The safari was out pre dawn on Patch 1 as usual this morning and after last night’s Redwing fest there was more of the same. Not as many going over but still a fair amount of ‘sseeepp’ing was heard in the darkness. The first part of the walk along the road is illuminated by street lights and every garden seemed to have a Robin either chittering or singing. Patch 1 proper is totally unlit and they hadn’t woken up yet, it would have been interesting to get a decent count as there sounded to be more than usual in the gardens.
Back at Base Camp just after first light we watched about 50 Redwings come out from a roost not too far away, possibly Magpie Wood. They headed off SE on their journey to wherever it is they end up…the country must be full of millions of them by now.
Grey and calm again at Patch 2. First bird seen was close inshore…a female Goldeneye, first of the winter! It dived once and must have drowned cos I never saw it again! Where on Earth did it go? A Grey Seal bottled out in the distance among a loose spread of Common Scoters, the sneaky ‘other’ Scoter is still managing to elude us. A Great Crested Grebe winged its way south, what a weird flight they have that almost defies migration. A little further to the north a Red Throated Diver was resting on the gentle swell.
We were hoping for a Harbour Porpoise as October is the only month they’ve not been seen since I’ve been keeping records for this stretch of coast. However, a dead animal was found not far to the north on the far side of the river on 4th October. I don’t know who found it so no idea of its condition. If in good condition it could have been a victim of the previous day’s ‘Leach’s Petrel storm’ thus being alive and in the area during October; if in poor condition it could easily have been floating around dead since the end of September. We need more sightings to determine if there are any seasonal patterns to their coastal distribution. A few more years’ worth of live sightings!
As for small stuff passing over – none…not a hint of any vis at all.
Back out on patch 2 at lunch time and a total grey-out in the murky drizzle. Nothing doing, two small fishing boats moored up in the gloom, barely a Scoter to be seen. The whickering of Oystercatchers was the only sound coming from the beach where a couple of dozen of the black and white beauties were forging amongst the debris left by the tide. Strangely no Sanderlings pattering up and down the water’s edge today. We gave the gulls a good grilling but again nothing stood out as outstanding, pick of the bunch was the grand total of three Lesser Black Backs.
Then, almost out of nowhere, we picked up a bird in the near-middle distance, bearing in mind its 800 yards across the beach as well, that was just a little bit ‘sus’. A smallish grebe with a longish all dark neck…hmmm very interesting. It promptly did a Goldeneye ie disappeared without trace under the waves…is there a bird black hole out there? We scanned and scanned and scanned again and then scanned some more but it didn’t show. Frustratingly I think we just missed out on potentially one of the best birds of the coast this winter; a Red Necked Grebe. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrggggggggghh If one appears in the vicinity in the next couple of days you saw it here first folks.
The Rangers popped in with a tub full of wierdos. What are these three grubs,anyone out there in blogland got any ideas? They were all found on a Hazel leaf, they might even all be the same species – help please…I’m almost certain they’re not lepidopteran but feel free to prove me wrong. Might try to grow them on and see what emerges next spring. Did that once a few years ago with a nice big pupa. Still got it in the jar in the garage…and yes I did put air holes in the lid before you ask!
Where to next? More of the same probably, nothing special planned just yet.
In the meantime let us know what’s frustrating you in your outback.