Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Dipped, dipped would have dipped!

On the way down to hospital visiting duty the safari stopped off on the south side in the vain hope of connecting with a/the Great White Egret. A good few hundred Lapwings were stood out on the saltings braving the icy wind. A flock of about 30 Linnets joined them but there weren’t any Twite among them. Some of the hardier Linnets even started bathing in the freezing water! There were hardly any Pink Footed Geese and we could see even fewer Shelducks. A solitary Kestrel hovered over the marsh. As for Little Egrets, there were more than we’ve seen at any one time, away from a roost site, in this country. Whichever direction we looked there was at least one. All over the shop they were but, sadly, no sign of the larger, yellow billed one.
We didn’t call in at Marshside and view over the embankment of the southern end of the reserve from the Land Rover appeared to be of a frozen birdless desert. So we probably hadn’t missed much.
We did, however, bunk in, very optimistically I might add, to Weld Road beach to see if the Shore Lark was still about. It hasn’t been reported for a good while, probably over a week now and certainly didn’t trouble the note book, neither did anything else.
No sign of it or anything else, ie the regular flock of Twite, as we walked along the track along the back of the beach. Everything must have been keeping its head down in the cruel wind. We didn’t venture on to the Green Beach to see if we could find a Jack Snipe as time was getting short.
By way of a detour into Liverpool we went through the ‘Hightown Bends’ past a couple of SW Lancs Ringing Group’s sites which I used to regularly bird when I lived at home eons ago. The fields I used to toil in digging potatoes and cutting cabbages etc don’t seem to have changed much in the intervening time. There was a covey of six or seven Grey Partridge (difficult to count at 30mph round a tight bend AND there’s nowhere to pull over and stop to get a photo on this busy country lane). I’m sure they were in the same place 30 odd years ago when I used to cycle past on my bike!
The field in which I first made some notes about the klepto-parasitism of Lapwings and Golden Plovers by Black Headed Gulls had been sown earlier in the autumn with a cereal crop so there was little bare ground. I seem to remember, but could be wrong, that the plovers mainly used the field after it had been ploughed and it was still bare soil. Today only the Black Headed Gulls were present.
Not enough time to try for the Grey Phalarope, which was seen until at least the previous day.
On a mammal note the safari got an email inviting us to a Numbat release in the SW corner of Western Australia next week. Unfortunately I doubt if we’ll be able to attend. I love Numbats – one of the best, if not THE best, mammals on the planet and are still in need of a lot of help. Spoke to the boss about it and despite there being free tea and buns on offer he couldn’t be tempted into releasing the budget for me to go.
Did see something this morning we’ve never seen before on Patch 2; a ‘moonset’. This morning’s full moon didn’t quite drop to the horizon before the sun came up and ‘burnt it out’. Shame – never seen the moon ‘drop’ in to the sea. Don’t know how often it happens but I’ve never noticed it before – lovely stuff.

Nearly didn’t get any photos as the traffic prevented quick crossing of the Prom. BTW Patch 2 was devoid of wildlife…obviously frightened off by the thought of that huge moon dropping on them.
Where to next? Back to Patch 2 I suppose.
In the meantime let us know what the full moon was up to in your outback.

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