Archives for the month of: July, 2013

I really should try to come up with a subject for a post, but instead I’ll try to recap the last 2 months worth of activities.

Patch League

Trundling along as ever, like Hannibal’s elephants.

Some rather surprising records have been gathered. Africa‘s juvenile nuthatch was particularly odd. If you aren’t from East Yorkshire you are probably thinking to yourself “Nuthatch? Highlight? I’ve stood on twelve as I walked to my car, laughing as their puny avian bones crunched under my enormous primate feet. Ha”. But we are somewhat lacking in nuthatch. Probably because we have about 6 oak trees in the county. That’s an estimate obviously, it’s probably significantly less.

James has rock pools on his patch so he just has to offer a pint of blood and hair to Poseidon  once a week and he magically gathers hundreds of lobsters. It’s unfair really.

My personal peak was a little ringed plover feeding on the banks of the river. It shouldn’t have been there and without having seen it since I can only presume it has learnt it’s lesson.

I’m already plotting next years patch league. Can things be improved? I’d like an easier way to tally up species counts, as everybody has there own way of spreadsheeting, and not all of them are amazingly helpful. I’m ungrateful swine really.

Moth surprises

The year was 2013, late June if memory serves me correct. Someone was sitting on the throne and two litre bottles of pepsi were at their cheapest ever price. Heady days they were, salad days in fact. I arrived home from my office doldrums to be told of a creature seen in my partner’s parent’s garden. “Like a moth but waspy” was the description. I inquired as to were it was seen. “On the currant bushes”. My heart went a flutter. I regretted selling my fainting couch. I regretted taking my tightening my corset even more that afternoon. I surmised that a currant clearwing had been seen. After seeing a picture of the wee critter it was confirmed. So I went to see them on the next warm and found this:

Currant Clearwing
Going at it like drunks at a wedding. Or parisians in a back alley. Or something else foul.

North Yorkshire

Having finished an extended chunk of office misery, I deemed a holiday was in order. Where did I go you might wonder? The jungles of West Africa? The plains of America? Scarborough? It was the last one. I went to Scarborough. I really can’t afford the others. Despite the less than ideal weather I had a fine time, seeing several new orchids (the whores of the flower world) and bothering some butterflies.

Fly Orchid

Dark Green Fritillary

Red necked footmen
White Letter Hairstreak

Saw one in Hull. It can be added to list of nice things in Hull. I’m up to 5 nice things in hull now. This was another:
Speckled bush cricket


Nonsensical blog-post title! Hooray!

Yesterday I received a text from the Scarborough Bird Alert. I forget exactly what it said, but in essence it listed a hearty list of pleasant-but-not-unusual birds and then, at the end of the message, almost as an afterthought, was the sentence ‘Oh yeah and a dead Minke Whale at Holbeck and stuff’.

I was galvanised into action. “Helen” I hollered, “Helen! There’s a dead whale on the beach – do you want to go see it”. Helen stoically agreed.

We dashed to the car and set off, getting almost immediately stuck in traffic due to there being a suicidalist on valley bridge. After a hefty delay, the traffic was diverted, and I managed to park up near Holbeck.

Unfortunately, as the tide was on the way in, it was impossible to walk along the beach to actually see the whale close up, but it was possible to have a decent view through binoculars. I was also able to get distant grainy photos:

Distant Whale

The tide wasn’t high enough to refloat the whale and drag it back to the depths; all the waves managed to do was move it further up the shore.

Whilst watching the whale shifting in the surf, I spotted a couple of cheeky Med Gulls on the sea:

Med Gulls

Eventually it reached high tide, and realising the Minke wasn’t going to float off, we returned home.

On the drive home, however, I was struck by a beast of an idea. If the tide was high now (19.20) then it would be low again in a mere six hours! (1.20 am ish). In fact, the tide would probably be low enough for us to access the whale by 23.00 hours or so. I proposed this idea to Helen, who agreed that it was possibly the best idea I’ve ever had.

I spent the next few hours gathering torches and deciding on what appropriate clothing to wear. Then, when the allotted time arrived, we set off.

Arriving at Holbeck it was possible to notice the light of quite a few torches on the beach. Clearly, several people had experienced the same brainwave. A short wander along the shore brought us the the tremendous corpse of the behemoth, with a small crowd milling around and taking photographs. There was almost a carnival atmosphere in the air (I’ve never been to a carnival). I then set about photographing the entire creature:

The 'Throat'

The ‘Throat’

The 'Middle'

The ‘Middle’

The 'Lower End'

The ‘Lower End’

The 'Fluke'

The ‘Fluke’

I was pleased to see that it hadn’t taken long for people to start throwing stones at rathjer swollen portions of its anatomy:

The 'Mouth'

The ‘Mouth’

The 'Eye'

The ‘Eye’

The 'Swollen Tongue'

The ‘Swollen Tongue’

The 'Fin'

The ‘Fin’

The 'Blowhole'

The ‘Blowhole’

The 'Dorsal Fin'

The ‘Dorsal Fin’

Pretty lazy post this really; it’s mostly just pictures. Though I will add a fact about Minke Whales which is one of my favourite facts of all time – Minke whales might be named after a Norwegian whaler called Meincke, who mistook one for a Blue Whale. You can imagine it, can’t you? All those Norwegian whalers. Every time they saw a Minke they’d be all “Hey, Meincke, there’s another one of your ‘Blue Whales’ LOLOL”. And then, eventually, they’d just start calling them Meincke Whales. Wonderful fact.

Oh and one more picture, me in sad contemplation of the whale: