Sunday, 4 October 2009

What a difference a day makes

Desolation..that's what the safari feels today, absolute desolation. As mentioned had to be back at base camp just after the high tide yesterday...That's when the Leach's fest started with at least a couple of hundred being seen at various vantage points around the bay. Only the dribs and drabs of the vanguard were seen on the rising tide. Some cracking pictures from the south side. Note that one is flying over a Pod Razor shell - these are generally 160 - 170mm long I know this from the competition we held during the summer. While the droves where winging past my vacated watchpoint I was sat here staring at the 'puter screen watching Crystal Palace put goal after goal in Blackpool's net, 4 - 1 at the final whistle...What a wrist slittingly depressing afternoon!
Went to Patch 1 later in the evening and found a Red Admiral struggling against the wind in the sunshine that remarkably appeared from nowhere.
This morning Patch 1 turned up trumps with two Chiffchaffs. If anyone locally was watching Autumnwatch and has decided to send in the record of a singing Chiffchaff as requested please don't - it was me whistling to see if I could get an answer from either of the birds but both only hooeeeet-ed. On the field there were a number of Shaggy Ink Cap (aka Lawyers Wig) fungi. tried one, tasty is as tasty does but someone must have the misguided impression that they are 'obviously' poisonous cos they don't look like the ones in the shops and has mashed them up...dork! Also seen was a small male Sparrowhawk that attacked a Grey Squirrel that was sitting in the middle of a small lawn. Cautiously creeping round the bushes the Squirrel was still in one piece and the Sprog nowhere to be seen...missed! have seen a female Sprog carrying a full grown Rat in the past but never heard of one attacking a Squirrel.

As soon as Patch 1 was done and dusted it was off to Patch 3 to watch the rising tide, standing in exactly the same place as yesterday. An 8.15 start here and the wind was almost none existent compared to yesterday and the sun was warm and shining over my shoulder - good conditions to see anything relocating out of the bay. Anything is better than being wave washed every few minutes for 2 1/2 hours even if it was a little colder!
The light wind also meant some visible migration was going on, or at least audible migration as I didn't actually see most of the 'Alba' type Wagtails, Grey wagtails or any of the Meadow Pipits that went over.
Almost straight away on my first northward scan of the sea I picked up a Bonxie headed west...nice one things are gonna be OK, should get a fair few bits and bobs of good stuff including some of those fabled feathery needle in the watery haystack jobbies.
A big blue boat came in to Heysham around 09.00 must check if they picked up anything following it in.
A Lesser Black Backed Gull found me a male Eider, always handy to follow any gulls that look as if they are on a mission as they could have spotted something and are going for a closer look.
Three Sanderling flew south - it was turning out to be not so as exciting as it promised.
By 10.00 I was beginning to struggle.
An Auk of some species or other sped south, not heavy enough in the front end to be the disappeared Tufted Puffin. A Red Throated Diver wasn't far behind it and a Kittiwake pitched in amongst a small flock of Common Scoters...improving...hmmm might stay another hour.
Plenty of Scoters out there probably around 750 - 1000 although they were very settled and not so many were flying about. Of those none were revealed as the elusive Velvet Scoter. Scoters are tough little cookies sitting it out in the huge seas yesterday and plenty more to come, no doubt, this winter.
Talking of huge seas - someone jumped, fell or was washing in last night. The Police were out looking for the body.I didn't see any corpses floating past below me, I have in the past. Sometimes people get brave when full of Blackpool spirit and think they are King Knut (not Canute as the Victorians renamed him cos Knut didn't sound English enough for them). But they end up being smashed up on the sea wall in weather like that and body parts get broken off - not pretty. Any way back to Knut - I might have told this before but revision is no bad thing - he didn't try to stop the tide he was proving to his fawning courtiers that he wasn't the demi-god they were making him out to be and he had no power over the sea. All this happened just over the river to the north at Knott-End, allegedly...some think it may have been somewhere on the Wirral but nowhere there sounds as much like Knut as Knott-End does. where ever it was Knut was a top guy. He even gave his name to one of most numerous wading birds; the Knot.
On with today's news...they hadn't found him by the time I left. He could have been a her I didn't hear a news bulletin and was getting a secondhand tale from a mate who passed by having a Sunday morning walk.A Mediterranean Gull is always a good find and very scarce along this bit of the coast. Unfortunately this Pigeon really looks like one when you catch it in the corner of your eye as it flies round the cliffs looking for crumbs. The you go "dooohhhh that bl***dy Pigeon!"Not much else happened before heading back up and over the hill to Base Camp at 11.30, just half an hour before high tide.
Full - disappointing - list
Alba Wagtail - 2
Grey Wagtail - 4 inc one that seemed to come 'in off'
Meadow Pipit - 3
Bonxie - 1
Eider - 2 males
Sanderling - 3
Auk sp - 2
Guillemot - 1
Razorbill - 1
Red Throated Diver - 3
Kittiwake - 1
Common Scoter - c.1000
Dunnock - 1 in the scap of garden on the cliff top.
Mediterranean Pigeon - 1

Could have been so much better. Really hope there'll be another blow soon don't want to have missed the little storm blown waifs for the year.
Where to next next? Back to Patch 2 for a quick look tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know what's the best thing in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

don't slit the wrists just yet Dave, tomorrows another day!

Ive never heard of sprawks taking Squirrels either!