Tuesday 30 September 2008

Micro-digiscoping - It Actually Works!

This morning I was back at Colyford Common to see what the high tide would bring. Firstly, it brought in this:

Shore crab: Definitely a Colyford Common first for me.

There was still nothing new on the scrape, except even more water, which is good I suppose. The birds which were on show were 9 Black-tailed Godwits, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, a Ruff and the Egyptian Goose. In front of the hide were 3 Stonechats a couple of Reed Buntings at least 3 Kingfishers and a Reed Warbler.

The Barwit

As promised yesterday, I've had a good look at the contents of the Tawny Owl pellet but the pieces were so fragmented it was very difficult to identify anything with much certainty. Here's a picture of the bones, probably all easily recognisable to any bone identification aficionados who may be reading this. It could happen!! I tell you what I could see though: Some rodent incisor teeth, most probably from a Vole, some Pygmy Shrew bones (leg and ribs) and what looked like birds claws, quite big ones ( two just visible, top centre).

Owl's Leftovers

I looked at the above assemblage under the microscope but I couldn't find anything interesting enough to try and take a photo of, or micro-digiscope, if that's the correct term. To rectify this I took the dog for a quick walk at Lower Bruckland Ponds (where by the way there was a distinct lack of interesting ducks today). By far the best thing to look at under a microscope is a nice bit of pond water, so I collected a bottle-full from one of the smaller ponds and tootled off home to have a look. Unfortunately, although I still have my trusty microscope from my archaeology days I don't have all the additional accoutrements still. I had to improvise, and instead of a petri dish used the plastic front from a pack of batteries!! It worked after a fashion, here are some micro-digiscoped photos of some of what I found. I really didn't expect it to work this well. Aren't digital cameras just brilliant!!? Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos of some of the smaller stuff when I've acquired some slides and cover slips.

Volvox - The jewel of the pond. Actually a colony of green algae.

Daphnia or Water Flea

A Cyclops and another Volvox
(also what I think are some Rotifers attached to the Cyclops)

As previously stated there were lots of other organisms especially Rotifers but they were too active to photograph without trapping them under a cover slip first. I'll have to give it a go one day.

Monday 29 September 2008

Another addition to my house list

I spent all morning at home after an extremely long lie in, then I decided to walk the dog at Morganhayes again, my excuse (as if I need one) was that I wanted to find out what species of tree the Crossbills were feeding on. Every time I've seem them/some they have been eating the cones of this particular species. I have been calling it fir, but on my photos the cones looked all wrong for fir and were more like spruce, but the leaves didn't look right for spruce, not 'Christmas treey' enough!! I looked in my tree book and the likely candidate was the Western Hemlock-spruce (Tsuga heterophylla) an import from North America. The clinching feature is a double white line on the underside of the needles, so I needed to go and get a close look at some, which I did and here's a picture of that all important feature:

There's no denying its Western Hemlock-spruce.

I was in the wood for an hour and a half and heard the Crossbills again several times, saw one individual twice and also a flock of 4 in flight. They were very quiet while in the trees feeding today but exploded into frantic 'chupping' a couple of times as they were harassed by a female Sparrowhawk. Here's a snap I got of the perched one:

Not at all easy to spot

Especially for Steve here's a photo of a lovely flower Devil's- bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)

Devil's-bit Scabious

How did it get such a strange name? Here's a snippet from the 17th century Gerard's Herbal explaining it:

'The greater part of the root seemeth to be bitten away; old fantastick charmers report that the divel did bite it for envie, because it is an herbe that hath so many good vertues and it is so beneficial to mankinde'.

So now you know! This legend seems to have been very widely spread, for the plant bears this name, not only in England but also on the Continent.

I also saw several Southern Hawkers and Common Darters along the tracks. Underneath one spruce tree I found a Tawny Owl's pellet, I brought it home with me and soaked it in water to remove the contents, a real blast from the past, I'm reliving my childhood! I found a few interesting bits and bobs but am going to get my microscope out tomorrow and study them in more detail. I may try to take photos through my microscope too, having never tried it before, you never know it may work!

Later in the afternoon I had a look from my bedroom window with my scope hoping for another house tick. I was in luck! A Ruff was visible with some Blackwits at Coronation Corner. I was hoping for a Med Gull too but couldn't pick one out today, I am sure several have flown past my house on their way out to the roost last winter but I think spotting one on the estuary will be the easier option. The Osprey was still fishing on the river today for it's 15th day!! I not only saw it from the house again but got a fuzzy digiscoped photo too:

Nice view

What else did I see from the window? Well I saw this graphic example of irrisponsible dog ownership!!

"Just let the dog terrify the Wigeon why don't you?"

I also saw a Steve Waite, he was very distant, (believe it or not Coronation Corner is just over a kilometre away from my house, I didn't believe it til I measured it on the map) but you can see all the clinching features, one hand clutching bins the other his camera bag, a general look of determination and a large white plaster on the inside of his upper arm!! Unlike me, sitting in my cosy warm bedroom, Steve's actually been out burning up the habbo, which his why he finds many rarities and I don't.

Steve, over 1km away!!!

I soon went up to Coronation Corner to see if he had seen anything good, whereupon he told me of the 'mega rare' Pochard at Bruckland Ponds, so off I popped for a quick look, very nice it was too and not even a yeartick. I took a snap of it of course:

Twitchable material locally

Finally at around 5:30 I went down to Colyford Common again, there was a bit more water on the scrape tonight but not many more waders. I went to the platform and looked over the new reedbed. There were two Water Rails on here but I only got fleeting glimpses of them. I haven't had a good view of one all year and am determined to gt a nice photo of one some day. Today I made do with digiscoping a Snipe, I'm quite pleased with the result as it was taken with a piece of barbed wire in the way, which doesn't show up too badly in the finished article.

Common Snipe

After a while I was joined by Gav, we didn't go looking for a Wryneck tonight as Steve was already doing this for us. So we just leisurely sat back and missed the Cattle Egret which Steve saw flying south! Seriously though we didn't see it pass us! We were hoping it was roosting at the Borrow Pit with the local Little Egrets and rushed down there in the last minutes of remaining daylight. There were indeed plenty of Egrets there, but all too soon it was too dark to find the odd one out! Pants!:-(

Sunday 28 September 2008

A Mish-Mash of Wish-Wash

Axe cliff again late morning but with a difference, Martha decided to accompany me. Good, two pairs of eyes, one pair young and keen were bound to produce results. One small problem though, Martha's choice of subtly coloured haute couture wasn't exactly conducive to successful birding. Perhaps she's making a statement don't ask me what though!

Subtle and understated

There were plenty of finches, Yellowhammers and Skylarks around still and also a few Chiffchaffs. There were four Chiffchaffs in my garden this morning too, all in the one small tree. Perhaps things are starting to look up on the migrant front.

Martha's good at finding golf balls too (not a sort-after talent for later life though methinks!) She found two under a hedge which I had walked right past. I found another two which unlike hers were both new ticks. That's eighteen species in total now. Also today another first, an actual vis mig golf ball, it was flying past west to east but decided to drop into the field for a quick rest, I pounced on it and added it to my prized collection. Several minutes later some optimistic golfers were scouring the fence line looking for the poor wee soul.

It's along hear somewhere. I definitely didn't whack it 30 feet into that field!!

This pitiful sight got me feeling guilty about removing these wild free spirits from there natural environment and the loving companionship of their owners. I have 21 of them now and they're beginning to take up far too much room. I have therefore been thinking of a 'release into the wild' programme for them. So once the weather conditions become favorable, the moon's waning gibbous, Saturn's in conjunction with Venus and there's an 'R' in the month I'll release them all back onto Axe Cliff. Watch this space it will be an emotional day.

We also found this big hairy caterpillar, we dropped it about six times whilst trying to photograph it, I don't know what species it is but I know it's concussed!

Don't drop it AGAIN!! Martha.

Here's a thought, how about starting a new collection... of these.....

Piece number 1

Yes, It doesn't get less exciting than this, a bit of 19th century blue and white transfer print ceramic. There must be millions of types of this!! I do wonder how it manages to get everywhere! But fear not dear reader, even I'm not sad enough to collect bits of old pots!!

Late this afternoon after much begging on Gav's part I reluctantly met him at Morganhayes to show him an empty tree which yesterday had been heaving with Crossbills. I'm pleased to say he was absolutely thrilled and just so he can relive the experience without even having to visit the place again here's a photo of it!! ;-)

The Crossbill Tree (actually they are in it in this picture, but you can't see them so it's a realistic representation of today's view)

Later we popped down to Colyford Common, where we imagined a couple of Honey Buzzards, a Wryneck and a fly past Cattle Egret. Actually the egret was actually a possible, we just couldn't get scopes on it before it was too distant. It was a lovely evening though and the spring tide was just starting to re-fill the parched scrape as we left. So it'll be waders galore tomorrow then!!

Saturday 27 September 2008

A Nice Surprise in the Woods

I haven't had time today for any premeditated birding but the dog still had to be walked. I had left it very late and set off for Morganhayes Wood at around 3:30 only a little over an hour before I needed to head off to work. I had decided on Morganhayes because it had become a very warm and sunny afternoon and being a bit of an anti-social misery guts I new that here I would be away from the crowds. I was right, it was deserted. Great! I nearly didn't walk the whole length of the track due to a lack of time but I'm glad I did because just as I approached the far end I heard a faint but instantly recognisable 'chupping' Ooh Crossbills!!

Boring old woods, with a faint 'chupping' sound coming from the last fir tree on the left.

This is where they were, in the last fir tree along the track. I couldn't see them at first as they were hidden within the thick foliage of the branches. I could see and hear lots of cones falling from the tree as they fed voraciously. Eventually they appeared on the visible side of the tree. I estimated there were at least eight of them. I didn't see a very red male this time but there was a young one just beginning to acquire some red plumage. I tried to get some photos again but they were so high I really had to crane my poor arthritic neck. Every time I got one in focus it was facing away from me, and everytime I lowered my camera to relieve the agonizing neck pain one or more would sit perkily on the edge of a branch and laugh!! I got a few shots, they're a bit grainy though as my camera, in it's wisdom, kept setting itself to a very high ISO (who am I to argue). I may have managed to do better if I'd had more time (in fact I'd have fetched my scope) but I stayed for far too long as it was and had to go to work without having any tea first. Hungry and distracted (thinking about the lovely Crossbills) while at work I managed to stab myself in the hand with a carving fork!! Ouch!
Here are the best of a bad bunch: All except picture one show face- stuffing in progress, the last one is the young male, he's stuffing his face too!!

I had been thinking recently that we'd seen the last of these Crossbills because I regularly visit Morganhayes and hadn't heard a peep or indeed a 'chup' from them for ages. I'm so glad they are still around, I reckon this means they'll stay for the winter now! I know a couple of local patch year-listers haven't got them yet. I texted Bun but I think he was on his way to Lundy with Phil and I knew there was no point contacting Gav because he was out of town for the day on some sort of Crossbill avoiding mission I think! :-)

And here's a really bad video clip. Forgive the quality I was suffering for my art you know!! Perhaps if you listen carefully you can hear my neck cracking!!

Thursday 25 September 2008

An Old Talent Rekindled

This morning I was just getting in the car to take the dog somewhere other than Axe Cliff when I looked up there to see literally thousands of House Martins swarming around the cliff edge like a cloud of midges. I wondered what it would be like to go up there and stand amongst them. I don’t need much of an excuse so off I went too Axe Cliff again. It was pretty much bird free except for the Martins and Swallows, which were gathering right in the far south-western point of the cliffs behind the golf course. I stepped through the fence and onto the cliff edge and began to walk along it with a fair amount of trepidation; parts of the trackway are very narrow indeed!! Rex had no such fear, but then again he can’t really see what he’s doing these days! Here’s a photo of the view towards my destination, which is just beyond the last fence post visible. You can see some of the hirundines too. Also one of Rex a bit too near the edge.

Edge of Axe Cliffs

Careful Rex!!

When I got to the flocks of hirundines it was indeed a delight to stand amongst them with them flying inches away from my face at times. Fantastic!

I’m getting rather embarrassed at my new found ability to detect partially hidden golf balls with today’s haul being a massive seven! This is where the rekindled talent comes in; you see I am in fact an archaeologist albeit resting at the moment, probably even retired! I am sure this is why I seem to have kept the talent for unearthing various bits of old tat from the ground! Golf balls being brilliant white are quite frankly a cinch!! ; -)

Here’s a snapshot of me at work. This was in South Yorkshire in 2002, I specialised in Wetland Archaeology and these are pretty typical working conditions. Great fun!

You can't call it work!

The guy in this photo forbade me from putting his photo on the internet at the time but I reckon that if anyone can recognise him from this angle then they would have to know him very well! So I’m going to ‘publish and be damned’!

Anyway I digress, Oh hang on a minute while I just digress a little more. In my post on Monday I promised to write an ‘about me’ post. Well I think instead of that I’ll just add bits and bobs about me as and when I can wangle them in, such as I’ve just done OK?

“What about those balls” I hear (at least one of ) you cry. Well six of the seven are new ticks, but I wont bore you with a whole list of them, I’ll just bore you with a couple of them instead. One, the Top Flite XL deserves a mention because it has, would you believe a Titanium Infused Cover and an Afterburner Core. Wow!! Here it is , it looks about twenty years old!

Old has been

A second is the Bridgestone Tour B330. I loved this bit of blurb about it:

"The Tour B330 is like no other ball the industry has seen," said Dan Murphy, Director of Marketing, Bridgestone Golf, Inc.

What really? It’s not white, spherical and dimply then? Looks like it is to me!

Cor! I've never seen anything like it!

The Osprey’s still around, its presence preventing me from getting into the Farm Gate viewpoint at all today as it was always full of Osprey watchers. I stopped along the estuary mid- afternoon to get a snap of a Great Black-backed Gull for this post, while doing this I spotted an Oystercatcher sporting a lovely shiny leg ring, I wonder if this was the same individual I had in my clutches a week last Monday? I’d like to think so, here it is:

An old acquaintance?

Remember in my first post I promised to share some of J. Wentworth Day’s book Wild Wings and Some Footsteps with you, well here’s a snippet about the Great Black - backed Gull or Saddleback:

The great black- backed gull, the saddleback of the marshmen, is common, cruel, cunning and bullet-proof. They will kill or eat anything from a sick sheep to a wounded duck, or a live rat, which they will swallow at a gulp. They are the ruthless enemies of young game birds and,indeed, the young of any birds.

Five feet from wing tip to wing tip and two and a half feet long, they look magnificent and impressive on the wing.

That great wedge of them coming in over the sand-hills on slow, powerful wing-beats has something of the majesty of a flight of eagles. Tremendous purpose, immense power, is epitomized in each wing stroke. The keeper may fire his gun at them, the longshore wildfowler may discharge his fowling-piece loaded with swan shot, but you seldom see a saddleback brought down. They appear to posses an uncanny immunity from shot. I have fired at them with an 8-bore which will bring wild geese out of the clouds, have heard the shot strike---and the only result has been a sideways slip on the part of the bird, a slightly quickened wing-beat.

See them sitting out on the sandbanks or on the edge of the mud, grim, alert, defiant, and you see one of the most individual birds in all Britain. They appear to have a paradoxical contempt of man, paradoxical because although they are shy and wary to a degree, although they seem to know the range of a gun to a yard, they nevertheless take off from the mud when the gunner approaches, in a lazy, defiant, contemptuous manner which seems to say: “I’ve seen you. I don’t like the look of you. You may have the shore to yourself.” There is neither panic nor even caution in the manner of that take-off. It is a gesture of supreme and crushing contempt.

Such an evocative description.

Saddleback- Grim, alert, defiant!

And finally, in emulation of Steve’s lovely, arms length shot of himself and his beloved, here’s a similar style shot of me with my beloved sidekick Rex ( Yes I collect golf balls and my best friend's a dog -I need help!). We met in April 2001 at the Blue Cross Animal Shelter in Bickleigh near Tiverton and have been inseparable ever since :-)

The Two of Us

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Vicissitudes of Fortune

I've had an up and down sort of day today, it began when Steve texted me this morning about the pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins he had seen off Seaton seafront. I've never ever seen a wild Dolphin and was desperate to get out there, but couldn't. Why? Because I'd been instructed to stay in and wait for the 'famous package', yes the same one I was waiting for all of last week. But today was different it was coming on a guaranteed next day before 10AM delivery, So you see I daren't have left the house for a moment, if I'd missed it I'd have been in big trouble! I thought if they were heading east I'd see them from the bedroom, I rushed upstairs with my scope - they were heading west! Later I find out that they were visible for a massive 40 minutes. You can see some great video footage of them on Steve's new blog - titled Birds, Birding and Me. A good choice of title, for unlike my blog it will probably feature many birds!

If I knew then what I know now I would have gone and had a look anyway, yes you've guessed it, the courier didn't show! If it’s possible for a person to actually explode I’d have done it by now. It’s not even anything for me!! AARgh!! :-(

Then more bad news. Remember yesterday's post and my cynical presumption that the tree slaughter had something to do with an imminent planning application. Well cynicism prevails again. Look what appeared outside the site this morning:

Bad News

It's a splendid information poster about the proposed new development 'Seaton Quay'. On the right of the picture is a serene looking lady staring blissfully out over the water, exactly where my little trees once stood!! Told you so! Joking apart look at the size of the thing. I was expecting an 'executive' housing development of some kind but not a gargantuan block of flats, hundreds of them! Look at this picture:

A bit on the big side

Anyone who knows the area where I live will recognise the houses on Trevelyan Road to the extreme left of the picture. They are massive houses much taller than average. Now look how much taller then them the new flats will be. I'll definitely lose my view of the river, and of Seaton Marshes and quite probably of the sky as well!!

After ten o'clock had passed I thought. "Stuff the courier, I'm off up Axe Cliff with the dog" It was quiet again with more golfers than birds. I saw a couple of lonely looking Wheatears and the usual Linnets and hirundines. I couldn't see any golfballs, but thanks to wearing thin soled trainers I felt a couple! I was walking along in some rough grass when I felt a distinctly hard lump underfoot, and being desperate and sad enough to investigate, was handsomely rewarded with not one, but two new golf ball ticks!! Here they are:

The Pinnacle Gold

I think I'd be right in saying this is the first repeat ball found, because Gav already has this one. It's a tick for me though. :-)

Now the biggy:

The Pinnacle - Long Drive

This is a real unusual beast, the blurb says: The Pinnacle Gold Long Drive golf ball, designed for golfers seeking the maximum distance allowed by the rules of golf. It is actually designed for the breakaway sport of Long Driving though. See here. The characteristic of this ball is raw distance with minimal spin, which helps the bounce and roll. It is optimized for long driving and is less sensitive to play with on a regular course, albeit possible. Someone was being a bit optimistic methinks!!

I also spotted this sticking out of the grass, Mr. Angry's been at it again!

Another Golf Club tick?

I eagerly pulled it from the undergrowth to find out the make, but I couldn't tell. Why? Take a look at this:

Ouch! Useless club was asking for it!!

Blimey! He was really angry this time, snapped it in two first and then lobbed it. I also found the detachable bottom half of the legs from a pair of walking trousers someone had obviously lost. They had become a home for lots of fascinating creepy-crawlies including this ( I don't know why the picture's sideways) Millipede:

It has exactly 150 legs (presuming it has matching pairs) - yes, I counted them. I really need a bit of excitement in my life!!

At lunchtime I popped down to Colyford Common for a quick look at the scrape. Nearly all the water's gone!! On the few puddles remaining were; 13 Dunlin, 3 Ruff, 6 Little Stints and some Blackwits. There was heat haze and people moving around in the hide but after Monday's successful Spotshank photos I tried some more. They were rubbish. Here's one of the least rubbish ones though, coz I have to put some bird piccies on here sometime don't I?

Knee- high to a Godwit

At 3:30 I was at home making bread and butter pudding for the kids, don't faint, I do mumsy stuff sometimes, when I get a call from Steve. He's spotted a Honey Buzzard from the Farm Gate at last. "It's coming your way" he said "it's circling over Coronation Corner" I ran out into the garden with my bins, already in my mind I was putting a big fat tick next to Honey Buzzard on my yearlist, I looked skywards and saw, the Osprey and the umpteen gulls it had just 'put up'. In the melee of circling birds I managed to fluff it :-(

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Gratuitous Dendrocide!!

If you read my post last Wednesday 'Osprey from the House' you will probably remember this:

The view from my house over the old Racal factory site, you may also remember me bemoaning my lack of an estuary view due to the row of small trees to the right of this picture. They completely obcure most of the estuary including Coronation Corner. Here's a closer view of them (from last Wednesdy too):

Wednesday 17th September

Today I looked out of the window to see this:

Wanton Dendrocide

What a terrible sight! I know what your probably thinking - "you've got a great view of the estuary now" Yes, I admit I will probably enjoy my new found ability to get a few decent waders on the house list, or indeed twitch a patch 'biggy' from the window, whilst wearing my dressing gown and supping tea (as if!). But at what cost? I'd much rather have the trees, I was looking forward to checking them out everyday in October for a Yellow-browed Warbler - or better. I really can't see a legitimate reason for their destruction, though the cynic in me can guess the actual one. ie: Get rid of any trees on site before the planning application goes in, the council planners always want trees left in situ don't they? Oh well! I'll just make the most of my new view before it becomes more buildings I suppose.

Rant over, what about birds? Well I haven't really done any birding today so there aren't any but I did take the dog for a quick amble in Bovvy Down Woods, they're just an extension of Morganhayes really but are different in that they are practically a monoculture with at least ninety percent of the trees being larch. Here they are:

Ooh, lots of lovely trees!
I can think of a couple of 'Backwater Birders' who'll be itching to visit here.

This will probably be entirely lost on anyone under a certain age and/or not of a nerdy disposition but I just couldn't resist taking this next photo:

How to recognise different types of tree from quite a long way away.
Number 1: The larch.

As well as trees I also like Beetles and here's a nice one from today, its a Geotrupes stercorarius commonly known as a Dor Beetle or Dumble Dor (no not that guy in Harry Potter).

What a beauty, but you ain't seen nothin' yet!

I asked this little chap nicely if he wouldn't mind showing us his ventral surface, he said. "Sure I'll just flip over onto my back for a mo" and here it is:

What a show-off!

Monday 22 September 2008

Second Chance Spotted Redshank

Guess where I went first thing this morning, yes Axe Cliff, my excuse is that I needed to take the dog for a walk early as I'd got to wait in for a courier again, (same package I was waiting for last Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday, well all week!!) and it's the best dog-waking - cum - birding location. I was wondering today whether I'd have been better to call my blog 'An Axe Cliff Year' or similar.

I did try somewhere different yesterday morning but it was so rubbish, I had a sulk and didn't take any photos! Oh, except one! I saw this possible genuine vagrant from India, which might find it's way onto my list come December along with my probable Grey Phalarope (when I suddenly remember that clinching feature) especially after this morning's events.

A year-tick in waiting

There wasn't a lot happening on Axe Cliff this morning (always worth going though coz sometimes there is, SEO for example :-)) and there was a very cool northeasterly wind. I counted 12 Wheatears, 50 or so Meadow Pipits a flock of 11 Siskins, 200+ Linnets 10 Skylarks, 3 Goldcrests, 4 Chiffchaffs and a couple of Blackcaps. Also a few other flyover bits and bobs that I couldn't identify! :(

You may be pleased to hear there were absolutely NO golf ball ticks either!

Wheatear number 3 (I actually lay on the ground to take this - don't ask me why!)

Fortunately for me my daughter, Martha, decided she wasn't well enough for school, thus excusing me from courier waiting duty and enabling me to race down to Colyford Common where a second Spotted Redshank had dropped in, I took along my waders so that I could run out there and flush it, but on arrival was disappointed to see the hide jam packed full of Spotted Redshank admirers, before too long one of them was Gav, enjoying a jammy year tick (Spot Red is usually a singular event on our patch) apparently with an enigmatic sigh! ;-)

This bird came a tad closer at times than the last one and I managed to get a couple of recognisable digiscoped shots of it. The second one shows quite a bit if detail ( if opened) amazing for a Colyford Common Scrape shot!!

A bit blurry........

.......amazingly a bit less blurry

Nothing else new on the scrape but Gav and I hung around a while hoping for our overdue Honey Buzzard or Wryneck or... something. Over at the Farm Gate we could see Steve, also hoping to see a Honey Buzzard, most probably. We decided to try and digiscope him even though it's 'miles' away. Here's one of my efforts - He's seen something, don't know what it was, but it wasn't a Honey Buzzard :(

Crikey what's that!!

Oh and guess what, the courier didn't turn up again. He took the package back to the sender. Looks like I'll have a few more days stuck in this week, it'll give me chance to write the 'a bit about me' kind of interesting* post I've been trying to get around to. Watch this space. It'll be exciting* stuff!

* no guarantee of interest or excitement