth of the brook, where after skirting around a Greenshank, it vanished into the now rather inset channel.

After managing to miss the Freminton bird back in January, and every other chance in Devon since, I was a rather happy yearlister.

Just getting a nice sustained view [oh, if it had stayed so close, though], of a feeding bird was a pleasure [normally you only get close-ish views of ones asleep at Bowling Green] in and of itself.

Also present were a handful of Redshank, single Curlew and Oyk, plus Common and BHGs.

Later on, I was unable to resist the lure of the Nose, where all the rain had indeed fired up the slick. Unfortunately, the wind had come around to a strong, gusty NE-E, and it was a bit, er, tasty.

[Ok, actually the exact opposite, really, with the slick being blasted on shore....]

Spot the Little Gull

[You'll be doing very well. I couldn't find one....]


A scattering of Guillemots and Razorbills on the sea with the Shags and Corms, a half dozen Gannets, a Fulmar, and a couple of Kittiwakes, plus usual gull spp.


But I was out there.

And I aten't ded.


Be Seeing You...

[[* Nobody types Stokeinteignhead more often than they have to. Also the acronym. ]]

25 February, 2024


I'm still standing.

Ok, yes, right now I am more accurately described as still sitting, but you know what I mean. Viscous plague may have foiled many of my plans, but that's not stopping my greater goal.

Anyways, here's a pretty picture from the near-past;

Red sky at night,
someone's set another
hotel on fire...

You will be hearing more fom me.

I shall

Be Seeing You...

21 February, 2024






As you may have guessed from my oh-so-subtle intro, I have been struck down by the plague. I'm a week in and still coffin like Henry, so thus the lack of update. [As opposed to my usual simple lack of getting it together].

I have got myself out birding, but only a gentle amble about Yarner on Monday afternoon with the Folks [who fear no lurgy] and Canis horribilis salivatus [whose slobber could probably defeat anything up to BL4 all by itself...]. Prior to that I was utterly wasted, staggering outside only when unavoidable.

So still not seen a Ringo. [Or that verdammt Little Gull...]


It was rather nice [when not coffin], and the latest set of cherry flapjacks were deemed a success.

Also, in a shock break, a Marshie actually sat and posed;

Marsh Tit

See that lovely pale spot at the base of the upper mandible? You see that, it's a Marsh Tit [angle, light, moult, the bird's posture, can make all sorts of other things look diffeent]



Whirligig Beetles



Rushing waters


Winter light

It was lovely and quiet, with noise only from birds [a Treecreeper sang. It was wonderful]

And finally, I did get a Yeartick, with a couple of Collared Doves seen in passing in Newton  :)


I hope that I'll be at least slightly effective next weekend, but, well, the plague does as it will...

Be Seeing You...

[From a safe distance]

13 February, 2024

Very Little Very Late

Another weekend, another fatal cocktail of vacillation and apathy strike your brave writer, causing the above title to apply.

I did eventually drag myself around the Patch on Sunday - lugging the Big Scope, no less - but really I could have stayed at home, all the good it did.

In other news,

I'd promised myself no more
Spring flowers, but, well,

I love a Crocus.

Have some more,

A patch

They come up fast

These are all roadside flowers, springing up in a narrow grassy strip beside a large road 'somewhere on Patch' and so unlikely to last long before getting trodden on [mutter mutter is there no respect etc. etc.], but perhaps their beauty is all the sweeter for its transience?

Right, so, calmer.
Better blogging required;

I did see birds, I even photo'd a few, and while a second trip out - up to the Exe for some reason - on Monday afternoon again saw no yearticks [not even Ringed Plover.?!? This is getting a bit silly now]
I did see some nice birds again and may have had a Little Gull, just too far off [even with Big Scope!] to be sure. You see, there are a vexing number of very small Black-headed Gulls about, so you can't call Little on size. Nope, don't even think about it. I had a Little-sized BHG that very day, in fact.

Right, nice birds, starting with Sunday;
One in the Sun
One in the shade
[ok cloud]

Four aslee-
No, wait, five asleep

At least 10 Purple Sand on the Real Living Coast, with 2 Turnstone [bit of a shift from last time] and here's

Pied Wagtail
[dark rump]

Plus assorted flotsam and plasticsum

Three rather vocal Grey Seals
on Thatcher Rock

More than three hundred Guillemots
on the Ore Stone
[also quite vocal]

Jetscum off Meadfoot
[no grebes, quelle surprise]

No jetscum on the Exe [yet]

Biggest disturbance to
the peace!

Three of the six RB Mergansers present [also two Goldeneye, but they were more camerashy]

Two RBM, two Herr,
and a Greenshank

I mentioned small BHGs. This is the best pic I got, can you see which on I mean? [It's not being helpful, naturally]

In front of that Herring Gull

Another LG-sized gull was with a BHG flock well upstream, so I went after it. Turns out, they were dead opposite Starcross yacht club and so impossible to get a good view from the west bank [you could see the flock, not the gull in question..] Drat. Also, still no Egyptian Geese at any of their usual haunts... Bugger.

And still no owls despite much dusk driving.

Ho hum, we keeps at it, yes we does.

Be Seeing You...

[[* Crocuses my BLEEP... ]]

08 February, 2024

One Out Of Three Gives Three.

No, really it does.

Bear with me.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the best laid plans of mice, men, women, birders, and that guy over there, do go astray.

An interesting work week led to me being too knackered to think straight enough to get going on Friday, and my head stopped me on Saturday, but Sunday saw me awaken filled with a vim and vigour unfamiliar to my poor form recently.

So I headed off to try to pick up That Which Had Been Missed.

As you may have guessed by now, I got three lovely yearticks.

Though not one of them was easy, oh frelling frilly fruitcackes no...

We begin bright and quite early at Slapton,


Water levels slightly lower than a month ago..


A lot of combing of Tufties for someone else lurking among them to no avail, though according to another hopeful, the semi-invisible Lesser Scaup had been off Stokeley early morning.

Much to-ing and fro-ing - you need to be thorough, especially with diving duckies quite capable of flying around - before I shifted north a bit;

Outer Ireland Bay

And on the corner between Ireland Bay and the upper end of The Neck, a popular little patch of water.

Male Scaup,
with female Tufted Duck

Gotcha, you varmint!

[In case you were wondering: Male Greater from Lesser Scaup; G is bigger, and also beamier than a Tufty, L is smaller than Tufty {just} and a compact little duck. L has a darker grey back {coarser vermiculation} than G, and L has a point - NOT a tuft! - at the rear crown, whereas G has a sloping rear crown and steeper forehead. Also, Scaup tend to be less likely found in or next to Tufty flocks than Lesser Scaup and prefer deeper water, in my experience.]

I said it was a popular spot,

Closer than usual Goldeneye

Having succeded and having other business to attend to, I didn't head on into Ireland Bay to the viewing platform; where RND and LS were likely lurking. [I know, terrible of me]

Though before I move on, a few more pics from the area;

Eristalis pertinax



Over the way, a quick scan of the Kingsbridge ria gave no gebes of any kind, but I wasn't being thorough as I had something else on my mind.

South Huish marsh

It was.. a little windy on the lee shore. But out of the blast [oh Brain, Brain, when will you tell the truth? Force 6 to 7 is not '15mph'....], it wasn't that bad. Not easy either, looking for pipits. When there's cold weather they are very easy, right up close on the warmest wettest bits, but now they can and do range very widely. So it took a lot of work, and patience, and lots of angles, including well up the valley, but eventually I got a couple of looks at the Water Pipit [ok, technically I can't be sure it was only one, but, well...]. My camera is no way shooty enough to get a flyover - which was the only close view I got - so you'll have to settle for this,

"Got any sammiches?"

I was helped by a couple of these,


Who kept the birds moving about, however futiley, and to the annoyance of perhaps all

Wigeon and Teal

After connecting with my target, I even tried a seawatch; though the wind was right into me and it was not easy finding somewhere I could see the sea and hold my scope at least slightly steady. But I persisted and munched lunch in a half hour of....

3 Herring Gulls and 3 Common Gulls South, and 1 Med Gull north.


Not even a Gannet, not even an auk.

Look to the left [Bolt Tail]

Now look to the right
[Burgh Island]

Oh well.


More Snowdrops

More madness ensued as I relocated again. Far to the north, in search of more birds that have eluded me.

Exminster. Take 3

[No comments on the definition of madness]

Water lower here, too. So I got through all the back way, and have to note that this needs advertising,

The view from the blind.

The raspberries, in their infinite wisdom, took away a nice bench along the railway path that I was quite fond of, and have improved the view from the only place you can sit down and actually look at birds. Isn't it brilliant? And if you're a smaller person - say a child - you literally can't see any birds on the ground at all.  This blind is also down an unmarked and very muddy path, so unless you're very curious or already know it's there, you're not finding it. The calculation it must have taken to get it so totally wrong is impressive.

But you can look out here!

You see them? They see you.
They no be there.

So it is perhaps not entirely surprising that the closest thing to a non-Canada I found was this

I suspect just seeing that head
sticking up in the distance
is the source of a lot of
'Snow Goose on Exminster'
[am I being cynical?]

While I'm ranting,

Viewing platform being
used as campsite by anglers

Let's get back to birds, shall we?


Redshank and Greenshank

But no Spotshank.

Or Ruff 'in with Curlew' [there were 2 Blackwits, though].

More Wigeon
[no Americans]

Closest of three
Marsh Harriers

Another long yomp for nowt new, though a few nice moments [largely involving watching that Avocet].


And too windy for a reasonable chance at owls.

I tried Powderham on my way home, despite dying light, well, because you have to.

No Egyptian Geese at any of their haunts, of course.


Now THAT is a Snow Goose.

And before anybody starts going, I should point out that a) no plastic ring and b) they are feral breeders at a couple of sites in the country. So no different to Canada Goose, Mandarin, Little Owl... *

Don't go near the castle...

And finally,

"Why do they always
go after me..?"

A long day and far too many miles, but that's the madness of yearlisting! And I'd never have seen that gorgeous thing if I hadn't been out.

Be Seeing You...

[[* You cannot have any claim to scientific rigour and apply different standards to different birds. ]]