Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Of his Time....

 I'm not sure what is going on lately, but things have been a little bit ... well  'meh' or 'pfff' so to speak.

Motivation has been as elusive as a good bird around these parts, but here are a few bits and pieces from over the last two weeks or so.

Maybe my highlight of this period is finally getting around to reading all of Steve Gale's short 1970's memoir of his early birding experiences 'Of my Time'. Steve is a great writer and his diary had me nostalgic for those better times. The anecdotes about his formative birding years around London, Dungeness and the south of England, had me gripped!  

Only one grumble, Steve  - get on with the 80s!

Hedgely North Pit despite looking good for waders on all of the pits, we heard that the farmer drives around the very margins on a Quad each morning to check his stock, thus chasing off any grounded birds!

On Sunday 27th we headed inland to Hedgely and Branton Pits to avoid Bank Holiday on the coast. While we had a pleasant wander in good weather there was little of note other than 9 Little Grebes, 300+ Lesser black backed Gulls inc 2 'intermedius' types with very dark upperparts and long wings. This big flock of gulls were put up by two Marsh Harriers, a female and an imm male who soon drifted off south. Single Greenshank, Wigeon and Kingfisher, a few families of Redpolls, 2 Ravens and a Spotted Flycatcher were the best of the rest. Until I got back home that is....

Mid afternoon I was on our drive when the local Swallows began mobbing something. A scan over the back field revealed a small, spiky, Hobby casually flying away from the hirundines off to the North. Through the bins it looked very grey and was likely an adult or near adult male. Its long swept back wings really did match the 'swift-like' cliche.  

On Bank Holiday Monday we mostly remained around the garden and village where 2 Ravens in the back field, an adult Mediterranean Gull in plough at Cullernose and 2 garden Holly Blues were the highlight, narrowly taking the prize from an off patch Peregrine over the road on our way home from Sainsbury's.

A mid week seawatch for an hour had 26 Manx Shearwaters, 54 Shag, 3 Sandwich, 3 Common and 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Common Scoter and 400 Gannets per hour all N. 

As the forecast was for warm sunshine yesterday we went on a dragonfly search inland at Corby Woods. The first two hours were cool and quiet with not much seen other than for a dozen Crossbills.
flitting around.

Once the sun came out so did the insects with 4+ Common Hawker, 4+ Black Darter and a dozen Emerald Damselflies. The the pine plantation were full of post breeding bird flocks with many Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests seasoned with 1 Treecreeper, 1+ Redstart and 2+ Spotted Flycatchers.

Larch Ladybird, Lesser Willow Sawfly larvae and Spotted Toughshank fungi were all new species for me. Hopefully the autumn will have a word with itself and kick in soon...

Black Darter

Common Hawker

Larch Ladybird


  1. Stewart - cheques in the post. I loved putting it together and am glad that you enjoyed it. Maybe you could come up with a Stewchat retrospective? It would be epic!

  2. No worries Steve, my first decade of natural history exploits certainly would not be anywhere near as professional as yours was. I didn't know anyone who even watched birds in that period, it was more like Lord of the Flies or Kes here! ;)