Tuesday, 23 February 2010

New kid on the block

The safari noticed how the dawn is deffo getting earlier now. This morning, for the first time at this hour, it was more daylight than night-time when we left the front door.
Once gain no Peregrine on the tower but there was a new Song Thrush warbling away in the ‘triangle’. Our usual one was giving it some welly from its patch of scrub across the other side of the houses; it now has a bit of competition.
The ‘triangle’ is a little left over corner of scrub no more than 150 x 50 m, so less than 4000sq m, but it is possibly the most productive patch of Brambles in the whole town. Last year it held breeding Fox and Hedgehog. The following birds held territory and probably bred successfully (it’s a bit impenetrable) - Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Collared Dove and (probably) Wood Pigeon and Long Tailed Tit (possibly). Not a bad list for a few square yards. Blue and Great Tits didn’t nest there as there are no boxes and the trees aren’t big enough to have suitable sized holes but both species used it for finding food for their families close by. The safari is always worried that some well meaning numb-nuts will want to ‘tidy it up’ by getting rid of the Brambles and planting a selection of ‘nice’ wild flowers, putting a path and a bench in so they can sit and ponder how is it they’ve done all this ‘good’ ‘conservation’ work but there’s no nature anymore.
Nothing much else to report from Patch 1 just the usual stuff although the Mistle Thrushes have either shut up or moved on as we haven’t heard them for a few days now.
Back at Base Camp we tried to photograph the Starlings coming from their roost again, but again without success – none of the flocks going over were particularly impressive this morning, perhaps we missed the main exodus while we were having breakfast – that’s probably not a good enough excuse.
Patch 2 wasn’t much cop either. Very little on the dropping tide. The beach was fairly devoid, about the same as yesterday; the only highlight was a pair of Great Black Backed Gulls lording it up, watching everything else going about its business with malignant intent from the ‘high’ vantage point of the top of a sandbank.
Out at sea the viewing conditions were excellent but there wasn’t much to spot. Seven Eiders flew south flowed by another singleton a few minutes later. A Great Crested Grebe also flew south. Hardly any Common Scoters out there today but there was a Red Throated Diver that flew north. Another diver was sat on the sea quite a long way out but looked a bit too dark and ‘chunky’ to be a second Red Throat – way too far out to clinch an ID.
Back there at lunch time and absolutely zilch! Horrendously disappointing. The sea was empty save for a single Great Crested Grebe and a few Cormorants flying about. The beach was no better! Pick of the bunch was a pristine Herring Gull kicking about in the strandline near the sea wall – what a beauty through the scope. Elsewhere on the beach a handful of Oystercatchers and even fewer Redshanks along with some of the other smaller gulls did their best not to be noticed…very quiet this arvo. But never mind as tomorrow is another day…and anything can happen, could even be more of the white stuff…ohhh nooooo.
The routine evening kick-about game of rugby with Frank was interrupted by the best Patch 1 flying display ever! The pair of Peregrines were really going for it! The male had a prey item and was being hounded by the female. Up and over the tower then stooping down in between the houses almost at garden fence height - what a crackin' garden tick that would be for a modern suburban housing estate! Upsetting the Magpies congregating at their roost site. Back up and round the tower again and again. Best of it was that while I was stood there transfixed and Frank was waiting impatiently for his next kick of the ball 'normal' daily suburban life was going on all around. Kids were coming home from school, commuters driving to their houses, people out with their dogs, just hum-drum normal stuff and yet less than 100 feet above their heads a pair of the fastest animals on the planet were doing their best aerial stuff - - MAGNIFICENT - - but no one except me noticed...maybe the locals have seen it all before...somehow I doubt it, apart from one or two of them!
Where to next? Still got that Green Woodpecker to knock of if we can get out that far at lunchtime tomorrow…assuming it’s still knockin’ about.
In the meantime let us know if there has been any major flurries of activity in your outback.
Sorry no pics again today…Starlings tomorrow if you’re lucky.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

I had lots of little patches of brambles such as yours Dave......many of them have gone the way you describe. Then the culprits ask me ''where have all our birds gone'' ? Numbnuts is too polite a word for them!