Thursday, 12 November 2009

Change of scenery

The safari ended up at the docs with a bad eye. Scratched cornea, swelling and bruising of the eyeball and got some sticky antibiotic drops - the same species of antibiotic as Frank has for his pimply belly- which I hasten to add he probably wouldn't get if he didn't wallow like a Warthog in every mudhole he came across. So no work today, went for a gentle stroll along the cliffs to see if any Black Redstarts were about as there has been some passage all along the coast recently.
Set off a hour or so too late really but beggars can't be choosers. The tide was just on the ebb and the sun was warm, felt more like spring than autumn. First bird of the day was a feather perfect male Pied Wagtail who would not pose for his photo to be taken.
At the boating pool the numbers of roosting waders was pretty low with only 5 Turnstones and 31 Redshank. Herring Gulls waited for either bags of bread or the tide to go out so that they could start feeding again. this is a nicely marked, long-winged individual seemed to have a longer primary projection and a 'tidier' head than the other adults around it. Staying on the cliff tops there were few dicky-birds about apart from the usual Starlings buzzing around here there and everywhere. Two Meadow Pipits came 'in-off' and then followed the cliff face south.
Scanning out to sea produced very little, the flat conditions in the light offshore breeze were ideal to pick up a sea mammal if there were any out there. 8 Common Scoters flew south quite close in and a bachelor party of eight Eiders sat a little way out, their bright white chests glinting in the sun. We found a few other small wader roosts, 18 Turnstones and 6 + 8 Redshanks and another two singleton Redshanks flying out over the waves.
On reaching the point where the cliffs drop down to the remnant dunes we also dropped down onto the seawall to make the return walk.
A party of two male and a female Common Scoter sat just offshore, close enough to see the yellow in the male's bill.
As the tide receded and exposed the beach we found increasing numbers of gulls and a nice party of 16 Sanderlings.
It was very remiss of us not to count the Oystercatchers but there were no more than a handful. As more beach was exposed the dog-walkers arrived in force and most of the birds flushed to other areas. Here's a fuzzy pic of some Redshanks with an Oyc for company, just a bit too distant for my lens.A couple of Great Black Backed Gulls were joined by a juvenile/1st winter and proceeded to harrass the Herring Gulls if they found any pickings that might be worth thieving. Shame they don't swallow terriers whole like they do Rabbits, Puffins etc.
Still very little in the passerine line...another couple of Meadow Pipits mooching about on the cliffs and we heard a Skylark going over but that was it.
Walking back the sun had risen over the clifftop and it was severely uncomfortable in the duff eye! But we didn't miss any Black Redstarts, there wasn't even a Stonechat to be found sat up on the wind-proof, stick like remains of the Docks.
A couple of years ago, in the pre-blog days, there was a regular adult Mediterranean Gull along the beach here but today there was no sign of it.
At the death we came across this 1st winter Herring Gull that was having a terrible time trying to swallow a young Dab. It just would not fold up in to a swallowable sized parcel.
Several attempts later and it was gone! Nice to capture a bit of behaviour.
Where to next? Could be back on Patch 1 - missed out this morning, and there could have been that third tick there - what was I thinking!

In the meantime let us know who is a dab hand at catching the fish in your outback.

PS Mid afternoon edit - Peregrine on water tower on walk out to Patch 1 with big Frank. saw it on the north face on the way back (a southerly wind today), probably explains why the gulls were up on the way out.


Warren Baker said...

Dave - your photography is improving. Maybe it was the jab in the eye :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

If you think they're an improvement what must they have been like before!!!!!!!
One day in the dim and distant future I may bea able to afford a dslr or a decent scope I can digiscope through but until then you'll have to put up with what you get...don't repeat don't hold yer breath...