Thursday, 2 April 2009

Birthday Dippers, you April Fool(s)

I had the day off yesterday as it was my 45th Birthday. And who better to spend it with I say than the one person you love the most, so I went for a coast walk on my own...ha ha! Well no one else can cope with my jokes for more than a few hours.

Boscastle in Cornwall was my destination and what a fabulous day which kicked off with an all day breakfast in a hotel and being me a long chat with the hotel owner. So long in fact half the breakfast was cold by the time it was devoured. Comestibles polished off a walk along the coast was required. Just a couple of photos from that, hope you have a head for heights???

I spent a long time here as this cove was packed with Jackdaws, Herring Gulls and a smattering of Fulmars, though most of the latter are found further out on a sea stack apparently. And above them all for a very brief moment, a Raven. Great stuff watching Jackdaws pairing up and also nest building. My guess is that only half of the nesting they flew in with actually made it to the nest, they're a bit butterfingers, or should that be butterbeaks.

And of course at this time of the year, Jackdaws are doing what comes naturally, best move on swiftly I think.

Nearly forgot this very obliging male Chaffinch. He sat next to me while I was admiring the view. Well it was a lovely day, so why not sit on a rock and have a rest. Often overlooked these are really stunning birds if one looks at the plumage properly.

Anyway after walking for a couple of hours, (took bit longer than planned as I was being text'd all through the day, thank you again for my Birthday messages if you are reading this, you know who you are) my circular route brought me back into Boscastle, and a leather shop. Now before you say anything, this was a leather goods shop, not something dark and mysterious...... however something mysterious did happen in there.

I was perusing the worked hide, when the phone rang. Shop owner answered and a conversation between mates happened, it was mate's birthday and they were planning a night on the tiles. So after the conversation I said to the owner, he's not the only one with a birthday today. Well "butter me" said the owner "that's really weird, what's your name?" Andrew I said. "Well "butter me twice" (presumably with a marmalade side order), my mates called Andrew. So he rang his mate back and eventually, Owner, myself and the other Andrew had a three way gawd this is odd, must mean something in a cosmic sort of way, chat. I then bought a kidney shaped purse and left.

So after all this excitement I had to steady the nerves with a "traditional" Cornish Pasty, spicy vegetable. This polished off, I then ventured up the Valency Valley for yet another walk, to Minster Church (where I met a couple, who told me it was Mrs couple's birthday as well.... that's three April Fools in Boscastle. Must mean something!!).

The Valency Valley was devastated during the floods of 2004 and I'd not walked up it since, though had done so many times before. 5 years after the floods one can still see the scars and makes you realise how much water must have come down that August day. But birdlife here was good, Chiffchaffs singing everywhere, usual smattering of Titmice, a pair of Grey Wagtails nest building and then...........I heard before then locating, 2 Dippers!!.

These fabulous little birds are wonderful, and when I lived "up't" north saw them all the time. But I've never seen a single one in 16 years of living down south, mainly as they prefer fast flowing streams with lots of gravel and stones to flick over hunting a morsel or two. Not many of those on the somerset Levels. These two were "an item" as the Male was doing a bit of flirting and the odd little butterfly flight they do to say to his chosen one, come on darling, look at me.

Sadly couldn't get any closer for a better shot, but a record photo of a wonderful little bird which has been missing off my Year list for a long while now. No wonder they're the national bird of Norway, just very cute, entertaining and live in nice places of course. I couldn't have asked for a better Birthday present than this.


  1. What a lovely way to spend your Birthday Andrew, And a belated but Very, Very Happy Birthday to you!

    I went to Boscastle some years ago, a really beautiful place. How strange that so many 'Fools' should be gathered in one place and that you should all find each other!!!

    Lovely photos showing Cornwall in all it's wild glory and you saw a good list of birds too and great to see the Dippers.
    A special day well spent.

  2. Love the pictures. The jackdaws are trying to make a nest in my neighbours chimney. I look out of my office window and watch them dropping all their sticks! A bit different from a cliff, but warm and cosy I guess. I love little dippers. Saw my first one in Canada on a classic fast flowing mountain stream - have never seen one in the UK. Looks like you had the perfect birthday - along with half of Boscastle! J

  3. Lovely photos Andrew and a happy belated birthday to you. Hope you got your book!


  4. Wow - what a great birthday you had Andrew - and many happies for your 45th.

    I had my birthday the day before yours but my years are a tad greater - but we won't go there Lol.

    And seeing those Dippers - lovely. They're on my "wanted list" (which seems to get longer by the day).

  5. when I'm on my own I always say I'm spending it with the most intelligent person i know !

    happy birthday. an age I hope to hit in 4 months or so!

  6. Thanks Shysongbird, Jane, Gilly, Tricia and Pete (I agree Pete, :-).

    As for the Dippers, most fast flowing streams in the UK have them, go on, have a holiday in northumberland I can tell you some guarenteed spots to see them. Lovely little birds.


  7. Sounds like a wonderful birthday. I do so love the way you write. Beautiful scenery in the pictures.

  8. Thanks Oldcrow, it's not a bad part of the world for scenery, mind you doesn't really compare with Newfoundland eh :-)

  9. Hi Andrew,

    Great Dipper shot. I think I have only ever seen one twice, but they are brilliant. The Chaffinch photo was my favourite. They are so colourful in their breeding plumage, aren't they.

    Have a great easter and I hope you have a successful bird count next weekend