Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Spring has sprung – has it?

The safari is now out too late – it’s well light! The Peregrine(s?) on the tower has(ve) woken up and is/are long gone before we get out on Patch 1, still only partial Patch 1 walks. Frank gets the last of his stitches out tonight so normal service may be resumed later this week, but he's got an infected poorly foot from somewhere now too.
Wrens were notably vocal this morning; more than we have heard singing for a long time – glad the little fellas haven’t perished in the freezing conditions, plenty of Dunnocks singing too – its like Dunnock city, they seem to have taken over from where House Sparrows left off. The Spadgers might not have disappeared if the local school’s gardeners hadn’t pruned their shrubbery to within an inch of it’s life. Pruned – looks more like Indonesian rain-forest the day before palm oil plantation planting season begins – leave the bushes alone, just snip off the ends of the branches when they overhang the footpath – no need to do any more than that!!! Oh, and any gardener worth their salt ought to know that you don’t prune Forsythia the week before it flowers – do gardeners not learn basic plant ID anymore just how to floor the wrong thing with a big petrol-powered flooring thingy - I despair sometimes!!!!!!
On a lighter note a Pied Wagtail drew attention to itself by calling as it headed north at height over Base Camp, the only evidence of ‘vis’ this morning. We actually managed a picture of the back end of a giant 5,000+ flock of Starlings – very low over the rooftops today and from a slightly different and more obscured angle so they didn’t actually come overhead.

Marks out of 10 please…if you give anything over a ‘2’ you’re being toooo generous.
Patch 2 was much better than of late! First up were two Gannets (114,59) drifting south; summer visitors - things are looking up at long last! Later three more passed southwards too. Eleven Eiders were sat on the sea doing their cooing display thing as four Shelducks winged past. Well out at sea a string of white dots moving north glinting brightly in the morning sunshine; many, if not all, were probably Kittiwakes, but they were just too far away to clinch. Three Red Throated Divers passed northwards much closer in and we picked up another three at various points of the compass sitting on the water.
The weather has gotta change away from the freezing conditions we’ve been having but there is still no sign of any warm southerly winds. But things are now deffo on the move, the Cetti’s Warblers on our local reserve are singing – oh please, please stick – the resident Buzzards are doing their sky-dancing display and a Blackcap has been seen in a nearby garden. It’s on its way…
Or is it?...By lunchtime a gentle but horribly cold northerly breeze had picked up…and it was back to bitter cold. After a few minutes peering down the scope it felt like my eye had frozen solid, AND there were no birds to be seen on the beach at all. Nothing on the beach but a plague of humans with their dogs, rendering hundreds of acres of lovely gull habitat totally useless – flamin’ numbnuts. People are like a virus, make you sick and hard to get rid of...oh, for 40 million less people (why not 50 million) on these tiny islands. The USA is over forty times larger yet has only 5x our population, Australia is 32x our area but only has a mere 1/3 the number of people – lucky blighters - - - rant over…sorry I digressed.
Out at sea a string of 17 Cormorants flew north, one of their mates was lost, hadn’t been told about the party or had been sent to Coventry as it was going in the opposite direction. Other than those the only thing we found were four Common Scoters which circled around and landed in the distance – quickly running out of time now for that bogey white winger…
Where to next? Suitably enthused we are looking forward to Patch 2 tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know what’s on the move in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Seems like slash and burn is the new gardening dave.

lets make that 4 Billion less humans on the planet. :-)

Monika said...

I agree with Warren on the human count!

I try to look for the little natural wonders that persist even within the metropolitan areas - a red tailed hawk nesting on an office building, or a flock of 5000 starlings flying over the freeway.