Monday, 10 November 2008

Rex Gets a Bit Wet

This morning I was supposed to be joining the AERG at Colyford Common. I hadn't had any notification that the ringing was off but it was throwing it down, so using my immense intellect I figured it was... I then texted Steve to make sure!! I'd had my regulation gallon of tea and was rarin' to go and wasn't going to let a teensy bit of rain stop me. In my wisdom I decided on a gentle amble along the banks of the River Axe towards Colyton. My departure was slightly delayed as I agonized over what to wear, I toyed with the sparkly pink catsuit, but in the end decided on the simply gorgeous slate grey binbagesque two piece which doesn't clash with my wellies so badly and is supposed to be weatherproof too.

The going underfoot was a bit on the damp and squidgy side, like so:

"Come on mum, it not too deep"

It was though, right up to my knees some of the time:

The elegant binbag suit comes into its own. I'm glad I didn't opt for the catsuit now!

The rain was at times torrential and the wind very strong indeed, birds were a bit thin on the ground but I did see some Redwings and Rex managed to flush ten Common Snipe. A Jack Snipe would have been a nice reward for my efforts, I'll console myself in believing it's way too early for them yet.... It is, isn't it..... way too early!

When I saw the eveidence of last Tuesday's floods on the fences, I began to think it was perhaps a bit foolish to be here when the river was very near to bursting its banks again! Look how high the river had been, the debris on the fence was over waist height on me:

Evidence of last week's floods.
Looking north towards Nunsford Dairy, Colyton

When Rex started trembling I figured he was wet enough, (he's allergic to shampoo, so a good drenching in rain's the only bath he gets, and boy was he ready for one!!) so it was time to go home. Here's a pic of Rex in the car, dripping on my Collins and spare hat and gloves! (stupid place to leave them I know)

What a big drip!

Actually what you can't see from this picture is that he was shivering most pathetically. Being a heartless beast I decided to take a bit of video footage of his wimpiness. Take a look at this, I reckon I could donate it to the Dog's Trust as a fundraising video, poor wretch!! ( I must point out it isn't actually out of being cold, he often does it after any long walk, it's a nervous excitment thing)

No dogs were harmed in the making of this video!

The rain had slowed somewhat by lunchtime I couldn't resist a quick look at the sea, I'd had my quota of getting wet so decided to watch from in the car. I parked on the yacht club carpark and in my wing mirror I could just make out a figure standing next to the 'Spot On' kiosk. I've no idea who it could be. Have you? I took this photo, can you see him? No probably not...

View in my wing mirror. I wonder who that lonely figure at the 'Spot On' is....

I didn't see anything passing, just two Common Scoters sat on the sea, after ten minutes I was just about to leave when Gav arrived, I decided to join him because I figured if anything was out there he'd see it for sure. I wasn't wrong, within minutes he was showing off, calling Gannets left right and centre, I felt woefully inadequate :( . About an hour later we had seen a few Kittiwakes too.

I had to pop over to Colyton later in the afternoon and stopped by Bridge Marsh for a look at the assembled throngs. All common stuff but pleasant to look at non the less. I tried a bit of digiscoping even though it was almost dark. The results were predictably awful, like so:

Teal and Wigeon trying to be colourful.

At 16:08 I was just settling down with a nice cuppa when Steve rang, we'd got a patch 'biggy' at last, "Surf Scoter, Seaton Hole" he enthused. I gave my customary little excited shriek in reply, grabbed my carkeys and was, remarkably for me, first on the scene. The bird was quite distant but easily recognisable in a flock of Common Scoter, the light was fading fast though and I found it more and more difficult to pick out as time wore on. There were NINE local birders on site at one stage, easily the most I've seen at a bird for ages. Here's a really awful photo I took in the near darkness with my phone. I am only publishing it because I'm quite pleased with the way I managed to conceal the face of that mystery bloke in the yellow coat, (you know the one who objects to having his picture on my blog) with a strategically placed plank!! Although I think his identity may be revealed on Gav's blog.

Right to left: Ian W, John, Phil, Ian M and some bloke.

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