Saturday, 20 March 2010

They're here...well some are

The safari had a late start in the rain on Patch 1 this morning...nothing in particular to report. Large numbers of Woodpigeons and Wrens were noticably vocal. But still nothing summery.
By lunchtime the rain had eased a little so we headed for the cliffs. Yesterday the wind was gentle warm and southerly, overnight it changed to northeasterly and rain fell...what if anything had fallen with it?
Lunchtime is a bit late in the day but with the morning's fairly continuous rain we were hopeful that some grounded migrants might have stuck or there was still a trickle of on going passage.
The tide was full when we got to the cliffs and despite a go-kart race in the old boating pool there were 251 Redshanks and 47 Turnstones roosting on the outer rim oblivious to the din from the karts - why can't we humans do anything quietly? The marshalls in their fluorescent jackets were stationed around the central 'salt marsh' pool so no chance of a White Wagtail that seem to be drawn to this small patch of wetland habitat.
Walking along the upper path we scanned the rocks below with anticipation. A Pied Wagtail flew over and landed not too far along the path in front of us - not a White Wagtail though, not this time. Eventually we struck gold - a superb male Stonechat sitting motionless on a corner of one of the rocks. So we were right there was still some migrants about. Almost at the end of the walk we saw a movement on teh rocks and then a white rump darted out over the sea and back on to the rocks - a stonking male Wheatear (124)...sorted! The only snag is its difficult to scan for birds when you need to watch every step cos of all the shog dite...bally disgusting seeing as how there is a bin every fifty yards - no excuse - dirty b*stards PICK IT UP!!! The turning point of the walk is a steep stone slab favoured by Meadow Pipits but not today. Another Pied Wagtail flew north. Wandering back along the lower walk we came across the Wheatear again and it had found a friend, nice two male Wheatears. looking for the Stonechat it was obvious it had moved but we found it again higher up the cliff on one of the rocky steps walkways down the cliffs. Unlike the Wheatears it was the only one. A long gap with nothing to trouble the notebook ensued and without the scope we didn't look out to sea at all.
Just before the steep climb back up the cliff we saw a little flit disappear in to the rocky cliff face. we waited a few minutes and were rewarded with a well marked Rock Pipit...job done..home for lunch!
Where to next? A 4x4 show tomorrow so no birding but there is a chance of spotting something along the motorway during our invited on a greenlane trip jealous...buses...
In the meantime let us know if they have started arriving yet in your outback.
No pics - too rainy to get the camera out today.


Warren Baker said...

Well done on avoiding the dog shite Dave, and seeing your first Wheatears of the year!

Craig said...

Hi Dave,

After i dropped off my wife at church in Blackpool, i paid a water tower visit around luck, just a magpie sat there (thats my 7th visit without seeing him)