Tuesday, 20 April 2010

It's an ill wind...

This morning the Safari’s Patch 1 walk was cold, cold, cold; where has that bitter wind sprung up from? Ah, yes of course; the Safari is on a ferry at the weekend!
However, the increasing overnight headwind had dropped some migrants. The Golden Triangle held both Blackcap and Willow Warbler along with the usual residents. No chance of a count of Woodpigeons today as they were just too flighty, whizzing here, there and everywhere. There was a Heron in each of the two ponds, not often we see them in the smaller, more enclosed, top pond. Again we heard Willow Warblers and a Blackcap singing and our Coal Tit seems to have stuck in the large conifers, one of which has a large white tree fellers ‘X’ on it for next autumn…oohh errr. The Long Tailed Tits were busy in their favoured Bramble thicket – heard but not seen. On the other side of the path we noticed three ‘Phyllosc’ warblers flitting about together high up on the outer twigs of a budding Sycamore tree. We tried whistling the Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff whistles but got no response from the birds – they just kept on pecking at the buds. Due to the lack of Chiffchaffs on the Patch this spring and the recent surge in the numbers of Willow Warblers we assume they were the latter but without bins to have a look at the primary projection and total lack of sound from them unIDd they will stay. A little further down the track a Dunnock sparred vocally with a ‘Sylvia’ warbler. Not another Blackcap and not the (more) expected Whitethroat but an early Garden Warbler (145), a brilliant find on the Patch although there was one singing in almost the same place last year. It is, perhaps, this season’s first for the Fylde – will have to check the Bird Club’s sightings later. This is possibly/probably Britain’s most inappropriately named bird – has anyone ever seen one in a garden – ever? Anyone got any other contenders? Wheatear – doesn’t eat wheat, has no ‘obvious’ ears, perhaps. We know it is a corruption of something vaguely vulgar but the current name is a little incongruous don’t you think?
Patch 2 also produced a year tick a couple of hours later. We were scanning the sea and found three Gannets going north a long, long way offshore when two largish brown birds whipped through the field of view much nearer in. Spinning the scope round we got on to them, two Whimbrel (146), darting low between the waves on their northward journey. Also out there this morning was a Red Throated Diver, still not in summer plumage, a trio of Auks went north in the middle distance while a Razorbill and Guillemot travelled together not far offshore. Two Sandwich Terns also passed close by but the half dozen white dots in the far distance dipping and dancing couldn’t be identified were probably Kittiwakes and not Arctic Terns.
Lunchtime was another cold affair with the wind whipping up the back of the jacket making life a tad uncomfortable. The tide was on the rise and being pushed back by the wind so it was double choppy. Nothing much out there, a couple of distant Gannets and some speedy Auks. Then we saw four distant black dots rise out of a wave trough to the south and disappear. Eventually they passed in front of us and turned out to be a group of Manx Shearwaters (147), they promptly disappeared back in to the chop never to be seen again.
Where to next? Newts tonight, perhaps even a Great Crest to be found
In the meantime let us know if it’s all started to move in your outback now.


Warren Baker said...

well done on no. 146 Dave.

I thought wheatears were named for there habit of perching on ears of wheat ?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Wheatear = polite Victorian for the 'Saxon' White A*se

Nice pic of yours today Warren.



Craig said...

Hi Dave....your year list is now higher than my LIFE list of 143.
I need to get to more varied habitats.

best wishes,