Saturday, 10 October 2009

In the footsteps of the Pilling Pig

The safari has suffered some spooky coincidences this week, it's been a bit weird at work. Then before putting finger to keyboard this evening I was having a browse through my usual favourite blogs and noticed that Fleetwoodbirder had to stay in to wait for a parcel and missed out on an early start - more spookyness so did I. Although I was out on Patch 1 at 06.00, just too early by a whole hour. Nothing doing somewhat obviously. Back at Base Camp a Skylark went over - at last a bit of vis, maybe I should have high-tailed it to the Prom, it was seriously misty though so seawatching would have been a bit difficult. Later, after posty had got his signature for the parcel, the safari set out eastwards for a meander along a long disused railwayline. At Pilling the old tank engine, very reminiscent of Thomas, but maroon instead of blue, is on display on the side of the road - the Pilling Pig! We were at the start of the line near Garstang Castle. What a lot of Rabbits. Not a lot of birds, a few Chaffinches and the odd Blackbird. On the parapet of an old crumbling bridge we found this little snail - no idea with molluscs I'm afraid.
A bridge across the current railwayline had loads of this snotty looking chap - Nostoc, in the corners of the treads. Nice and slimey after the recent rains. It really is one of my favourites...why? It's not particularly pleasant - but at least it doesn't smell.
A large patch of flowering Ivy was attracting a huge number of insects in the warm sunshine - yes summer has returned! Not to clever getting too close 'cos of the immense number of Common Wasps but a nearby fence post acted as a warming area when the sun went in. There were a number of these rather dapper Hoverflies - species name on a post card please - just look at those bright orange trainers he's wearing.
Jays have been passing down the west coast recently, being recorded at a number of coastal sites where they are not regular visitors. These photos are by our Extreme Photographer, Raf. - Many thanks.He likes peanuts, if you look at his crop it's chocka; we reckon he's eaten about 50 of them!Not often they pose for a portait.
The nuts were also attracting a few Nutchatches - crackin little chaps - I love em,wish we got em in the garden.

Not sure I like these in the garden though. But they do look cute, maybe the safari should dash out to the (fairly) local Red Squirrels.
Our main target was to suss out a mammal site for later. What species were we after. I'll give you a clue; at the site we saw a couple of Dippers, a Grey Wagtail. Speaking to a local we asked about the local wildlife and she said she'd seen the Dippers and the 'Cranes' (Herons) but she'd never seen our quarry and only one Kingfisher in 22 years of walking the riverbank. Not sure how hard she's been looking cos one flew past as we were chatting, she missed it. But we'll always settle for a nice Roe Deer. This one is obviously crossing a stream, but was doing it ever so cautiously step by step making sure there was a safe foothold. Not only that behind it lurking in the streamside bushes were another two or three waiting to see if the coast was clear.
Then it heard it heard something behind us. A few seconds later we heard it too. A freaking dog walker was throwing stones in the stream for his mutt, is nowhere safe from them, can't stand them the dough-brained oiks - and I'm one myself - hope I'm a bit more responsible than most when out with Frank.
No chance of getting a pic of the whole herd crossing as our lead deer did an about turn and legged it back the way it came. A lot less carefully this time.
Patch 1 had a flyover Cormorant on the second visit of the day, quite a rarity going over despite the fact patch 1 is less than a mile from the sea. Only one visit to go...the foxy one.
Where to next? Choices, choices, decisions, decisions...wonder if the weather forecast will be anything near accurate for a change they've been a bit hit and wildly miss recently.
In the meantime let us know what's crossing the streams in your outback.

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