Climbing up beneath arches of ash, hazel and oak, aware of the narrow stony, stumbling rise through the the wood.
A holloway of tangled bracken, bramble, hung with an over abundance of old man’s beard. Ivy too, climbed, clung in dark green garlands, twisting its knotted tendrils in a bid to strangle the tightly growing tall trees.
No birds sing.
No breeze stirs the humid August air.
Through a breathable mesh of broken twigs, is a glimpse of the sea!
Caught in perpetual frantic movement the glittering waves dance beneath.
The startling morning sunlight.
On we climb, the path twists and turns blinking in dark and light, until leaving the dark holloway.
To reach a clearing.
Where the widening sky and horizon meet.
And still no birds sing.
Words & Illustration: Hazel Brown
Spotted more of them mysterious, or possibly even mystical, Thingy Peeple down in little Ela Wood.
This is the secretive Blite Witherins.
Looked in need of sustenance
About 30 feet further on was this fearsome fella
Goes by the name of Knuck van Noisome. Has been know to instigate mishaps and misdemeanours.
Both of them are from the Onerous genus.
A walk into the back end of Ela Woods got me onto pasture dotted in grazing sheep and honking geese.
Following the geese up the rutted path lead me to a farmyard choka with chickens, ducks – and tall turkeys.
One tall turkey twizzler decided to come down to the gate to see what I’d got to offer.
Er, I got nothing for you, Mr Wattle.
Go and stuff yourself somewhere else – you greedy gobbler!
(Don’t think this turkey is going to be ticked off our birder twitchlist)
Walk, Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet
Well it was this afternoon.
Down at little Ela Woods with the river Mardle babbling beatifically by.
At peace within dappled dimples of mildly mellows.
An ideal place this for a spot of wild camping next spring.
A billion birds will be all around.
Singing their happy heads off.
Making their magical morning music.
Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet
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.
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.
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
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.
And then dropped down this Red Darter dragonfly.
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.
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.
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