Saturday, 17 October 2009

A late start produces the goods

The safari had the luxury of a lie in this morning - a real bonus cos it was after sunrise when we got to Patch 1. Patch 1 in the light!!!
Too late for the Robins although there were still some ‘ticking’ away in the undergrowth. It would have been nice to have got there a few minutes earlier and get a good count. 250+ Jackdaws going seawards were noisy. Meanwhile we hit the thrush jackpot. The first Fieldfare of the winter launched itself out of the Fox’s scrub followed by a Blackbird and a handful of Redwings. In the park proper the treetops were alive with the ‘chack-chack-chack’ of more Fieldfares and the ‘seeepp-ing’ of Redwings. In all 22 Fieldfares and over 100 Redwings were seen to set off eastwards from the roost.
The dog walkers were out in force, but it was noticeable that there were a few more Blackbirds than normal skulking around in the darker recesses away from the mad mutts.
Back at Base Camp I learned that Frank had got caught short in the small hours and had to be taken out…Wifey reported that she had heard several Redwings going over; “really ‘loud’ and obvious in the still of the night.”
A machine full of laundry needed to be hung out before going to work, despite it still being frosty. Shock – horror…well if not horror then at least a little more than slight amazement – A Painted Lady flew over the garage roof and off eastwards at gutter height down the ginnel between us an next door!!!??? I say amazement cos the thermometer on the garage wall showed 3.5ºC and the sun hadn’t yet broken through the thin cloud. It was odds on the damp washing would freeze a bit before it started to dry! Definitely one for the Autumnwatch team as requested on the show last night.

A chilly few minutes on Patch 2 before the mayhem that is a Family Fun Day began was dismal. All the scoters, what few there were, were a long way off in the shimmer – heat haze this morning? Only thing of any note was a Grey Seal lurking furtively in the shallows of the rising tide, just his eyes and nose showing; then he dived into the Goldeneye/dodgy Grebe’s black hole and wasn’t seen again.

The fun filled families hit the rockpools and we had a ball! All the usual suspects were duly netted and potted. Apart from a Beadlet Anenome which we decided to leave stuck in its rocky lair.

Anti-clockwise from the top left:- 2 Sand Gobies, Brown Shrimp and Sand Goby, Purple Laver with Sand Mason Worm tube below, Green Shore Crab, Golden Sand Star, Common Prawn (note position of eyes - on stalks - compared to the shrimp - forward facing), Edible Mussel, Banded Wedge Shell.

A close up of the crab and starfish with a bit of the beautifully named Gutweed intertwined. Below is a lump of seaweed that was brought to me for inspection right at the death. Not seen it before but I think - and correct me if I'm wrong - it is Sea Oak.

Managed to snap a roosting Turnstone at full range of the lens but shortly after missed out on two still roosting on the rocks even though the tide was well out and they were much nearer. Typical, but my excuse is I didn't see them until they flushed cos their camouflage is too good in amongst the seaweed, unlike the one I did get which was sat above the high water mark on a clean bit of the wall.

All followed by a salacious bit of gratuitous Herring Gull porn.

Where to next? Not sure if we'll get a safari tomorrow, wood chopping and attic clearing might be order of the day.

In the meantime let us know what's sneaking around in the depths of the pools in your outback.

Stop hot in from wifey, who is off out gallivanting tonight...Barn Owl nearly flew into her car by the old windmill at Staining, a little village not too far east of here.

PS..just had a look on the Hilbre Bird Obs blog (see blog list on right) and noted the Slavering Grebe on there. My 'grebe' the other day was longer necked and darker about the face than this individual is showing...hmmm.


Night said...

Great seagulll pic. I like the ways you show the waves well. Did you use a long lens or get close up?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Night - I used full optical zoom on my Fuji S8100 with a bit of crouched stalking and a lot of crop later to get the most from the wave action.