Patch 1 hit the migrant jackpot early this morning too, with the long anticipated Chiffchaff (126, 65) finally falling – heard in the distance across the field. S.C.E is right - I need to relax more, they’ll get here eventually. Now we had mentioned we were listening out for them to the other early morning dog walkers and done the chiff – chaff whistle for them so they knew what to listen for and report so we are hoping that what we heard was actually the bird and not a dog walker doing the whistle and misleading us à la the Bill Oddie and the Long Eared Owl on a bird race fiasco. If you’ve read his books you’ll know what we’re on about, if not you’ll have to make an educated guess – suffice to say ‘probably’ no Long Eared Owls were actually involved in the tale.
Nice selection of resident stuff too with at least six singing Wrens, a couple of Robins, and lordy only knows how many Dunnocks; they seem to be ‘bird of the season’, and a Chaffinch.
We did see a fungus which we’re fairly certain we didn’t see yesterday; maybe we just didn’t notice them but given the damp warm conditions fungi can grow pretty rapid.. No camera and still too dark so we nipped back on the way to work. No idea with fungi, too many Latin names and not enough inclination I’m afraid but then we’ve never worked in any real fungi ‘hotspots’. So if any one cares to put a name to it we’d be grateful.
Out over the seawall on Patch 2 conditions were absolutely bally perfect, with a flat calm, shadow-free, grey sea. A grey-out at about a mile and half didn’t make much difference there was b*gger all out there – what a waste of the excellent conditions! A lonely Razorbill dived for fish a few hundred yards offshore. The usual count of fourteen Common Scoters was reached but in two distantly separated flocks rather than the ‘normal’ single one. Two flocks of fourteen Redshanks totalled 28 on the rapidly growing beach.
Also on the beach was a noticeable increase of Lesser Black Backed Gulls, the commonest gull this morning. One Great Black Back kept a watchful eye on its smaller cousins.
The gentle SE breeze promised much by way of vis mig but nothing flew over at all – just too much low cloud perhaps but in complete contrast to Heysham Observatory a few miles up the coast.
Recently at Heysham PM had warned birders not to be fooled by a Song Thrush that was imitating a Green Woodpecker – a rare find up that way. A similar thing happened at Base Camp this morning when we looked skywards for the calling Buzzard overhead – a Starling singing from a nearby chimney pot! Better at Base Camp was the sound of House Sparrows, almost forgotten that happy chirruping. Until a year ago they used to nest over the road but the home owners have replaced their old rotten soffits with new PVC ones and the poor sparrows have lost their nest site. Hopefully they will find somewhere else to get in.
How sustainable is PVC? Talking of sustainability the green credentials of our Leader of the Opposition are now called in to question – why what has he done? Didn’t he have a wind turbine on his house and ride a bike everywhere once? Well he’s about join the more than two children world population explosion brigade! Thus blowing any green credentials straight out of the window.
We also heard the tragic story a mother talking on TV who had lost a child to illness – never a pleasant experience. But she did come out with a pearler…she said “it wasn’t natural for a parent to outlive their children”. Maybe not in the 20th/21st Century in the West but it is a normal thing to happen – think Frogs and tadpoles, Mallards and ducklings, Turtles and turtlings…Herrings and their eggs, even happens with humans away from modern medicine and guaranteed food supplies. There is enormous wastage at this time of year just so that two offspring might survive and keep the population stable…slightly over simplified but you get my drift…it’s all these people having more than two surviving children that are causing much of the worlds problems. Who’s gonna feed us all when Peak Oil passes…most of what we humans eat is oil based, from fertilisers, pesticides, machinery fuel and distribution to safe storage and processing…someone’s gonna be very hungry in a few years time.
After all that gubbins it’s time to tell you that, sadly, there was no lunchtime Patch 2 visit today as conditions were still top dollar.
Just in case you hadn’t realised this week is World Water Week (dirty water is responsible for tens of thousands of child deaths [see above] in the Third World and coming up on Saturday is WWF’s Earth Hour so don’t forget to turn those lights out at 8.30pm.
Where to next? More patchy stuff followed by a more distant safari to the farthest flung reaches of safari-land – Chancellor permitting - ANOTHER 3p/litre on fuel - that’s 15p a gallon and taking diesel to £5.45+ a gallon (=US$8.20) – the thieving ratbag - but we’re still not gonna buy an unsustainable green-wash Prius.
In the meantime let us know where you’ve not been able to get to in your outback this arvo.