The safari went a short walk out east this arvo. Ater struggling in the morning to add another species to the Great February Back Garden Count - and there's been a Raven kicking about that could well have been visible from the garden - an almost mild and very pleasant afternoon promised much...and produced the goods...nothing special but good to be out and about if only a few hundred yards from Base Camp. A massive patch of Snowdrops looked stunning, nearby a Goldcrest hovered about underneath Bramble leaves in the style of a Pallas's Warbler. But lacking the pale rump and fancy head stripes it was 'only' a Goldcrest. A Song Thrush gave a few blasts of 'Did he do it? did he do it? did he do it? He did, he did, he did!' Very nice to hear this increasingly scarce song...they used to be so common; what have we done to the environment to lose something so familiar only a few short years ago? Happily there was a second a little further on.
A few minutes down the track the muddy gate to the horse paddock provided rich pickings, a solitary Dunnock and a flock of about 25 Goldfinches. In with the Goldfinches were a few Greenfinches. They were interested in a very muddy patch by a puddle but it was impossible to tell what they were after...there didn't seem to be anything there but as soon as I had moved away they flew straight back.
Suddenly they exploded from the ground in all directions plunging deep in to the adjacent bushes...a Sparrowhawk came through only inches off the ground and would have left Lewis Hamilton standing it was motoring that fast.
Not much further on a Kestrel was swooping about the edge of the housing estate much more sedately.
The return journey was quieter but a few House Sparrows twittered in their usual excited way in the bushes at the side of the track. It's a real shame we don't get these enigmatic little chaps at Base Camp.
Last job before hitting the tarmac was to hunt for the winter rosettes of Bee Orchids, and within a few minutes two had been located. More time for a thorough search would probably have revealed several more...nice to find in February though and if I hadn't lost the cable that attaches the camera to the computer you might have seen some photos...musta left it at work.
Where to next? Chance of a short safari to somewhere or other tomorrow...no work...day off...SORTED!!!
In the meantime let us know what isn't in your environment anymore.