Friday, 2 April 2010

For pipits sake!

The safari wishes to apologise for the terrible spelling in the dark matter post last dark to see properly!
This morning the safari was "mostly be dooin'" boyd listening... along Chat Alley, cliff top outward and lower walk homeward as usual. The moon was setting in the SW but the sunlight made it disappear before it sank below the horizon.
As you can see the tide was a long way out.
The wind was in the SE, which is good for watching migration but with clear skies overnight nothing was grounded.
A skein of about 100 Pink Footed Geese were the first item in the notebook coming from inland and heading northwards along the coast.
Shortly after them we heard our first Meadow Pipit, looking up there were two bouncing along. More followed in drabs and drabs during the course of the safari. In all a low minimum of 49 were recorded, mostly heard. when birds were seen after picking them up on call they were mostly not singles and flocks of eight six and five were seen. A single Linnet squeezed its way in to the book between the Meadow Pipits. Two 'alba' Wagtails wee also noted, heard but not seen. There was a haze at about 100 feet, anything above that height was invisible but not in audible.
We didn't look out to sea very often, don't know why as conditions were fairly good for seeing stuff. We did find a flock of 26 Whooper Swans in the distance headed for the Scottish Islands and thence to Iceland.
At Pipit Slab we turned back along the lower walk...guess pipits, although a Meadow Pipit did fly overhead. Gonna call it Nowt Slab from now.
Chat Alley was similarly birdless, really could have done with some low cloud or a shower moving in to drop anything going over. Chat Alley is now being renamed Zilch Alley.
Note lack of anything avian in the pictures of Chat Alley - sorry - Zilch Alley - below.

Back towards the car park there are three small parks on each side of the crossroads. Three Dunnocks were singing at each other across the roads.
Later, in the afternoon, the promised heavy rain still looked like blistering sunshine so we just had to get out and knock off a lifer.
Arriving at the marsh after a horrendously slow drive...getting more inclined to euthanasia every day now! If you don't like birds and can't identify them you wouldn't buy binoculars, similarly if you have no interest in fish you wouldn't go and get a fishing rod, someone who can't bake wouldn't chose flour and sultanas when out shopping, so why should people who have no interest in cars or ability to drive have a car...get the slow geeks off the road...we don't want to break the speed limit but attaining it once in a while might make a refreshing change...doh 3/4 of an hour to go 8 miles...there really are too many people and most of them just seem to be faffing around!!!
Fortunately we had made a bit of an allowance for time just in case and arrived as the tide was just beginning to flood the marsh. It wasn't as big a tide as the last couple of days but beggers can't be choosers. Little was moving but soon a pair of Reed Buntings came in to view and they were followed by several Meadow Pipits. Each one was carefully scrutinised...they really are a bonny bird when looked at in close detail...much more to them than the overhead 'seeep's and bouncing dots of this morning. A few Skylarks flew past, one of them even gave us a bit of half-hearted song. More Meadow Pipits were scoped but not even a Rock Pipit could be found with them.
SM from Ribble Bird Tours appeared from further round the track and told us he had seen a Water Pipit in the flock, so it/they were deffo about.
Yesterday we counted the Little Egrets quite religiously, not today but we did get some pics of a close one - best we ever taken of this species so far...alright, alright we realise they aren't that good.
"Anything in this pool?"
"Hmmm, looks like there might be"
"Gotcha" - wonder what it was, Stickleback or a Shrimp perhaps.
"Any more in there?"
No Mediterranean Gulls in with the Black Heads. One of our co-birders found a Peregrine sat way out on a post eyeballing the Redshanks. Flying from thee other side of the river - the new RSPB reserve Hesketh Out Marsh came a flock of 24 Golden Plovers.
Along the hedgerow we had a stunning male Chaffinch and a lovely Long tailed Tit tried to get its photo taken.
Then the promised rain happened...back to the Land Rover before we got to wet but without that all important life tick in the bag - ahh well there's always 2011. And no year ticks today either...yikes Monika will be getting her nose well in front...
Where to next? Another Zilch Alley/Nowt Slab if the weather looks like migrants might have been dropped, otherwise it'll be Patch 1.
In the meantime let us know if you couldn't find something important in your outback today.


cliff said...

Nice Egret photos Dave, a bird I love to watch hunting for it's prey, so much more active than our Herons with their sit & wait stealth approach.
You don't half cram a lot of birding & a lot of sightings into a day, even when some of your favoured spots aren't producing I reckon you get more species in a day than I get in a month (mind I often adopt the heron sit & wait appraoch).

I note from Fylde bird club an Osprey was seen over the Mere on the 1st. I'd love to see one locally, but I think there'll be too many pesky caravanners down there this weekend to tempt me down there, so back to the aprk for the Grebes & Chaffs (& hopefully not chavs).



Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Keep looking up Cliff...the're on their way!

Sit and wait game ... that's why you pics are sooooo much better than mine!