Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to 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!


Saturday, 4 February 2023

Moving on

 Unless I really start to get amongst the RMC Pike, I'm not minded to undertake three sessions/week purely because of the fuel expense involved. Two trips equates to one-hundred & fifty miles, give or take, and that's more than enough driving for me. However, Bev has no issues with me doing three angling sojourns per week and, as a result, my fishing is split between the serious Pike pursuit and a very laid-back Carp dalliance. It would probably be better to say "scamp" folly. The C&DAA Brook Lake, at Minster, is my chosen venue and I'm having an absolute blast, Three and a half hours, on Friday afternoon/evening, resulted in five Carp visiting the landing net. What's not to enjoy? The biggest fish weighed in at 9 lbs 14 oz, but really doesn't matter, I had a fantastic time bending a fishing rod.

My tactics are very simple. I'm using a seed mix (Racing Pigeon conditioner) with added sweetcorn and boily crumb as my attractor with a very basic "blow back" rig presented 15 mm boily. Rigs are positioned using the "Bushwhacker" baiting pole at 24 metres (I've got sixteen sections to play with) and feel sure that my bait actually becomes the focus in this very featureless irrigation reservoir. The real edge that the baiting pole system provides has to be accuracy, without disturbance? There are no leads crashing into the swim, nor the whirring sounds of a bait boat (banned on the venue - I believe?) This is stealth presentation at the top end and the Carp are certainly un-phased by the minimal disturbance. My membership ticket only allows me to use two rods which is more than adequate at this prolific fishery. I've already experienced a bite, whilst attaching the bobbin, thus further proof of the effectiveness of the baiting pole presentation.

Both these carpy images were taken using a very old Fuji Finepix camera.
I won't make the same mistake again.

As I was leaving, yesterday evening, it was blatantly obvious how many moths were on the wing along the entrance track. So tonight, for the first time in 2023, the Robinson 125w MV trap has been fired up and is now illuminating the garden including the Fox & Hedgehog feeding bowls. Not too sure how things will turn out but, you've got to be in it to win it! A Mottled Umber would be a nice start.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Better than blanking

 Back down on the RMC, this morning, with just a single bite for my troubles. A nice Pike, of 14 lbs 2 oz, gracing the landing net and, therefore, allowing me further practice with the self-take gizmo.

It's nice to have the chance to prat about taking shots of fish like this as it really doesn't matter if I make a complete "pig's ear" of the result. What's important is the lessons provided during such times. The last thing I want is to discover that I've completely screwed up the photos of a new PB! Top excitement from the session was provided by a perched Little Egret. It obviously felt safe on its' perch, high up on the opposite bank and I rattled off over one hundred shots as a result. Got to say that some of the better images are the very best I've ever captured of these lovely birds. 

I realise that this post is very short and sweet; there's a lot going on at the moment. Family stuff has no place in blogdom, but there are plenty of birds and fish to keep me entertained if all goes to my February plan?

Friday, 27 January 2023

Garden newbie

 I've been listening to the Man City vs Arsenal game on Radio Manchester (via the BBC sounds app) and it is 0 - 0 at half time. Outside the study there's been a new Fox at the feeding station. It is a very battle scarred individual, although doesn't appear to be struggling. Unlike the other visitors, this character is very confident and has come straight up to the bowl without any fannying around. I've grabbed enough images to ensure that all the id features have been recorded. Are the scars around the face and that open wound on its' front left leg a result of inter Fox squabbling or has it had an encounter with a domestic dog?

Still buzzing after yesterday's excitement and already planning the next visit to another stretch of the RMC where I enjoyed a good level of success twelve months ago.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Effort = success

A more apt title, for this post, might have been "Everything comes to he who waits"? A session on the Royal Military Canal, today, was the precursor for my February challenge. I'd not done much more than keep an eye on the BBC weather app, pertaining to what was occurring around the Hythe area. Wind strength/direction, sunshine/cloud cover, temperatures and moon phases don't figure in my Pike angling. The single most important factor is water quality/clarity and, for me to have any chance of success, lack of rainfall is key. Thus, I'd been keeping abreast of rainfall predictions and come to the conclusion that today would be worth a gamble. With the benefit of last winter's campaign logged clearly in my diaries, it was a very simple task to pick a section where I felt confident of some Pike action. All that was required is for the Pike to have read the same script!

There's gold at the end of them RMC rainbows.

On my way by 05.10 hrs, I was pushing my barrow along the tow-path little more than an hour later. Three baits in position less than two hours after leaving home and I was feeling confident. Three hours, and two leapfrogs, later and that confidence was definitely on the wane. It was 10.40 hrs when I rang Bev and almost immediately my right hand alarm signalled a take. What a total pig's ear I made of the situation and missed the fish completely - didn't feel a thing! Bait quickly repositioned, it was less than ten minutes later that the same rod was away again (almost certainly the same fish?) and this time, no phone involved, I went through the drill and set the hooks. Game on!

I knew it was a decent fish, the fight being dogged yet not spectacular, and within a couple of minutes it was in the net. Once unhooked, the scales revealed my prize to be a smidge under 21lbs and a very nice way to get the project started. Really thankful that I've now got that intervalometer gizmo, although there's still a long way to go before I'd say it was performing to the level required - operator error, on my part, without question. I remained on the bank for another three hours - not another bleep from the alarms. It would seem that if I'm to salvage anything from this dismal 2022/23 season then the RMC is where it will happen?

Monday, 23 January 2023

Biding my time

 The bedroom has undergone a major makeover as Bev and I attempt to get the bungalow back into some form of normality. Our living room has been rather neglected since the passing of Bev's mum, Denise. Having converted it into a bedroom, during that traumatic period, the space held too many painful memories for us both, thus we just used it as a storeroom. Time, as they say, is a great healer and we are now ready to get on with life moving forward rather than dwelling upon the past. The room is cleared, a chimney sweep booked for next Saturday, after which we will be able forget about the spiralling costs of running the central heating and enjoy the comfort of a log fire, once again. One glaring omission will be that of a sofa. We've purchased one from DFS, but have been informed there is a fourteen week delay due to each item being made to order (in China?). Still, we do have have two large recliners in which to park our arses whilst we await DFS to do their thing. All we require to then finish the job is a TV, which we won't need to wait three months for delivery

Fishing has been, very much, a secondary pursuit in recent times. Any plans I had are now consigned to the bin and I'm just going through the motions as this season meanders towards an unsatisfactory end. Thank goodness for the farm irrigation reservoirs and those "scamp" Carp which reside in the murky depths. Absolutely perfect for wasting away a few hours, safe in the knowledge that a bent fishing rod is virtually guaranteed at some point during the session.

With no pressure, or expectations, it is the perfect situation in which to simply enjoy the experience of being outdoors. I've taken to playing around with the cameras, just to see if I can capture some images which are a bit different? I've also got a new toy, an intervalometer. Never heard of it? Me neither, until I saw Ollie Davies using one on a Nash Youtube offering. Basically it is an electronic remote timer which plugs into the camera and allows me to record a series of consecutive images without needing to return to the camera. Auto focussing is certainly a huge advantage over the manual option I had to use when doing self-takes prior to this acquisition. It's obviously going to take some practice before I'm completely at ease with the process, yet first impressions seem very favourable.

All going well, I'm hopeful of getting out with the Pike kit before the weekend. Not too sure where, but it would certainly be nice to get the back-biters out of storage and shift some dead baits from the freezer. I can't go a complete Pike season without landing a double - can I?

Friday, 20 January 2023

Sorry state of affairs

Nineteen days into 2023 and I spotted my first Greenfinch of the year. Fortunately it was a spanking adult male feeding, alongside a bunch of Goldies, on one of our sunflower heart feeders in the garden. Less than twenty years ago they were so numerous as to be given little more than a casual glance, how the passing of time has changed my perception. Is there any point in lamenting the situation? What's happened in the past is done and nothing I, or anyone else, do can change that basic fact. I could just have easily used Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer or even Song Thrush to serve as an example of species which have simply disappeared from the local avian demographic, a very sorry state indeed.

My local wildlife fixes have still been able to provide much enjoyment although, lightning couldn't strike twice, as another attempt at Barn Owl photography drew a blank. On the plus side, that particular outing did produce a superb, if distant, adult male Merlin perched in a dead tree overlooking the set-a-side where the owl favours. A pair of Stonechats were flicking about some game cover and I flushed thirty-plus Common Snipe from a flooded field as I wandered around the area.

There's been three different Foxes using our feeding station. It would seem that there is some form of hierarchy as they come to the food individually and are very flighty. Certainly no chance of any of them becoming hand tame going on current behaviour! By using the camera and viewing the subsequent images it is possible to pick out facial patterns which allow me to identify the individuals involved. It would seem that it will become an ongoing project. 

Two, very distinctively marked, individuals which turned up this evening 

Talking of ongoing projects, I bumped into Franny whilst queueing at the Tesco checkout, the other day, and he asked if I would like to get involved with some Thanet moth recording? I think you might know my response, but I did say that I was happy for him to use anything posted on the blog, if he wished. We exchanged email details and have set in place some lose plans for the coming season.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Afternoon delight

A busy day spent catching up with those "just jobs" which have been put off on more than one occassion. As a result the oven looks like new, the fridge got a proper sort out and preparation for a bedroom revamp is well ahead of our weekend schedule. Much the same for tomorrow, all going well, and hopefully more wardrobe sorting prior to the living room being completely cleared in preparation for a visit from the local chimney sweep. Could  get messy? As I wasn't required to pick up Harry, my grandson, from school this afternoon, I decided to take a short stroll around the farm reservoirs in the hope of spotting the Barn Owl which I've recorded on three, of the past four, sessions down at the venue. 

I had little more than an hour of daylight remaining, as I parked the van and grabbed the camera. A lovely winter's afternoon, the heavy, overnight, frost remaining in the lea of the hedgerows where the sun had failed to reach. It was very satisfying to spot the owl, flying along an adjacent field margin, just before 16.00 hrs and I was grateful for the camera technology being able to function, so well, in the fading light. 

Not much else to report, although a calling male Grey Partridge was another addition to my meagre year list. With the weather forecast to remain very cold all week, I probably won't get the rods out again until after the weekend?