Sunday, 11 October 2009

The safari was on Frank sitting duty this arvo so only one thing for it in the warm sunshine - dash out with the bins dog in tow. But where to go, again it was a bit breezy from the west so a sheltered-ish choice was our local nature reserve; Marton Mere, where a Cetti's Warbler had been heard earlier in the week.
Arriving on site it was a tad windier than we expected, the reeds dancing more than the crowd at a Robbie Williams gig and probably no chance of the Cetti's popping up out of the reeds. Still we had a listen every few yards. The wind was keeping most stuff quiet. A small flock of mixed tits, mostly Long Tails and Great Tits with a few Blue Tits but nothing more unusual like a Chiffchaff or a Goldcrest with them.
Moving round to the Container hide there were well over a hundred Teal in the scrape but again nothing more unusual so seeing a good sized flock of gulls in the distance it was time to high-tail it back round to the Fylde Bird Club hide where the sun would be better. A mix of Black Headed Gulls and Common Gulls but no chance of stringing any in to a Mediterranean Gull or Ring Billed Gull. Although we did find out later had been got there a bit earlier would would have had a 1st winter Med.
After the excitement of the safaris first Redwing the other night we had a flock of 5 fly over but as they got closer they turned into Song Thrushes, which is possibly more unusual. While we were grilling those a Red Admiral butterfly wobbled past on the stiff breeze.
half way down the mere the West Planting gave a patch of sunny, warm shelter and there were three male Migrant Hawkers battling for the best position, not particularly easy to photograph in full flight. Not sure how this one has managed to get airborne - it's only got three wings!
In fact I totally missed this one, even missed the tree, which incidentally is a White Poplar.
The sky was worth photographing anyway - look at that colour, I'm almost tempted to join Skywatch Friday with that one! But in the end I did get something that nearly resembled a half decent flight shot.
Further round I managed to get a sort of better perched up shot.
Moorhens are always good value, this one is wrestling with a particularly viscious strand of waterweed. It won unlike a Great Crested Grebe which was fighting with an Eel, at one stage it wasn't entirely clear who was going to eat who. The final result score draw and both lived to fight another day. As the battle came to an end two Water Rails squealed blue murder at each other from deep within the reeds. Spotted Crake would be nice, don't think the site has had one, or at least a twitchable one for few years now. A female Kestrel flew past and a distant Buzzard hovered over the fields in the distance putting up a shed load of mixed pigeons but they were too far away to pull out any Stock Doves.
Out on the water there were about a dozen Gadwall, we came across a pair of Shovelers and we didn't count the Tufted Ducks, but only saw two Pochards. One of the Cormorants was ringed but unreadable without scope, probably from North Wales - they usually are. Chatting to the other birders on site we were told earlier in the morning a flock of nearly thirty Snow Geese had flown over a little to the north. Now we all know that all Snow Geese are escapes don't we...even though we had a humdinger of a blow last nice to think they could be real Canadian ones, but its very unlikely...go on let me in to a secret where has a flock of 30 Snow Geese been hiding all summer?
The feeding station was busy with common birds.
Chaffinch, aka jailbird! Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, and a pair of Pheasants brightened up proceedings, the male in particular exceptionally striking and shiny bright. A fine set of tail feathers
A Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly attacked the peanut feeder with gusto. All chance of finding much more was brought to an abrupt end when a male Sparrowhawk zapped through at about a million miles an hour. It didn't frighten the Rabbits.The young Fox that has been hanging around didn't come out for his photocall. I don't think the Rabbits would have been so relaxed if he hard been in the vicinity.Other stuff included a Reed Bunting or two dropping in to the reeds from on high, part of the recent/current movement? Two Pied wagtails were also seen going over, they used to breed locally but the old tumbledown sheds on the mushroom farm have been replaced by a neatly manicured housing estate so no nest sites and no insects anymore = no breeding wagtails.
Not a bad few hours out in the field despite missing the pick of the bunch. A good birdy chinwag with some old friends and best of all no rain today.
Where to next? Some reasonable migration weather forecast - if the forecast is right...hahahaha lol.
In the meantime let us know what's been wrestling eels in your outback.


Monika said...

Thanks for sharing your sightings and photos from Marton Mere. As usual, even your common sightings are a treat to me! That eel encounter sounds like something else!

I saw my first snow geese of the year today - about 3000+ of them! I'm sure they've been around but this was my first chance to be in a good place to see them.

Good luck with that weather forecast!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Monika Marton Mere is a brilliant place, small but perfectly formed. I was very lucky and privileged to be warden there for something like the best part of15 years, still mamaged to miss loads of good stuff there though