Sunday, 21 February 2010


The safari waits all year for some species and then - wham - more turn up within the week! More later - In the meantime we woke up to more of the white stuff this morning - we weren't expecting it, soft wet snow and trying to dry laundry don't really mix too well.
Bumped in to the Tiger Man, Craig, again this morning and couldn't show him the Peregrine as it wasn't there for the second time in two days, it was last night - how unlucky is he? Maybe next time. As the morning progressed i.e. it got to 07.30 the Starlings started to come over in their droves - really hard to photograph through the snow filled sky - by the time you had picked them up coming out of the cloud they'd flown over. Must try harder!
After a cheese and bacon butty with lashings of brown sauce, the safari and Extreme Photographer, Raf - sans camera due to the thick grey sky - set off for the local cemetery where there have been sightings of a rare (for us) Green Woodpecker - could we find it?...No chance! But we did get the Rose Ringed Parakeets (109) Four of them in all. We had a Great Spotted Woodpecker and another drumming.
On the little pond the Coot were enjoying the snow, still got dimpled heads though. I like Coots and have spent alot of time counting them but never noticed this feature until the other day.

Sitting in the tree above the Coot were our 'keets'.
Moving round the pond the sun came out and the light was much better.
Another was by a potential nesting hole.
The grounds were full of Mistle Thrushes.We also had a Coal Tit, 'bus' number one after Friday's tick. In the fields behind the cemetery there were about 250 Black Tailed Godwits with a similar number of Lapwings and a few Redshanks. A small bird disappearing in and out of the flock could have been a Ruff. Identifiedwith much more certaintanty was the Brown Hare we startled.
A visitor to the cemetery laden with a bunch of flowers managed to identify us as potential workers, not sure how as we were bedecked with our bins, cameras, scopes and stuff but he musta thought we looked like grave diggers.
After giving the cemetery a thorough going over and not finding the Green Woodpecker (better be there on Tuesday lunch, the next opportunity to go for it) we set off for some farmland species north of the river. a field at the side of the road held about 20 or so Whooper Swans but we were going far to fast to pick out any Bewick's Swans that might have been lurking with them, there probably weren't anyway.
Couldn't find any of the target species despite driving slowly round the mosses for an hour. However if you wanted Little Egrets that was a different matter - loads of them in the fields and ditches, more than expected. A large flock of geese close to the roadside was difficult to view through a small gap in the hedge and involved some reversing manoevers to get better angles. All Pink Footed Geese unfortunately.
Giving up on the farmland, we'll pickup those species later in the year anyway ((fingers crossed) the coast beckoned.
Parking up there were a nice flock of Knot close in shore. Frank put paid to any digiscoping - never go serious birding with yer dog! He sniffed this way and that at this new site and wouldn't stay still, so we've only got 'normal camera' shots.A little further on a pair of Shelducks were similarly close.The second 'bus' was a cracking Mediterranean Gull I picked up in flight without optics whilst clinging on to a sniffy dog who was after another dog's backside - why do they do that? It flew over us and into the town centre where it was lost to view. Along the sea wall there were a few Meadow Pipits and two Rock Pipits. A Wren and a Pied Wagtail kept us company as we strolled along. A hidden Raven cronked from behind the rooftops.
A total prat in a blue Freelander gave 4x4 drivers a bad name by charging across the sands making water splashes...d**khead - exactly the sort of stupid behaviour that gets us tarred with the same brush and banned from the lanes...if you want to be a dipstick buy a battered old Clio or or Corsa and put a fat exhaust on it! Worst of it despite having a notebook to hand I didn't get his number - just stood there incredulously, chin down by knees. Now here's the thing - he almost drove over a large flock of Redshank and Ringed Plovers and they didn't budge an inch, after he'd gone a man, his wife and dog went down the same slade and woosh - they emptied the beach - prats Mark II.
Heading back to our Land Rover a target species flew past and settled on the saltmarsh a hundred yards down the prom. Twite (110) about 60 - 70 of them. Excellent close views but they were a bit flighty.Several wore colour rings from the scheme across the bay in the mist. Not the best view but this one stayed the closest but wouldn't turn face on.All in all not a bad safari with two year ticks bagged. When we got back to Base Camp we were knackered and we don't know why.
Where to next? Patchwork will continue.
In the meantime let us know if you failed to miss a suite of stuff in your outback this arvo.


S.C.E. said...

I had no idea RRPs were as common as that in the NW these days............

Warren Baker said...

Blimey Dave, a bit of everything there! Things are certainly moving on for you now, Coal Tits and Med Gulls!