Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Still waiting

The safari’s early morning Patch 1 jaunt was pretty quiet. Still no further sign of any migrants. Even the Blackbirds were keeping a low profile with only seven hitting the notebook. Where we regularly see the one that looks a bit like a pale imitation of a Ring Ouzel we looked up into the trees after spotting a bit of movement to see a Woodpigeon’s tail hanging over the back of its nest. Talking of Ring Ouzels there have been a couple noted at other sites along the coast and in the hills this week – fingers crossed. This morning there were two Herons in the pond – wouldn’t fancy being a Frog down there at the moment.
On the return leg a male Sparrowhawk was calling at Woodpigeon/Magpie Wood, which might now have to be renamed Carrion Crow Wood as a pair are in the process of building their nest there. He had upset three Greenfinches which were circling overhead calling.
The shellfish wreck on Patch 2 continues to attract large numbers of gulls. Not quite as many as yesterday but at least there were several Lesser Black Backs this morning. Two adult and a 1st winter Great Black Backs joined the throng, but, sadly, still nothing out of the ordinary. A bird sat on the top of the seawall some distance away had us hoping for a Black Redstart; scoping it it turned out to be a Linnet (Walking Tick #68) with a second a little further down…doh.
Checking the seaward side of the wall we found three Turnstones and 12 Redshanks. Oystercatchers only numbered 18 but there were plenty more much further to the south feeding on the wreck. Also sat on the beach were five Sandwich Terns, looks like they’ve decided to stay after all. Out at sea it was misty with very poor visibility but we managed to find a single Great Crested Grebe and a few hundred yards to the north another two together. While all this searching the empty ocean was going on we heard three Meadow Pipits pass overhead.
Once back behind the desk a movement through the window caught our eye; four grey geese going north very low over the sea wall – didn’t get anything on them, most likely Grey Lag Geese, or possibly Pink Footed Geese, infinitely unlikely to be White Fronted Geese – not knowing the safari’s luck.
Better finds in the afternoon when the children descended on us for a rock-pooling and beachcombing session in the afternoon sunshine. One lady had offered her child a pound for every Starfish she could find not realising her bank balance could have been seriously reduced – there were thousands of Common Sand Stars and a good number of Bristle Stars on the beach.
Sea Mice were present in large numbers, sadly all were dead. Their hairs are superb, beatifully irridescent and have properties similar to or even surpassing optic fibre cables. The photo doesn't do the colours justice by a long chalk.
Shells were searched for in the pools and along the strand line, many of the shells were still alive and included Edible Oyster, Grey Top Shell, Rayed Trough Shell, Tower Shell, Necklace Shell, Baltic Tellin some big specimens of Prickly Cockle along with Common Cockle, Common Otter Shell, Common and Pod Razor Shells. Along with a couple of Whelks - not sure which species.Also caught was a Blennie, about four inches long and plenty of Sea Heartsand a fair few dead Spider Crabs – all males.
A long dead Plaice wasn't pretty!
Star of the show were a couple of Sea Gooseberries right at the end of the afternoon's fun - guess who's leg disappeared up to the knee in some scarily fast quicksand.
A shortened Patch 2 game of rugby on the top field after work gave us a Swallow (WT #69).
Where to next? Proper patchy stuff, nice weather due this week.
In the meantime let us know what's all washed up in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Unlucky with the Black Red Dave, keep checking those brown blobs on the wall!

cliff said...

Where do you do your rockpooling Dave? It's something I enjoyed doing as a kid holidaying on the east coast around Whitby/Scarborough etc (where they have a proper rocky coastline). It's something I'd like to do with my 6 year old granddaughter. We take her on the beach near Cleveleys, but there's a lack of rock pools, so instead we pick up shells & the remains of crabs off the beach - steering well clear of starfish as we subscribe to the urban myth that they'll sting you & you'll end up paralysed from the neck down. If you do organised beachcombing/rockpooling I'd deffo be interested in attending along with granddaughter sometime.


Forest the Bear said...

I love rock-pooling!...great collection of little sea critters Dave, sounds like the kids had fun.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Cliff - the 'pools' are the wave deflectors along the sea wall south of south pier - there's thousands to choose from! We usually go beneath the mirror ball opposite work. Look out for National Marine Week late July/early August (will be posted on our website and no doubt this blog too) - we'll deffo be doing some rockpooling events then.
Great fun



Anonymous said...

Great and varied post Dave.

PS : I`m still waiting for the Hirrundines. Only seen 1 Swallow up to now.

Craig said...

Hi Dave....With you doing the "rockpooling events" im sure they will be great.
I remember attending one of your "moth nights" many years ago on the reserve, i enjoyed it lots, especially because of the way you conducted the night with your expert and friendly manner.
Last night around 10pm i tried the water tower, no luck on my 9th visit.

best wishes,

Stu said...

Amazing what stuff you can find in the pools.......