Quixotic grouse


A red grouse tilting at a wind turbine on Thursday.

(A bird after my own heart.)

They're taking the piss now...

BBC: Cyclone Hudhud causes widespread damage in eastern India
India's east coast has been pounded by a powerful cyclone, Hudhud, with winds of up to 205km/h (127mph).

I take it Hudhud is the Hindi equivalent of Norbert. Either way, it's still a damn stupid name.

Stop it!

(Oh, apparently, hudhud is a local name for a hoopoe. I rest my case.)


True story: My Dad has just informed me that, after he had hit a near-perfect drive down the fairway on Saturday, a rook swooped down and flew off with his golfball.

Dolphin, fish, bird!

Jen and I were on holiday in Anglesey the week before last. There's a selection of photos here, if you're even vaguely interested (or even if you're not).

Long-term Gruts readers will no doubt recall that, two years ago, fresh back from another holiday in Anglesey, I delighted them with a photograph of a heron being startled by a dolphin. How could Richard possibly top that, I hear you ask.

Oh ye of little faith! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dolphin, fish, bird!

Dolphin, fish, bird!

It's a gift.


Short-eared owl

A short-eared owl on Tuesday

I spotted this short-eared owl at Burton Marshes on the Wirral on Tuesday, after I had visited Carolyn bearing pies. It was only my second ever absolutely definite short-eared owl.

I also saw my first ever hen harrier. These are bloody rare. Unfortunately, I spotted it just as I arrived, and my camera was still in my car boot at the time. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Other photos »

Cold snap


A cliché yesterday

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Proud to report...

As our train emerged from the Channel Tunnel yesterday, the first words I ever uttered on French soil were: "Can you smell garlic?"

Don't ask about the loos on the overnight train from France to Italy, though. The dirty, dirty bastards. I've finally worked out why the French are such a miserable lot: permanent constipation.

Anyhow, hello from Florence, Italy, where I have just eaten a pistachio ice-cream, and watched egrets and kingfishers next to the River Arno.

Where does a chap get a decent cup of tea round here? (We brought our own, you know.)