Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Gift from the birding gods?

It was just around 18.00 hrs, this evening, when I was made aware of a passing raptor by the raucous noise from a group of Rose-ringed Parakeets which had taken umbrage with the intruder. Luckily I was standing in the kitchen doorway and had my optics and camera gear close to hand. A quick scan through the bins revealed an Osprey - F**K - grab the camera!

An Osprey being invited to leave Newlands air space by a bunch of parakeets
I rattled off a few shots as it disappeared towards Westward Cross; not the normal direction for overflying birds of prey. Obviously my images are less than perfect, but do provide a record of the event - only my second patch/garden record in seventeen years. A Common Whitethroat was in the garden over the weekend, a very poor image obtained in the half light of a dingy Sunday morning. A few more fish have graced the landing net, all from the club carp puddle, and have included my PB Ide (all 2 lbs 8 oz of it - weighed not guessed) and a very pretty fully scaled Mirror taken off the surface.

Garden Whitethroat in the gloom

A pretty little fish which took a cube of wholemeal bread - dumb schmuck!

Friday, 1 September 2017

There's always something to see

Being restricted in what I can do and where I can go doesn't completely remove wildlife encounters from my life. I still have the garden feeding station although, admittedly, the clientele are rather predictable. But it's now autumn, and almost anything is possible even when stuck in the kitchen doorway looking out into the garden and Newlands Farm beyond.

As I'd already made a post, yesterday, I couldn't be bothered to make another as it would have left August with a total of 13 - not that I'm in any way superstitious you understand? It was rather a good morning for birding. It started well when an adult male Great Spotted Woodpecker dropped down into the conifers, two gardens south of ours. Camera already at hand photos were quickly obtained, but the morning really belonged to Sparrowhawks. Eight passed overhead, with a south-westerly bias suggesting migration rather than local activity. A Hobby and an adult Peregrine made up the supporting cast and provided some more camera practice. How I wish I had checked the settings - all the images were taken at ISO 1600.

Another bright morning to greet the new month and, at 09.10 hrs, the first Common Buzzard of the day flew low over the garden, pursued by a rather agitated Carrion Crow.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Ticking over

It doesn't matter what life throws at you, time continues its' remorseless passage and you deal with whatever situation presents itself - some much better than others! At the moment, Bev and I are struggling to adapt our lives to cope with the limitations imposed by her parents living with us. It's a challenge that we've had to rise to; there are no alternatives up for discussion. Family take priority above all else. It's over three weeks since we had our routine turned on its' head, normality went out the window, and the strain is certainly taking a toll. All of a sudden, going to work is light relief - perish the thought! The Bank Holiday weekend provided some rest bite for all of us as other members of the family were able to share the burden and, thus, I managed a couple of sessions in at the club (carp puddle) lake, although I did spend a large amount of my holiday cleaning up the flat, in Herne Bay, that Ron & Denise call home. The Social Services aren't in too much of a hurry to come to our aid, because Ron & Denise are being cared for, thus not in any immediate need of assistance? It's another manifestation of "care in the community" only it involves Thanet Council liaising with Canterbury Council and a whole lot more red tape/bullshit paperwork. What a shame they have spent their entire lives paying into the system, it would have been so much easier if they'd recently arrived in the UK having stowed away on the back of a lorry - social services would be all over them like a rash! Rant ends here!

Only my second double (10 lbs 8 oz) from the venue
I have been spending quite some time watching the avian activity around the garden and was very fortunate to record a Spotted Flycatcher on Saturday morning, only the fifth patch record. Even better was to follow when, early Monday morning, a Raven was heard, then seen, flying over - a patch and garden tick! Even Bev got excited as it croaked it's way towards Ramsgate and Pegwell Bay, beyond. The sparrow hoards continue to frequent the feeding station and, if anything, numbers are on the rise again. Two Robins, three Magpies, five Dunnocks, a couple of Collared Doves, eleven Feral Pigeons and a lonely Blackbird are the only other visitors, although I am confident this will change as the autumn progresses. Whenever conditions are favourable, e.g. warm and sunny, Common Buzzards continue to pass overhead and Swallows are becoming more regular with the seasonal change. A Common Whitethroat popped into the garden today, although avoiding the long lens treatment!

Common Buzzard passing over the garden

One, of two, Robins around the feeding station

Sparrows on the feeders

My blogging is very much a casualty of this present situation. I am hoping for a return, to something like normality, before too much longer. Keep the faith, that's all I can ask. Oh!, as an afterthought - young Luke has landed his biggest Catfish, to date. Taken from an undisclosed river, at 50 lbs 8 oz, it's certainly an impressive creature.

Luke with his new PB Cat - 50 lbs 8 oz

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Simple tactics, stupid carp and a Willow Emerald

Early finish on a Friday and, with Bev taking her parents out shopping, it was an easy decision to grab the gear and revisit the club lake for another spot of floater fishing. What I hadn't foreseen was the presence of twenty-plus other members also taking advantage of the conditions so I started in a very tight swim, on the wrong end of the wind. Not that it makes too much difference on this venue - there are teeming hoards of these small carp. I managed to get a few interested and landed an F1 for my troubles. However, by 17.30 hrs, the majority of members had packed up leaving me with the freedom to have another look around and choose another swim (or swims?)
I was rather amused to note that, almost to a man, the anglers were geared up for carp fishing - their general approach based upon legered luncheon meat or sweetcorn. "We don't want those bivvy boys" comment from a committee member ringing in my ears - carp, and carp angling, are the very basis for UK freshwater fishing, as an industry, in 2017. The club either moves with the times, or goes under? Funnily enough, I hadn't joined for the carp fishing, it was the perch that were responsible for my initial interest and provided the focus for my early efforts. Still, as things have panned out, I'm not too sad about the fact that I have a carp puddle as a club water.

Like peas in a pod - scamp carp come in all guises at the club venue.
The bottom image is not in black & white - it's a "ghostie"
Quite what my fellow members are thinking (?) of when casting a bottom bait out into the pond, when the fish are clearly showing in the upper layers, is beyond my comprehension. You make your bed - you lay in it! I'd changed my reel over to an ABU 66X, purely because I am able to cast further with a fixed spool, but stuck with the Tring Tench rod and free lined bread. But I did have a tweak which provided a spectacular edge! I used wholemeal instead of the regulation Kingsmill white. There are a few issues with the presentation, the bread is not very robust, but the fish love it and I took a succession of carp as the light started to fall away, plus a bonus ide (which I weighed at 2 lbs) that provided a nice comparison to the fish of Wednesday.

A wonderful surprise at the club lake - I can remember "twitching" these
at Marshside not too long ago!
I finished up with fifteen (ish) carp and that bonus ide, so a very good session. However, the highlight had to be my encounter with a Willow Emerald damselfly - this is possibly the first site record? I had seen Steve Gale's recent post and felt it poetic justice when I focused the camera on this wonderful creature. There's an awful lot more to fishing than catching fish!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Stranger on my unhooking mat

It's been a really testing past few weeks as Bev and I attempt to adapt our lives to Ron & Denise (Bev's parents) also living in our bungalow. Never going to be easy for any of us, but needs must and that's all there is to it! As for fishing? Hardly number one priority at present yet, when the opportunity arose, Wednesday afternoon, I went down to the club water armed with just a single rod, landing net, two boxes of dog biscuits, a couple of slices of bread crust and very little else. Conditions were perfect, with heavy cloud and a muggy feel, the carp were easily located swimming around in the upper layers - spot on for surface fishing!
An 11 ft 6 ins, 1 lbs 2 oz t/c Tring Tench Rod, my Match Aerial centre-pin, 5.2 lbs b.s. Drennan line and a barbless size 10 "Animal" hook was all I required. No floats, leads or other such stuff - free lined bread crust (cut into small cubes) being all that was required. I ended the session having landed seven and lost three carp, I missed more than I hooked! Quite simply, I smashed it and enjoyed myself immensely - just what the doctor ordered. I was only there under three hours and have to say the session provided a massive boost to my flagging morale. The lake (rather a grandiose description of a small man-made hole in the ground) is little more than a match angling carp puddle and, as such, the biggest fish I am likely to catch is a low/mid double? With this in my thinking, I didn't carry any scales or weigh sling, with me. Big error, no; I didn't catch a monster carp but, I did land the biggest Ide I've ever seen. If I'd had some scales it would now be my PB - instead it's just a wet fish on my unhooking mat! Happy daze.

A lovely fish which will never make my PB list because guesstimation  has no place in
my angling. If I want a weight, then I use a set of scales. It's not such a difficult concept to grasp?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Absolute, total losers - ISIS scum

ISIS fuckwits thinking that they are furthering their lost cause? Barcelona is bigger than they'll ever be. My heart goes out to those caught up in this latest demonstration of cowardice - Dead Fred has this to say click here 

Sparrow show continues

The garden feeding station continues to be the focus of my attentions, the ravenous hoards of House Sparrows being the main attraction. Never having spent any time looking at the species, until recently, they are providing much more interest than I'd envisaged. It is a long time since I spent extended time watching a single species, even less, concentrating on one so, supposedly, familiar?

Sparrows are fascinating little birds, aren't they? One little aside, that might provide amusement, is that I have been made aware of a company called B&M, they have a store at Westwood Cross, where I can purchase 12.5 kg of wild bird seed for £3.99 and 50 fatballs for even less. All of a sudden, feeding the garden birds becomes an awful lot easier; and cheaper! A new seed feeder, with six feeding ports, is a recent purchase and seems to be doing the business - happy days!

It's not all about sparrows!