Wednesday, 23 December 2009

It’s all but gone now

The safari might have seen the last of the snow for this winter. We don’t get much here and 36 hours worth is probably gonna be our ration. But you never know could be some more in the new year – usually we get our biggest falls in March when the Sand Martins have just arrived from Africa! Shame we missed out on taking the Disco up country to have some 4 wheel fun. Seen some great pics of the lads out in the white stuff on the Land Rover forums – doh…don’t yer just hate having to go to work – we get proper snow so rarely it should be a public holiday!
A very slippery visit to Patch 1 early on was so bad we were wishing we had taken an ice axe with us (if we still had one that is) The steep paths through the park were treacherous underfoot and an ice axe arrest could easily have been needed!!! Even Frank with his 4x4-footed drive was struggling for grip at times, looking like your archetypal slithering-about-on-ice-with-legs-akimbo cartoon dog - poor thing. At least the Peregrine was still there on his roosting ledge. Thinking back to when I was a kid and how rare these birds were then, just a handful of pairs in the remotest parts of Scotland and a few odd pairs elsewhere…and now they are (or at least one is) a daily (from the) garden tick – how good is that – shame that some sections of the community still view them as horrendous pests and have to ‘dispose’ of them by any means – disgraceful!!! Not much else about, a Robin twittering in the light from the street-lamps was about yer lot.
A late visit to the sea-wall coincided with low tide, best part of a hundred Oystercatchers today feeding on the strandline seashells, of which there were plenty washed up. They were joined in their foraging by 30 Redshanks, and solitary Turnstone and Sanderling this morning. A small number of gulls were mooching in the runnels, Herrings and Commons with a handful of Black Heads. Out at sea a couple of dozen gulls, mainly Herrings with a couple of Great Black Backs, had found something interesting and were milling around with intent, but we couldn’t see anything obvious. They weren’t diving or settling on the sea so perhaps not a shoal of fish at the surface unless they were down just far enough to be out of range. What ever it was out there was certainly getting plenty of attention and more gulls were continually coming in from the shore to investigate what all the commotion was about.
Meanwhile the regular lunchtime trip out produce a real rarity…blistering sunshine, if only briefly, and nothing of any significance in the avian or mammalian lines.
Where to next? Surprise, surprise…safari, safari…
In the meantime let us know how much snow has melted in your outback.
A gratuitous Mediterranean Gull photo from Stanley Park earlier this year, fingers crossed there’ll be one for you on your patch this Christmas.

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