Saturday, 27 March 2010

Weekend boating safari

The safari apologises for the misleading title! We meant a safari to the old boating pool at the bottom of the cliffs. The gooey tiny salt marsh here is all the wetland habitat we have along this stretch of coast and in the right conditions can be quite a bird attractor. Today the wind was wrong - straight off the sea with a bit of north in it. Still it's not a bad walk and a dry change from the, currently, quagmire-like Patch 1 - so we didn't have to hose down the .mud-hound from hell' when we got home. Still had to dodge the shog dite though.
Not sure what those two scrotes had been up to just after 07.00 but they looked a right dodgy pair.

The tide was up as you can see and the roosting ledge held 130 Redshanks and just seven Turnstones, As we finished counting another, noisy, 23 Turnstones appeared possibly from the ledge just above the waves on the other side of the wall. A Starling flew of the cliff top with a beakfull of moss for a nest under the eaves of Uncle Tom's Cabin. (BTO Breeding Atlas record) Out at sea we caught sight of a Red Throated Diver heading northwards low over the waves.

We heard the call of an 'alba' Wagtail echo round the pool and searching the 'salt marsh' found, a little disappointingly, a male Pied Wagtail as another 'alba' called overhead.
Not the best pic of the Redshanks on their roosting ledge but it gives those who have never been to Blackpool an idea of what we're on about.

And a bit more closely cropped - only took the little camera, no scope and not digi-binned - too much dog interference! Sorry Frank but you are a nightmare to go birding with.

Later a few of the Redshank had moved to the top of the wall.

The same ones from the other side of the wall.
We walked along the top of the cliffs looking down on 'Chat Alley' - well if Warren can have a Migrant Alley...
The wind was cruel and soon had our ears begging for mercy and looking out to sea the eyes quickly began to water. The warm sunshine was on the back was little consolation.
A Jackdaw headed south, not a species that hits the notebook very often.
We reached the northward limit and turning point of the walk - 'Meadow Pipit slab', where there weren't any! But only a minute or so in to the return leg, along the sunless but pleasantly out of the wind lower walk, one flew over. Before we got back to the Land Rover we had the grand total of two more!!! - hardly mind boggling vis mig this morning. Stopping every few hundred yards or so at each set of beach steps we scanned the sea and had three more Red Throated Divers in the middle distance. A little white bullet going south was an Auk sp, most likely a Razorbill.
Chat Alley was totally chat free...sadly no sign of any of the Black Redstarts that have been working their way through the various sites along the coast to the south of us. Going to look for one or two of these was one of the main reasons for doing this safari. Frank could have got up an hour earlier, at his normal time, which might have been better - he never has a lie in! Musta played too much rugby with his chums/pals yesterday evening!
Last week on this safari we had a nicely marked Rock Pipit - it was there again this morning in almost the same place...has it been resident all winter?
Where to next? Some winter dips to knock off tomorrow, hopefully, before they beggar off to their breeding grounds to the north and east.
In the meantime let us know if you were out an hour too late this morning in your outback...many might do it tomorrow morning...BST starts - remember your clocks.


Warren Baker said...

Its no good having a ''chat alley'' and ''pipit slab'' if there 'aint no chats and pipits :-)

Good luck with the winter dips - I need golden plover still.

Monika said...

Hey, I like the names anyway :) Better luck next time on the chats and pipits!