Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Has the spring has dried up?

The safari’s early morning visit to Patch 1 produced not a single Chiffchaff again! No sign of the recent Blackcap either. The Greenfinches were still going round in twittering circles but the park was eerily quiet. I think we are getting there too late now – 06.15 is TOO LATE??! That can’t be right. The clocks change this weekend so it will be interesting to see if that lost hour makes a difference.
A female Sparrowhawk flew past Woodpigeon/Magpie Wood at tree top height and scattered the remnants of the roost with about a dozen Woodpigeons which clattered through the twigs and branches to get out of range.
No sign of the Peregrine, nor was there on the late walk last night, we haven’t heard it calling for a while now either so it might have done a bunk before we’ve had a chance to get a nest box up – next season perhaps.
Pre-work Patch 2 was miserable. A cool breeze, very murky, hazy sea and persistent drizzle made for an even shorter than normal watch. All we could muster were a few Herring Gulls, a pair of Lesser Black Backs, a handful of Black Heads a lone Great Black Back and no more than a dozen Oystercatchers. A single Sandwich Tern proved it was actually spring and not late November. Whilst we were scoping this bird of the day floated by – a first winter Common Gull, with good numbers on the beach recently there have been few young birds. Then, following it, a few hundred yards behind, another one – weird or what, but no adults on this watch.
We were having a quick shuffy on the web last night (after seeing ‘pool’s 5 – 1 win – bring it on!!!) and came across a discussion ,by gradders52 and WyreWader, about the huge roosting Starling flock at the pier ‘feeding?’ on the beach before settling down for the night. We have noticed this spectacle several times on the way home and not been able to stop in the traffic to get a better view. Why do they do it, what are they looking for – surely they can’t be feeding??? Questions, questions questions…the best place for observations and a photo would probably be looking down on them from the pier itself. What the great shame is that I would hazard a guess that 99.9% of people driving home don’t even notice them even when they are swirling around in the air. Must make a point of taking more notice of them when they are on the beach and following the thread on Bird Forum to see if any theories emerge. Blackpool is the most urbanised borough in the country outside of Inner London so we really need to make more of our wildlife spectacles like this one.
Had a look on the way home tonight but the tide was in so no beach for them to sit on/forage over today. Wonder how long it will last as the big roost will be breaking up shortly as birds make their way back to their breeding grounds where-ever that might be.
Where to next?? There's a Chiffchaff with my name on it somewhere!
In the meantime let us know what you ought to have seen by now in your outback but which is still eluding you.


Warren Baker said...

Patience Dave,
Before long your posts will be saying ''another chiffchaff'' :-)

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

They might say another goldcrest or another treecreeper too one day but at the moment I'm not holding my breath Warren



Craig said...

Shame about the Peregrine Dave.
Guess i will just after look forward to my Malham cove visit in June.
For the past few years....ive been camping at Malham for two nights in June and enjoy 3 days of pure Peregrine watching.
For the 3 days im at the top of the cove.

best wishes,

S.C.E. said...

I remember reading Blackpool is the most densely populated urban area outside London. My mum and dad are from Blackpool (though I grew up in Preston) and my grandma still lives there. Got my first Sanderling there, running around on the beach near the the old Woolworths, back in about 1979.

You'll get loads of Chiffchaffs soon. Relax!