The safari had a venture out to the nature reserve again, for a change. Key target...a female Brambling - a very scarce visitor to these parts and extremely tickable. Before we set off we made our baggin up for the day. My brother's job takes him all over the world on sustainable development projects from one of those jollies he sent the Safari a tin of Zebra pate for Christmas. How disappointed was I when I opened it - it wasn't stripey at all...mighty tasty though.
Arriving at the Mere we went straight to the feeding station, plonked our butts and settled down to watcvh the show. A cold three quarters of an hour later and no Brambling so time to move on. Down to the other end to peruse the small bit of open water and its sack of gulls.
Opening the door to the hide the good folk inside put us on to a Bittern showing brilliantly on the far bank. We had walked down with a family who were quite new to birding and had never seen a Bittern - I called them back as they hadn't come in to the hide and the got their lifer. We got a couple of shots off but the best one was kiboshed by Frank fratting around pulling on his lead - the bird was stock still, in the open AND had the sun on it...doh - dagnabit, dang dog!!!!
There was nothing out of the ordinary in the gulls...after an hours checking it was getting cold and time to go back to the feeding station again. No Brambling again but this nice Fieldfare was battering seven shades of sh*te out of the remaining apples.Lots of cold minutes later and still no Brambling so time to move back to the gulls again.
Not long after we got to the hide something flushed them off the ice - one fell to the ground stone dead - a victim of the cold.
An hour or so later the Crows and Coots had started breaking the carcass open - starting with the eyes, the Coots being the instigators of the butchery.
Ducks were well down in number just a few individuals of the usual species resting up conserving vital energy. Gadwall are one of my faves - really delicately marked.
Shoveler are always nice.
Once again we were getting cold so it was time to have another walk up to the feeding station. MJ was in there and within a few minutes piped up - "there it is!" Excellente - female Brambling (75) on the year list - what a beauty!
Extreme Photographer, Raf, was out with us in the 'Moose' and has taken an SD card full of pics of the Brambling and other good stuff - pics on here later.The Moose dwarfs the Disco!
Arty pic of Blackpool Tower over the bonnet of the Disco.
We left the mere and set off for Granny's Bay - who Granny was we've no idea. It was a mistake as we didn't check the tide-tables and when we got there we couldn't see the sea it was that far out. The waders were that far out as well - well out of range of the bins and no scope today. The only tick we got here was Shelduck (76). If they had been 3 feet further away we'd have struggled to identify them!!!
Where to next? Back to the Patches.
In the meantime let us know what's dropped out of the sky in your outback.