30 March, 2024

The Gull Alarm Went Off And...

Craning my neck through the kitchen sink window I saw this at about half eleven this morning. 
"It's a Buzzard" 
"It's always a Buzzard"


I scrambled for the camera and got this;

Cropped a touch

Lower belly, vent, undertail are stained with the local mud.

Only other image is this;

Again, cropped to centre

It got very high very fast [at least 8 Herring Gulls were an incentive] and I lost it; no idea which way it went.

Now, I'm on the wrong side of the country, but, well...

It's a Buzzard, right?


Be Seeing You...


Well, after a lot of pondering - especially about those angled wings - I decided to stick the pictures up on the Dreaded ID Section of a certain online forum about birds and see what those who actually see RLBs regularly thought. They were unimpressed at my photo skills [I mean, come on, not everybody can afford a 10k DSLR setup] and the bird's inconveniently muddy arse [like I wasn't], but after only a touch of prodding, they produced an array of odd Common Buzzard shots. Go look up the thread [no, I'm not linking them] and see a wonderful CB/RLB comparison in particular. Also a thread about a possible LLB.

The upshot is that, while I'm still not entirely convinced that's a CB, I'm certainly unconvinced it's a RLB. It's a buzzard sp. of some sort [[whisper 'hybrid theory'... They do exist!]] but beyond that ID is not safe. So a ? and definitely not my best Out Of The Window shot ever.


BUT, all that stuff means I am far better-equipped to nail a non-juvenile RLB*, should one turn up.  [Are you, reading birders?]

[[* Juveniles are EASY, any birder would nail one. Immatures and adults... Especially ones not next to a handy CB for comparison?? Hmm... ]]

29 March, 2024

Hare Time. Pt.2, Sun, Sea, Sand[stone]

A Little filthy twitching and a lot of looking for my own birds was on the cards, as I headed over to the East side, driving through some rather frisky rain to find sunshine [and an even friskier wind].

The wind I was expecting, and indeed hoping to help me, the rain less so [blimmin' met office], but it restricted itself to south of the Haldon Hills, so that was ok.

The LORP is an exemplar, in many ways. What can be done and what shouldn't be done.

But let's skip to the good bit;

Little Ringed Plover

Not a bad view...

And it was BOGOF day,

LRPs on the LORP

The lower LORP, from the NW corner;

What do you mean,
you 'can't see the LRPs'???

From Lime Kilns,

A triumph of, er, 'style' over

As those looking carefully at the light in those photos will have noticed, the LRP photos are from much later in the day than the scenery shots. I did have them in view - though you needed a big scope to see them [for some reason, wild birds don't like wandering about close to obvious people and their dogs..??] - and was rather enjoying my lunch while doing so, sat down out of the wind.

With an afternoon to use, I'd planned to head over the river and the hill beyond to have a look at the sea between Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth. This was a nicely-sheltered stretch of shallow sandy bottomed sea, which had had Slav Grebe reported earlier in the winter and would at least be good for an RTD or two, mayhaps. Getting over there would require much-needed exercise, and you never knew what else might be about?

Ragged Robin.
Was not expecting this in March

The Patch is thattaway

Photo full of interest, this.

This picture beets
any of yours.
I'm not apologising.
And I was being serenaded by one of three RLPs I heard but didn't see on my loop.

To business. Viewing a decent chunk of sea from atop a cliff line is a little easier said than done, as the idea is to see lots of sea without risking an overly close encounter, so to speak.

So you need to know what you're standing on. Especially when it's going to be standing around for a while with a scope on a tripod.

Careful observation required, in the case of sandstone [emphasis on sand in places]. Can you see it?
That one won't be a headland for long...
If you look on the left, you'll see where rain has washed sediment off the cliff face, showing how weak it is. Further on, to the left of the sunlit section, you should see the gently curving fracture. This is fresh, with sharp edges, and parallel smaller fractures further right towards the end of the headland.
You can also see the line of posts, top left, which signs tell you not to pass beyond. That fracture there is the other reason why*.

North of Brandy Head [which is quite low, smugglers not being daft] I found a safe viewpoint.

Look to the left

Behind the post line.

Look to the right

Red-throated Diver

The close one. Two more further out were able to avoid photography, as was a female Eider [too close to Danger Point to see from further South and up-Sun, the fiend].

Three Fulmar!

Fresh cliff fall;
nice strata!

Pebblebed erosive contact

Roe Deer

An increasingly rare sight

Cutting back inland to White Bridge, I was able to get the LRP pics you saw up there [high tide helped quite a lot I suspect..]

It was a very nice day, if a bit bipolar [the Sun was strong and so was the wind, still with wintery teeth]. Would have been nice to get a grebe, but them's the breaks.

Be Seeing You...

[[* If you need to ask what the other reason is... Well, come on; It's a cliff edge!]]

27 March, 2024

Hare Time. Pt.1, Gotcha Ya Varmint! And Other Nonsenses

It's March, isn't it? [Well, it was when I was doing all this, anyways...]

After a weekend largely spent about t'Patch, hunting for and finding Wheatears! [Yay] and a first trip up onto t'Moor, I switched things a little and got on with chasing yearticks.

One in particular had been nagging for a while, with multiple dips, oh yes.

If at fourth you don't succeed and so on...

Bunch of foreigners

An early start paid off as I finally caught up with the oddly-slippery Egyptian Goose! This one had a wash, then went back to hiding behind that lump with the Cattle Egrets on it.

Right, that's that done. Onward.

And upward.

Devon countryside
['scuse the glare, light issues]

Sat at a viewpoint and did some skywatching, to the serenade of assorted farmland species, including Yellowhammer [thin on the ground these days] and Red-legged Partridge [pulling the usual 'so close but you can't see me, ha ha' routine]. The Sun was warm and it was really quite the contrast from recent times. I maybe lingered too long, but maybe not. Time served really helps with waiting for birds to fly past, and a coffee turned into two, as they do.
I did see birds of a soaring as well as singing nature, and not all Buzzards, either. Highest flyer was a North-bound Cormorant [yes, really], but star bird a Red Kite [with kettle of gulls], well off to the SE.

The only bird close enough to photo, however, was this noisy character;

Not quite what I was
looking for.!

It was very nice there [though the erosion - lots of rain and no cover crop does that - was less pleasing], but I dragged myself away and relocated to somewhere even higher..



Still that glare issue

Dark clouds and bright Sun good photos do not make [unless you get said Sun behind you, which is a bit limiting]

The wind was a bit frisky, but I got out of it and things were lovely. A long [if a bit late] lunch and lots of Buzzards [again] but no Merlin or anything like that. [But you puts the hours in, you know]. It was great just being up there.

Siskin, between
display flights

Catching up with
the Laughing Man

And I went up
Bellever Tor

Three yearticks were good, but a much mellower Backward Birder was even better.

And there was still more time in my time off to come.

Be Seeing You...

24 March, 2024

Up On t'Moor!

Once upon a time there was a Backward Birder who liked ambling about up on t'Moor.

Then it rained like you wouldn't believe and he came down with t'Plague.

Now he feels a bit better and has some time off work. The weather isn't behaving, but when has that stopped him? He's a frickin' seawatcher, after all.

So, Monday saw him up on Holne Moor to stretch the legs and maybe see some birds possibly, who knows?
[He will stop using the frickin' third person, though]

Blue sky [a bit], white clouds,
is this real life??

The wind was rather fresh, so while I was not anticipating getting soggy [bar falling in the water], I wasn't expecting much in the way of birds.

Entoloma conferendum

There's always [usually] fungi!

Not sure,
so probably a Deceiver!

Dacrymyces chrysospermus

Mosses and lichens

Ivy-leaved Crowfoot

I heard Golden Plover calling a couple of times [and a flock was reported at nearby Hexworthy], I also heard another  set of calls, and this time got a look and even photographic evidence [honest] of the birds in question;

Count the Fieldfare!

Yes, a great big flock of Fieldfare came over and went West [?]

Zoom applied

That's 100 Fieldfare, there.

Reed Buntings
[look closely]

Sometimes rainbows mean
a pause in the rain...

More frustratingly, a small fast low light slate-grey-backed raptor showed up, and I couldn't nail it. I got on it twice with eyes, but it was too twisty [muct have been chasing something] to get on with bins. Being unable to rule out a male Sprawk, I had to let it go [drat and double drat]. Anyone raising an eyebrow can note that it was very low over the hillside opposite in that pic up there [yes, with the dark and light bits], so not exactly point-blank range.

Ah well.

The rain set in [sideways] so I called it a day and headed back [after sitting under brolly in lee of big gorse bush - from where I took that one up there - for a fair while]

I'll be back

Be Seeing You...

22 March, 2024

Patching. Pt.3, ...And The Bees

With warmth and even some sunshine, the bugsbugsbugs have been getting frisky, at the Nose and elsewhere.

Oh look, new spp.!!

Hairy-footed Flower Bee

Small Gorse Mining Bee?

Short-fringed Mining Bee
and Green Furrow Bees

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Seven-spot Ladybird

Hairy caterpiller 1

Hairy caterpiller 2

Common hoverfly 1

Common hoverfly 2
[on Lesser Celandines]

Shining Cranesbill

[not in a garden]

Goblet Waxcap
[late or very early!]

Oh, it's all so exciting.

Be Seeing You...

20 March, 2024

Patching. Pt.1, It's Spring!!!

After Saturday's failure, I was annoyed but not deterred and so went back the next day. Despite the weather [a bit windy].

After finding an empty Quarry again - though the GND was still present in Hope Cove - I pressed on.

Oh, hello there;



And another!


There was a third lurking along the cliffs of the Sole, but far too flighty to catch on photons, alas [though I think an Irregular may have succeeded later in the day]


Oh the Joy.   :D

I put the news out and Irregulars connected in the afternoon, so even better.


Greenfinches feeling frisky

Rockits, too

Just because the SWBCM
is switched on

Doesn't mean we'll get anything good.

Only Herring Gulls, it seemed. Oh wait, no. Two small gulls;

Still rather Common

A 2cy Med also made an appearance, but I somehow managed to miss it completely, despite taking a flurry of shots.. Oh well, it was well-worn and very pale, so not exactly photogenic.

Of note; not one BHG.
That was a quick clearout.

Chiffchaffs were singing [as was one Blackcap] but also not feeling helpful.

There was a fair bit more going on, but that all awaits.. Part 3!!!


Be Seeing You...