Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
No, this is not a quote from a famous Thomas Hardy tome, but the feel that the early bird's are on the wing, and returning to the Bay. This morning, a swift perambulation along the beach before work. On first getting there it looked a bit desolate, tide was right out, but usual small flock of Starlings messing about on the strand line, Linnets on the wing, and about 100 Black Headed Gulls just loafing about. So I just walked the mile and a half along the sand. Few warbling Curlew and a Carrion Crow with 2 offspring pestering for food were all that was of note. Then I spotted 2 Oystercatchers, first I'd seen for about 3 months, a nice diversion.
Then at the marsh end, a Redshank was faffing about reeds, but that was about it apart from a few more Curlew. Quite disappointing. So with time pressing headed back. Nearly back at the car park, 4 fast flying waders came in from the sea... Dunlin!! One Swallow doesn't make a summer, 4 Dunlins don't make an Autumn, but it's not far away.
Note to self, polish and check telescope.
Unrelated photo of Sand Bay, taken in April, just because I like it
Sunday, 20 July 2008
So yesterday we whisked off to North Cornwall, for some proper job, sea air, sun and sand. If you come to Cornwall, don't do the crowded south, hit the coastline twixt Camelford and Bude. Top Dollar scenery, and more birds than you can shake a smugglers spotted hankie at. The coast walking isn't half bad either.
Yesterday though was just about a day out to recharge her batteries, and mine for that matter. Helping her, while over the same time the number of people in my office crashed by 80% after redundancies and stress related sickness, the boy Reiver and the one remaining colleague have been fingering the dike continuously over the last 2 weeks to keep it from braking wide open. No more Wednesdays off for me for a while, and this explains the slow down in postings. I need sleep.
But even a non wildlife day brought the blogger out in me. After a few spots of rain, the sun broke through and the painter in me watched as the sea developed the turquoise - azure blue - purple - white colour mix I could have just watched for hours and hours. Incessant movement as an Atlantic Gale blew in, mesmerising. Those of you into seabirds could have watched for hours as they wind-surfed the waves.
Mind you some of the seabirds were a bit soft and preferred to perch inland next to the ice cream shop.
And lets not forget the plants, this Common Catsear clung onto a ledge in full force of the wind. No matter how good a garden designer is, this level of "it works" can never match a naturalised planting of plants finding niches to grow and survive.
And finally, a moth. No I didn't photograph this in Cornwall, but in the kitchen. This Riband Wave Moth (non banded form to be precise)had been on my kitchen ceiling for a whole day, so I thought in the evening I'll release it into the garden. Well sadly I don't know what happened but it slipped out of the egg-box and landed in the washing up bowl. My good Samaritan deed ended in death. So here it is preserved in my memory and the blogging community for ever.
And while I'm on about moths, a fellow blogger ST was kind enough to buy one of my charcoal paintings recently of a moth. He collected it this morning from my parents, and it now resides in sun-kissed Northumberland. Thank you ST.
Friday, 18 July 2008
....... about me. I do seem to spend a lot of time wandering about in the night, always have done as long as I can remember. As a child I often woke at dawn and wandered the fields before coming home, breakfast and off to school. Could never understand why my school friends stayed in bed all weekend, to me there was so much to see.
Anyway this morning, up at 4, so thought I'd put the washing out on the line, may be dry enough to iron before work. Border Reiver is a martyr to domestic chores, I must spend ohh at least 10 minutes a week doing housework.
So off I popped into the galloping dawn only to be hassled by a bat. Pipistrelles moved into the estate as soon as the houses were built. I noticed the first spring I lived here they'd come out at dusk. I've not actually worked out where they are roosting exactly, but guess in the sofit boards, of my house and those around me. These are summer roosts, as the Pips are never seen in the winter here, though they will readily fly on warm winter evenings. I remember walking at dusk at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire on Boxing Day, and there were loads of them flitting through the ruins.
And a sign of a wildlife obsessed man, the pegging up of the washing was abandoned, as I thought, wonder if I could photograph this little fella me lad (actually there were 2 of them). Well that was the thought. In reality, a hand held camera and a fast moving flying mouse proved more difficult than I thought. These three photographs were the result of over 30 taken. I'm sure the bats must have thought they were celebrities, the amount of flash-light going off. But I will try again in a more organised way one day.
What's interesting is the bats were following a fairly steady figure of 8 line between the trees and next door garden. Now of course they were hunting for tasty morsels on the wing, but if the above photos are enlarged, go on you know you want to, the number of flying insects picked up by the flash, above the two branches is quite staggering.
Sadly though these photographs will not be winning any wildlife awards, but I don't care, they're my bats, so that's all that matters !!
Monday, 14 July 2008
Let me take you back an hour or so before. Blowing the froth off a cup of tea while dunking a macaroon, I heard the immortal words, "lets go for a bike ride". Considering this was July 13th and that phrase hadn't been ushered before this year I ignored it. "Go on, blow up the tyres and lets do the Halter Path to Sturminster Newton"
Is it much further to more tarmac? Not far pet, just another mile. Lets look at this nice river and pretend we're having fun.
But eventually we reached our goal and Sturminster Mill, for a stop, before the 6 miles back home, to that roast chicken lunch.
Finally on the way home last night down Burrington Coombe I stopped to photo the wild goats, well to be accurate the re-introduced feral goats on the slopes. Not great photos as the light was fading, so I may post some more another day. Good to see them though, there to keep the scrub under check, and maintain the wild feel of the Coombe, which was the inspiration for the Hymn, "Rock of Ages"
So in the words of Pepys, "and so to bed"
Thursday, 10 July 2008
And as I'd been up (again) at 3am, at 5.30, went for the stroll along Sand Bay to see what was going on down there bird wise. It was glorious, warm, little wind and the place was deserted. That's the way I like it.
Across the mudflats drifted the eerie warble of the Curlew, they never really leave here. But apart from that, the bird scene was a bit thin on the ground. Small numbers of Black Headed Gulls, Shelduck, Herring Gull, a few Pied Wagtails and House sparrows, but a sizeable flock of Starlings feeding along the strand line for sand hoppers and so on.
Walking back I noticed that the Common Restharrow was in full flower on the sand dune grassland, and awash with Bumblers having their breakfast.
And then while on the drive back, these two little Herberts were in a field. They look a likely pair of reprobates as I ever did come across, all they need are a hoodie and I'd be convinced. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as they seemed to be just enjoying the morning sun. Kids eh!
Finally, back into the house, bacon sarnie and while gazing out of the window, a couple of Coal Tits entertained me for a while. These are erratic visitors to chez Borders, haven't seen one for about 3 months. But good entertainment none the least. And so to work.
'Ear what's that down there then? Dunno mate, but that blokes taking a picture, hang on better pose
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Very little chance this week for any wildlife watching, as it's been a bit frantic. Work has taken a sideways shimmy into re-organisation as a pre cursor for further re-structuring in September, so its full on and included an unscheduled visit to the "Mailbox" in Birmingham. Nice to be on the train though which allowed me to watch some Corvid activity in the fields. The Corvids are currently in full cry at the moment, especially the Carrion Crows. I watched one this week viciously attacking a Magpie in a neighbours Cherry tree. Who needs guard dogs when Carrion Crown are at full throttle.
So as I've been on the move all week, and a lack of wildlife news, herewith a shot of her nibs new car she collected this afternoon. As someone who drives 25-30,000 miles a year, I'm amazed Thelma only does about 2,ooo, so it's just right this little run-about. I've been joking to her about the go faster stripes and fog lights!
A friend of mine is potentially losing her job and talking of upping sticks to New Zealand, as are a few other people I know. Friend and I had a long discussion about this during the week over a bottle of vino d' grape. Looking at this video shot at 7.30pm today, is it really the 5th July 2008? I may just consider joining them all out there. It's a long way but at least I could have Cloudy Bay on tap. Very tempting indeed.
Lets hope the weather improves, as we're off to Thornhill House Garden open for the Dorset Garden Trust tomorrow, so that'll be a garden blog entry I expect. More wildlife soon, I promise... now what do I know about Kiwi's.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
No reason for this swallow I snapped on Sunday near here, other than as I write, the Swallows and Martins are flying about. A lovely summers evening.