Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Menagerie à Trois

I'm shagged!! Not in the good way, in the way where your back, legs, arse and hands hurt. No I'm not making erotic references. Not something, that, ahem, I do. Anyways the cause and effect of flower picking for the past two weeks is biting into every flex of muscle and stretch of tendon creating a creaking, or should I say moaning monster.

Here! This is a relatively birdy blog, quit your flower pansy jibber jabber. So. Despite being physically crippled by flowers I still found time to get off my face on mid-winter rares of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Firstly a Winter Moth caught at somepoint in the last week or so was only the 6/7th record for Scilly. Other winged wonders brought in by the previously warm conditions included the odd Silver Y, Pearly Underwing and RDP. Did you notice those weren't written in taxonomic order? 

Meanwhile at Longstone. There hasn't been a great deal really. Daily Chiffchaff sighting climaxed with two sunning and calling for a day or so last week while Blackcaps have hovered around one a day, alternating between male and female so through the magic of sexual dimorphism we can deduce there are two, Sick. Beside passer flex's, those feisty non-passerino's have been regular with the Long-eared Owl being the highlight. After 'bare time' (as they say on the streets) standing and waiting on multiple dusks, camera at the ready, this silent flapper circled my head and barely 4ft range, amazing. Experiences like that really epitomise the breath-taking beauty of birds and nature, and a sense of privilege that I even notice this stuff, let alone appreciate it!

Meanwhile near Longstone. After the initial sighting I had to wait til my Wednesday afternoon off for another chance to re-grip myself over the monster Pipit. And as luck would have it, there it was. Looking big.
The grass in greener with a Dick's Pipit on...

Several rogue Little Egret have been hanging around the Cattle intent on giving me cardiac arrest...

Meanwhile at Porthellick. On said Wednesday afternoon I had got back after a tiresome afternoon dipping for the 4.56x10th time on the Dusky Warbler and saw those Ducks with rings around their necks had put in an appearance. Meh I though, I'll pop round after work tomorrow, it's getting dark. THEN. Then my eyes licked across internet photos that showed our 1st-winter male was now in full drake plumage! Ring-necked cock!! So I dashed down and caught them at dusk, hence crappy but evocative photos.

Seriously, how fit is that duck! Sorry ducks...

These big fat nuggets were still hanging around #Greenland Whitefronts

Meanwhile at Lower Moors. AGAIN. My last piece of decent birding came last weekend when a weather and non-hangover window saw me complete a mini-tour of my favourite under-rated/watched sites. Which produced zero birds. But that's by the by. So I slutted it up down at Lower Moors knowing/hoping the local Phyllosc skanks would be parading around in their buff in the sun. And I wasn't disappointed with my first 'proper' Siberian Chiff since my return. Not the most grey I've seen them, but that call don't lie, and it was pretty f##king grey. No Dusky though. AGAIN!

Siberian Chiff playing hard to get...

And in traditional style I thought I'd end with a lovely photo of some Phragmites reed and a sunset. Colours are cool.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Diurnal Dick's Doubles Delight

Birding is a funny thing. You're walking around, enjoying some unseasonable warmth when a rasping Redwing esq call slices through the static humidity. Eh?!? Cue large Pipit undulating low over my head and briefly hovering before dropping behind a hedge...What?! Its January. Must be a New Years flashback or something. Probably just bending Skylarks into convenient rare-shaped parcels.

The post initial views...

So I strolled back on myself to scan the field where it seemed to drop, and there it was. A Richard's Pipit! Weird! Cue small Blyth's related spasm (as I was well aware of previous late autumn/winter birds in the UK) but with only bins and my piss poor shaking camera skills, due in no small part to the large dose of cripple I had just suffered meant views although good were tantalisingly distant.

Classic Dick's...well the views! What about its lumps and feathers?!?

A couple of phone calls saw the my dad locking on the bird before it flicked over the hedge making me get my Usain Bolt on down Sandy Lane to clinch this big lunging bugger! Thankfully an appropriately placed hole in the hedge gave me great close view allowing me to see the heavy bill and long tail while a jammy photo showed off it whacking great hind claw. After this brain aching #ubertechnical ID fest I settled to enjoy this Siberian nugget and direct arriving birders onto it.

I hang out in hedges with my lens out...

After being so close it gave us a good hit of  'I'm a Richard's Pipit and I do what the f#ck I want!' and decided to feed on t'other side of field.

Over the next hour or so it showed well munching crane flies and the like giving good views which I have not managed to translate into photos as usual.

All in all terrible photos but you get the idea. It's big, and long, and will get you!! (If you're a crane fly).

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Cross Eyed

Oh my giddy aunt. What day is it? Has the space time continuum spliced into some double helix sulphide bridged DNA derivative? Regardless I am crippled. Not by birds or epic natural events, but by Christmas, New Years and general festive flow of spirits and associated fundum.

A metaphorical photo. Life through an alcoholic tangle!

Needless to say not much birding has been done, attempted or even contemplated. But this lack luster ornithological shizniz has departed by brain, along with the cocktail of alcohol, monster food and their nasty metabolites meaning I am 'back in the game' as they say somewhere I'm sure.

So. Birds. Yeah them things. The ones with the wings right? And feathers? Some even fly I've heard. Even got bills instead of mouth flaps. Weird eh? And some really special ones don't open their bills in a solely vertical fashion. Oh no, some can open their bills sideways. One such species is the Crossbill. Up there amongst my favourite UK Finches, probably one of my top ten UK birds actually. But not only because they prise apart pine cones using their sideways bill stance (though that IS awesome). Mainly cos they is well fit innit. One look and you'll be cross-eyed with crippledness. 

See how red they are?! See their crossed bills?!

I've been lucky enough to have up to 9 of these chunky specialist finches in the back garden, with the occasional obliging perch seeing me dashing out the house, foaming at the mouth, lens in hand. Not in a weird way though, yeah? 

After disgusting Atlantic dominated wind and rain for pretty much the whole festive period (obviously with Rose-breasted sweetener) we are currently experiencing a much needed settled patch with temperatures constantly in double figures making anything outside rather pleasant what what.

Flat seas enabled good ogling conditions

With this is mind, and my impending start of some flower picking tomorrow I thought I'd get out to the east of Marys. And I tell you it was bloody lovely out there, a pair of courting Grey Wags brought an amorous feel to proceedings while two flyover Crossbill had me wondering if they were being employed by the feds to follow me.

Great Northern Diver and bouy.

Stupidly I didn't bring my scope, so casual scanning of the Scillonian seascape brought some nuggy rewards. A feeding party of Harbour Porpoise off Pelistry had my reminiscing of the Farne Islands and our cetacean watches. But back to birds. Those gay sharks are cool but I'm not able to sufficiently communicate their emotional impact through words, even with my words. So. Further round saw 4 Great Northern Diver feeding pretty close inshore so I did the pensive sitting watching appreciating thing for abit and saw the resident Black-throated Diver in the process. Cheeky white bumspot, which I believe is the technical term, along with smaller size, structural and other plumage differences which I wont bore you with here all allowed me to grill and enjoy this Arctic waif.

Crappy photos? Yep. Long range!

Great Northern Diver being big.

So what now? Who knows. Will I ever update this blog more regularly than my recent trend of sporadic spasmodic postings? Probably. Byye.