Wednesday, 17 February 2010


The safari was out on a cold frosty Patch 1 at the usual time. Still too dark to see the colour of the grass but the clear dawn sky had more than a hint off light in the east. The birds are still quiet at that time of morning. A few Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and the usual ‘rough field’ Song Thrush were all half-heartedly warbling away…now if we’d had been there an hour later we’d probably have been deafened!
Our friendly neighbourhood Peregrine was still asleep on his ledge but chatting to one of the Frank’s friends owners apparently there were yik yik yikking sounds coming from that direction in the middle of the night. She’s not a naturalist so as well as possibly being the Peregrine I suppose it could have been almost anything else.
Patch 2 was bright and sunny, the frost made crossing the road a somewhat scary slippery experience – certainly didn’t feel that bad under the wheels driving down but on foot it was lethal.
On the beach the head-torched Lugworm diggers were at it again – just how many have these guys taken from the beach this week? They must be collecting them commercially. Is that rate of industrial ‘predation’ sustainable? Is it legal?
Plenty of waders this morning so a full count was made and the totals were as follows:- Oystercatchers - a tidy 166, Sanderlings 90 – not bad at all, 9 Redshanks – where were the rest? 1 Ringed Plover – notable by their absence recently, and zero Turnstones – not surprising as the outfall pipe was mostly covered by the tide
There weren’t too many gulls for some reason. Hardly a one even along the water line. Most were sat roosting in a runnel and fortunately the dog walkers managed to avoid disturbing them. Not many to check through but right in the middle was - YES YES YES - a second winter Mediterranean Gull (107) – YES YES YES - Best bird in the book (what about Moorhens?) - about time we had some luck! The sun was shining brightly for a perfect photo opportunity; if only we had the camera(s). Nothing for it but to dash back across the ice rink of the road and get them. Easier said than done as it wasn’t the conditions to be taking a risk dodging the traffic so it took quite a bit longer than hoped. As we were grabbing the kit a freakin’ sea mist had developed from who knows where and knocked a lot of the light off – how annoying. Sadly the photos reflect this. We managed to blast a few dodgy cold handed digiscope pics off before the dog walkers did their worst and flushed the lot.
Can you find it? It’s not the Common Gull in the middle.
It’s not in the middle of this pic either It is in the middle now but hopefully you’ll have found it in one or both of the previous two pics – please say you did. Hopefully if you click on them they will enlarge - for some reason sometimes they don't when I try it.They really are just record shots – probably not even that. This one is the pick of the bunch, but we aren’t going to win Wildlife Photographer of the Year with it are we?

The lunchtime session was disappointing in comparison. The tide was just about full and the sea was flat calm but again a low sea mist devoured the visibility. A little to the north a flock of seagulls (that could be a good name for a band!) sat on the water, approximately the same number as were stood in the runnel earlier. Were they the same ones? If so the Med was no longer with them. Beyond them was a solitary summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe and further still, out in the fringe of the mist, sat a Red Throated Diver. A huge total of 14 Common Scoters was never going to attract the Patch 2 bogey bird. Nothing what-so-ever flying about – probably wouldn’t have been able to see where they were going if they were airborne anyway, so safer to sit it out on the sea.

Where to next? More of the same please, about time things started to look up. Any chance of the Patch 2 bogey bird? Please, pretty please…
In the meantime let us know what has turned up at last in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

well done dave on your Med Gull! Couldn't enlarge the photo's, but i believe you!!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Sorry about the enlargements Warren - Not sure why that happens to me - does it happen to anyone else?



Monika said...

Nice one!

The photos wouldn't enlarge for me either. Are the ones that do and don't enlarge the same size when you upload them?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Not sure why my photos don't behave - maybe its cos I mess round with em, crop, levels, reduce size etc