Two safaris today!
First up was a not too early trip to the seaside. With a north by northwesterly wind there wasn't much about, it would probably have been better yesterday with the gentle southerly that was blowing. All we found was a Grey Wagtail, at least three Wheatears and a Meadow Pipit. Out to sea the only birds seen were two Gannets and a small number of very distant Common Scoters. As the tide came in and the fishermen began to arrive a roost of just over fifty each of Redshanks and Turnstones developed on the wall of the old boating lake. The central pool of this mass of concrete has become a mini salt marsh with grasses and huge patch of Sea Aster which would have been beautiful a couple of weeks ago when in full flower. I had some photos for this section of the blog but managed to inadvertently format the memory card in the camera - - what a numpty!!!!
I hope today's fishermen are tidier than last night's - the prom was a disgrace of discarded line, bait packets, beer cans (empty) and food wrappers - take it home with you please!
Later on with blue skies and balmy temperatures the safari headed the Land Rover northwards up the motorway. The idea was to scout around and see if we could find any Adders basking in the afternoon sunshine. We thought it might be their last chance to get nice and warm and ready for feeding before the weather cools down and it's hibernation time again. We had a good poke around in a favoured area but the Sunday sunshine had brought out ramblers and dog walkers by the thousand so finding somewhere quiet and undisturbed was proving to be difficult. After about an hour we gave up; all we had seen were a few Common Darter dragonflies and a couple of washed out Speckled Wood butterflies. There was no sign of any snakes, not even a Common Lizard so the Land Rover was pointed in the direction of the Otters.
As soon as we were ensconced in the hide by the reedbed a Water Rail showed very well but all too briefly. In the distance a Marsh Harrier snoozed in a bush. Not much was happening but we were there for the waiting game. Two Stoats dashed across the mud right in front of us (right family - wrong species!), their black tipped tails showing they weren't Weasels.
The Marsh Harrier eventually took to the wing and had a short spin round the reedbed before disappearing off over the hill opposite. Later it or a different one was putting the terrors on the local ducks before plunge diving into the reedbed and flushing a Snipe and two Reed Buntings. As the afternoon turned to evening we were treated to a very nice sunset, the colours reflecting beautifully in the water of the lake. The temperature dropped and four Little Egrets came in to roost, but by the time darkness had fallen they had been joined by about another 25 or so making a scene more reminiscent of the Mediterranean than north Lancashire - how times are a-changing.
By now it was too dark to see and the Otters still hadn't appeared so reluctantly it was time to leave.
Was this really the last of the summer sun?
On the way back to the Land Rover a Tawny Owl was heard hooting in the distance and just before we reached the tarmac we flushed what sounded to be 3 or 4 Deer (probably Red Deer) from the reeds just to the side of the path, they crashed through the reeds away from us with much more noise that you normally associate with Deer.
Where to next? You'll have to wait and see - could be anywhere.
In the meantime let us know what you have found in your outback.