Monday, 8 January 2018

Not Quite About Running

Birding-wise I am doing nothing right now. In just the last week or so I've driven up the Axe Estuary a couple of times and noted with approval that it was crawling with gulls, yet not been the slightest bit inclined to stop and have a little scan. Such is phasing...

Doesn't mean I haven't been keeping my ear to the ground though. For example, I know about the Colyford Common Water Pipits. It's nice to know they're on the up again. On this very day 13 years ago I counted 20 in the damp field of maize stubble next to the Colyton Water Treatment Works, and while this was an exceptional gathering, for several years 10+ was not an unusual count. Recently though, for some reason they've been much scarcer on the Axe, and hearing that they seem to be back in numbers is very good news.

Of course, I haven't been to visit them. That's the nature of phasing. You just can't be bothered.

It's similar with Hawfinches. Yes, I know they're available at Shute churchyard. And yes, I know that Shute churchyard is something like half a mile from Kilmington, another place I work most weeks. Er, yes, I do even drive past it occasionally. And yet...

Still, I did go for a nice walk on Cogden Beach in Sunday's sunshine, and was delighted to be able to stake a claim* for Steve Gale's 'First Wheatear Photo of the Year' award...

And, my word, isn't that thrift out early too!

When I got home from work today I rushed indoors and changed into a Helly Hansen top, a pair of Ron Hill Tracksters, Adidas trainers, day-glo yellow gilet and red, red hat, and then charged straight out again for a run. I'd like to say a lot more, but this is a birding/cycling/fishing blog...

Ah, speaking of red hats. I just put together a little collage of the recent hefty pike I've jammed from the Exeter Canal, together with my previous biggest, which I caught by soaking a dead fish in a Colne Valley gravel pit for many hours in about 1999 or 2000 I think. I am pleased to note that once you have good taste, you don't tend to lose it...

L to R: 23lb 8oz, Nov 2017; 24lb 14oz, Dec 2016; 16lb 8oz, yonks ago

*Please see previous post, final piece of 'advice'


  1. Nice fish used to go to trenchford for them some years back.

    1. Cheers Chris, your comment prompted me to look up Trenchford Res and I noticed that it is very much promoted as a pike fishery. It is even stocked with pike removed from other waters. Interesting. A responsible enterprise by SW Water I think.

  2. Many, err, keener photographers insist on dressing up from head to toe in camo. The funniest and perhaps most tragic photo I think I've ever seen is of a group surrounding a Grey Phal on a children's playground and paddling pool in Sussex, all squishy blue tarmac and concrete. They merged into their surroundings quite wonderfully as you can imagine.

    My only nod to camo clothing is my.....bright red hat. Not only impeccable taste but the birds love it.

    'AAARGH! What's that over there?!' 'Oh, my mistake, it's just a Redpoll, as you were flock, as you were.'

    1. I don't know what those photographers were thinking. On the Realtree website you can purchase outerwear in both 'squishy blue tarmac' and 'children's playground equipment' patterns...

      Re red hats: birds are never scared; no birds of prey are red. Red is the colour of happy, cheerful things, like Cardinals and Post Boxes.

  3. Nice try with the Wheatear Gav...