Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Almost nothing to report

The safari has endured two bitterly cold and therefore fairly short sessions on Patch 2 today. The first, at dawn (or 8.30am which ever was earlier), produced a feeding frenzy of Cormorants. In the middle distance there must have been a shoal of fish at the surface as we could see many gulls wheeling around and diving in a concentrated area. There were Cormorants streaming in towards them from all directions, at least a dozen of them. Checking out the rest of the sea there were singletons scattered about on the surface, one of which, when checked more carefully, was a Red Throated Diver (77).
Later, at lunchtime the wind was if anything a bit stronger and made it feel even colder. The tide had dropped but the beach was more or less empty save a few Oystercatchers and a smattering of gulls. Nothing out of the ordinary amongst them as per usual…again! One day…(dreams of Slaty Backed, Caspian and/or Smithsonian Gulls – or would that be a nightmare having to pick one out, correctly identify it and get the record accepted…doh; just give us a straight forward adult Ring Billed Gull then!)
Highlight of the watch, if it can be called that, was a female/1st winter male type Goldeneye shooting past southwards. Still plenty of Cormorants about but no sign of the melee of gulls to indicate the whereabouts of the fish shoal.
On the way out of the office for the Patch 2 watch we noticed a thrush on the rapidly thawing garden at work. Only just in close-focus range for the scope but revealed as a Fieldfare, a good work's garden tick and obviously a cold weather refugee. This inspired a closer inspection of the grounds where we found lurking furtively amongst the hundred or so Starlings, a Song Thrush and a Redwing. Eventually these two moved in to the same patch of snow free grass as the Fieldfare and we had a view of them lined up one behind the other in a sort of real life thrush field guide picture - now why was the camera still in the desk draw? In the far corner of the garden was a Blackbird and in the middle of the field a well camouflaged Pied Wagtail. Nothing outstanding, but a good selection for ‘dog walker city’ and the three scarcer thrushes a testament to the current harsh conditions. (Song Thrush should not need to be classed as scarce! But then that’s why it is International Biodiversity Year) Wonder where that Blackbird was from, hatched in the perimeter hedge or the slopes of the Urals?
Where to next? More of the same I’m afraid, just the Patches this week.
In the meantime let us know what’s unexpectedly moved in to your outback this week (and don’t say Woodcock!)
Just in case you haven’t seen one yet here’s another Fieldfare pic from our Extreme Photographer taken at the nature reserve this weekend – everyone and his uncle seems to be snapping them at the moment – and why not as long as they aren’t being disturbed ‘cos they are definitely quite photogenic.
Did you know that every time he gets that camera out the sun goes in?


Monika said...

Congrats on number 77!

I've never seen a fieldfare, so thanks for the photo - interesting looking bird!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Very closely related to your 'Robins'. Turdus spp.



Warren Baker said...

77 already Dave. well done on that.

Its gonna get milder for the weekend...woodcocks on the move ?