A Slippery Slope

So I didnt go to Glastonbury this year and I probably wont next year either.  Indeed the last time I went was in 1997 and what an interesting year it was.  Tony Blair became Priminister (dont worry there will be no more political talk, as I am sure you are here to read about something else right now).  Carlos the Jackal was caught and two very well known people sadly passed away.  You can search that one up if your not sure...

Anyway thats all well and good.  So why am I mentioning Glasto?  There is a reason (albeit rather tenuous).  Like most years it had  been raining a lot and the site was covered in sludge with cars being pulled about by tractors and people looking rather bedraggled.  Now, I went to Center Parcs.  I swapped the sounds of Ellie Goulding and Coldplay for the twittering of birds and the crunch of pine cones underfoot.

Upon arrival  it was clear we were in a good position for some wildlife action.  Within a few minutes I had found a Badger set about 20 meters from the lodge.  A great start.  But then something even better happened.  A samll deer was trotting along at the bottom of the slope, followed by an even smaller deer.  Both looked different to the default deer I normally see.  Not a Roe but a Muntjac and fawn!

Blowing raspberries...

There is a fawn to the left... Sadly in my enthusiasm to get closer I successfully went arse over tit and crashed down the slope.  Sending both deer scurrying into the undergrowth.  Leaving me with a brown stain on my bum and a bruised arm.

Despite the accident I was very lucky to see one (two) at all.  Plus the fawn was the cutest thing ever.

On the way back the heavens opened and a scrambled back to the lodge where I took some scenic pictures from the warm


  Bit like a rainforest, without the snakes.

After the rain comes the sun (for a bit).  I only took the shot because of the weird light blobs.

After throwing all manner of food stuffs outside the door I waited for a Badger... and waited and then... a cat came along and ate most of it...

The next day we headed to the lake, where there are a few Mallards along with a few gulls and sometimes a heron.  Nothing to get overly excited about.  But I couldn't resist this little chap.

 Some more cute

Night time soon drew in and it was time to throw out quiche, bread and a large chunk of ham onto the patio area - it was a right mess...

The cat came first, then a few Chaffinches, 6 Squirrels and then...

 Snout deep in quiche

Sadly the light was awful but luckily Andrew's manual lens he has loaned to me was more up to the task than the automatic stuff.

This Badger was a big un.  Within moments the quiche was gone.  Then he sniffed out the ham.  In a flash he wrapped his jaws around the hunk of meat and waddled off...

I was pleased as punch.  I will certainly be parcing up here again in the future.


Pugwash and the Puffins


Go on Lundy Island he said! We'll see lots of Seals and Puffins and stuff he said! Yes I said! What James had actually booked was a dingy trip that goes around Lundy for four hours and not on Lundy. Great I said you haven't thought this through have you.
We arrived at Ilfracombe harbour and I was very skeptical all along. Four hours going around an island in the Bristol Chanel wasn't my idea of fun. For a start its never warm on the sea. Far too much breeze even on a good day. For another thing the bloody boat sorry dingy will be bobbing up and down so much we're going to get nothing but blurry birds and cliffs. It had disaster written all over it. Reminiscent of the caravan scene in father Ted where they think their in a nice big 10 berth beauty the man pointed at a very nice large white beast and said thats her. He meant the little yellow one behind it
So we boarded and set off. Just to mention I, as usual, was fully equipped with coat and top and stout boots James on the other hand was in tee shirt shots and flip-flops. Good old James ever the optimist!

How wrong I was about all this. The sea was dead calm, the boat was as steady as a rock and the views amazing. Even when we were doing the forty five minute sail direct to the island it was amazing to see the white clouds mixed with the faint mist onto the grey calm flat sea. We even saw a Porpoise fin from afar. Gradually the number of Guillemots looking slightly bemused as we passed them in the water increased and the island appeared out of the gloom. This is arguably the best way to see the wildlife as your above the cliffs and far from the shore if you land. We were in the thick of it amongst the locals.

Grey Seal comin' atcha

Herring v Oyster Catcher

Greater Black Back Gull

See what I mean about the light?

I have to say the driver erm pilot erm skipper erm admiral erm Captain Pugwash and his able seaman were very informative about the island showing us various points of interest such as shipwrecks and mile markers along the cliffs. We gently bobbed along with ample time to snap away at anything we fancied. All done in a very friendly and casual manner.

I do like a Razor Bill

Oyster Catcher

Shags and a Cormorant

Nice view

Fulmars are really difficult but I love them. They have that 'Raptor' feel about them especially when they fly

Guillemots galore

And the one we were all waiting for peoples favourite the Puffin

Lots of them about mostly trying to avoid the boat

The surprise of the day was a Kittiwake which was nice

Nice example of a Bridled and unbridled Guillemot

Puffins thousands of them everywhere

Nice view but you're in the wrong place mate

Rock formations were cool

If you want to see more of the island and stuff not related to birding then head over to our other site manualfocusuk.com There's a link on the right hand side of this page to.

Only a few Gannets around which was a tad disappointing as I would liked to have got some diving.

The resident goats having a graze

And with a "That was Lundy folks" we turned and headed for home having circumnavigated the entire island and taken a good tow hours about it. It seamed like a few minutes. Only one thing left to see and that was of course the........

Dolphin! Well it looked like one from afar

So the EFRS would like to give a big thank you to the folks at www.ilfracombeseasafari.co.uk We would highly recommend them folks. Well worth the money and they really enjoy their job. We even got a bit of a blast as we headed into harbour. Skipper opened her up and gave us a thrill ride for a minute or two just to round things off.

James: To be honest my pictures are almost identical to Andrew's!  But never mind here are a few which are a bit different...



These are to obvious to describe

After all Andrews moaning.  He ended up loving it.