Monday, 25 January 2010

Patchy patch news

The safari was on Patch 1 for nearly an hour before going south of the river yesterday and very spring like it was too with birdsong issuing from every bush, or so it seemed. In fact the first bird heard, as we closed the front door and ventured in to the brightening light of dawn, was a Blackbird, tuning up rather than singing properly but still the first of the year. The Peregrine was still asleep on his ledge high on the water tower, while below him Robins twittered all around. In the park proper there were more Robins, at least nine chuntering away. A Song Thrush sang from the copse area, several Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves were giving it plenty of welly too. It almost sounded like spring.
This morning we were our more normal hour earlier and it was back to the usual quiet, with no Peregrine either, although with a cold easterly breeze it could have been round the other side.
Patch 2 before work had 53 Redshanks and very little else, a flurry of Cormorants passed by, all going south, not counted but certainly more than ten. A single Great Crested Grebe seems to have lost it’s two mates from last week; and where are all the Common Scoters this winter? No more than two dozen were seen in a small raft way off shore. Very, very slow and in the perfect conditions somewhat disappointing. Well actually more than ‘somewhat’, ‘definitely’ disappointing, not even a Sanderling on the beach!
Lunchtime on Patch 2 was no better, worse even! ‘Only’ three bait diggers this arvo, barely a gull in sight and the Redshank had dropped to 32 but in recompense there was a grand total of two Turnstones on the outfall pipe. Big wow! And still no Sanderlings! Conditions out a sea were even better than this morning absolutely silky flat calm and totally shadow-less – not a sea mammal to be seen and hardly a bird either. All was not lost however. You will note that we have been seeing enough Cormorants to be bothered to report them; well, a way down the beach to the south there were between 110 and 125 sitting on an island sandbank looking all Jurassic and all. All jumbled up, wings out obscuring each other and a long way off, so difficult to get an accurate count. Never seen this sort of number concentrated on our stretch of beach before – normally you would expect numbers like this to be roosting at the north end of the Fylde on the Wyre Light off Fleetwood. A scaly backed gull on the outfall pipe with a very pale face, bit of a shawl and eye smudge and very dark primaries looked reasonable for a 1st winter Yellow Legged Gull but at that range in poor light without a photo we’re never going to be brave enough to claim it, but it’s out there for someone else to try to connect with if they so desire.
News came from a colleague from another office watching the same patch of sea just before we got out – he’d had a Harbour Porpoise…bob on low tide too…unusual as most sightings along this coast are made around the high tide (paper in prep) although today’s low tide wasn’t actually that low, not far off the highest a low tide can get if you get my drift. Strangely the Cormorants weren’t there when he was, he only reported about ten. When we were there the tide had just started rising so the sand bank wouldn’t have been there much longer and while he was there the sand bank would have been part of the beach and not an island so probably much less inviting (i.e. safe) to the Cormorants, it just shows how ephemeral some of these sightings can be.
Where to next? Only patch stuff this week I’m afraid
In the meantime let us know what’s turned up in huge numbers in your outback.
No pics again today – far too grey and gloomy - sorry

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Keep at it Dave, don't you just love Patchwork ?