Month: September 2018

A Pair of Juveniles

Identifying birds gets decidedly tricky the more you look into them.

Bird types can change depending on whether you are looking at a male or female.
Or what time of year it is.
Juveniles can look very different from the adults they’ll eventually turn into.

Take the moorhen for example.
On the left is a juvenile I saw on the river Dart today.

Moorhen juvenile 2 Sept 2018-horz

The moorhen on the right is the adult version you more normally see (I didn’t see that though) Its now got a red beak and looks less brown and more black bodied.

Likewise the black headed gull has significant changes of appearance on maturity.

Black headed Gull juvenile Sept 2018-horz

Juvenile here minus choccy head            Adult here, with a choccy head
Seen today on the river Dart                 Seen on Meadfoot beach July 2017
What makes a positive id of blackheaded gulls – both juveniles and adults – even trickier, is how similar to mediterranean gulls they look.

Anyway, here’s a vid of the juvenile moorhen and juvenile black headed gull seen on the river Dart in Totnes (next to Morrisons) today.
The moorhen, to my eyes, is like a fancy-footed water chicken. It was amusingly flick flicking up its white botty.
The black headed gull was in itchy twitch mode.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

In Pursuit of a Funny Gull

Med Gull Sept 15th 2018

This is the Mediterranean Gull we were seeing on Institute beach last Saturday afternoon.
Making funny, as in odd, squawks…. like a wind-up bird with a squeaky beak….

How interesting we thought ….. why’s it crying? …. it seems distressed…. – look! …. its disappearing over there by the rocks …… following its mother….

Haze was soon in hot pursuit….. took 2 steps up onto the rocks…..

…….and the rest is history……..

Don’t think we’ll be having too many positive associations with Mediterranean Gulls for a while….

And if this one should ever reappear……I’ll…..I’ll…… shake….. it…… by…..  its……

Words & Pic: Ian Nisbet

Afterword: That might be us done as far as Institute Beach is concerned…. a place of fond …. and not so fond memories……

Red Darter on the Dart

Off this sunny Sunday afternoon to give the new Lumix DMC40 a try out.

Waiting by the Dart river to see if Beautiful Demoiselles might still be around.

Waiting. Watching.

And then dropped down this Red Darter dragonfly.

Red Darter on the Dart Sept 2018

Right in front of where I stood, only 4 feet away.

Having a mini break from dizzy darting about.

In a headspin she was. Chewing a fly.

Red Darter on the Dart 2 Sept 2018

I bent down to get near but she shot up in the air scraping past the top of my head.

I waited around for a while to see if she’d come back.
But she didn’t.

Had to content myself instead with wagtails bouncing about on the far bank.
And being dipped in delicious by the lovely sunny river.

The Humble Rock Pipit

Most people won’t know rock pipits exist.
They jump around rocks on beaches half hidden from view.

They’re like the dunnocks of the seashore. Inconspicious olive-brown birds. Wagging their tails occasionally.
Getting on with it. Minding their own business. Humble servants of their own modest endeavours.

This vid is a collection of clips taken of various rock pipits over the last couple of years at Meadfoot beach, Maidencombe beach, and Institute beach.

We were on Institute beach last Saturday to look for more rock pipitry.
Unfortunately we got the rock without the pipit. Haze left half of her nose and one of her teeth on the hard rocks of Institute beach.
(Happily, she’s already bouncing back. No rock can knock down or defeat her inner Pipit spirit)

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

Little Egret on The Dart

Little Egrets are everywhere these days.

This fella was less than 2 minutes from Morrisons in Totnes.

Little Egret Sept 2018

He was taking selfies of himself in the Dart river

Little Egret 2 Sept 2018

Absolutely no self-esteem issues whatsoever.

You could do some serious stabbing with that filleting spike of a beak.

Little Egret 3 Sept 2018

He was only about 30 feet away from where I stood.

But his miscroscopic mind, his total attention, was on far more important matters.

Little Egret 4 Sept 2018

A Little Herbert

Herbert the Slavonian Grebe Aug 2018 edit

Here is a little Herbert.

You will find him floating up and down, and around and around, the Exe estuary near Dawlish Warren.
He has been floating around and around the Exe estuary near Dawlish Warren for the last 10 years.
Little Herbert is a Slavonian Grebe. He is possibly of noble and esoteric lineage.

Little Herbert, or Sir Herbert as he sometimes prefers to be known, is the only Slavonian Grebe in the Exe estuary. In fact, he is the only Slavonian Grebe in the South-West of England.

He has never had a mate. He will not be the father to other little Herberts. He is all on his little ownsome.

He is not often seen, but if you do, give him a friendly wave. He is not averse to having his picture taken. However, refrain from using flash, as this will make his red eyes look even redder.

Whatever you do, make sure you take account of him on your blog.
For little Sir Herbert, is the last, and only, Slavonian Grebe you will ever be likely to see – in yours, and his, lifetime.

Illustration: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

PS: Little Herbert wants it known, that he is very pleased with Miss Browns illustration. It makes him look like the very best example of his kind. He gives her his most hootiest salute.