Monday, 26 April 2010

Tale of the unexpected.

The Safari is back on dry land and hitting the Patches. Patch 1 didn’t live up to expectations after a weekend of immense migrant movement locally. Any migrants that might have been there had moved on! Our Coal Tit had moved trees, probably saw the tree-fellers ‘X’ and decided it might not be that safe to nest in that one. Not a peep from any Blackcaps or Willow Warblers but a Chiffchaff was new in an very welcome at long last. The male Sparrowhawk put in a brief appearance. On the subject of Sparrowhawks leaving the nature reserve yesterday we had a ‘Goshawk’ probably the most mis-identified bird in the world; a large female Sparrowhawk it was really, no rounded corners to the tail, the ‘hand’ was ‘normal’ and just not quite bulky enough even for a small male Goshawk. Meanwhile back in the park two Chaffinches attempting to out-sing each other were perhaps new in. In the deepest reaches of their usual thicket our Long Tailed Tits were keeping themselves busy.
The Golden Triangle was uncharacteristically quiet with only Dunnock, Wren, Robin and Greenfinch singing, while a Blackbird clucked away softly from the dense Brambles.
Patch 2 was in tip-top form. The tide was on the rise and there was a brisk westerly breeze, nothing too fierce and it was warm enough to do without a hat... that makes a refreshing change…Plenty of white horses and a good bit of chop and swell made spotting anything on the sea tricky, but we soon found a couple of Guillemots riding the waves. Out of a trough just behind them not far past the low water mark a summer plumaged Black Throated Diver (159,80) took to the air and headed south. If only we’d have seen it on the water we would have probably been able to get a bit of a digiscoped record pic as it was just within range! An excellent sighting, only the Safari’s third ever! One that certainly wasn’t on the ‘expected’ list, not on the ‘hoped for’ list either, possibly not even on the ‘in yer wildest dreams’ list. The sea then started to produce the goods as three Arctic Terns (160,81) dipped and weaved their way north. A Gannet sailed past reasonably close in, as did a Kittiwake. Two large flocks of Kittiwakes went south, about 100 birds in total. There was a distinct north/south divide this morning. Seven more Arctic Terns went north, while two others went south with four Sandwich Terns. Nine Common Scoters went south, watching them we picked up a solitary Manx Shearwater shot through the troughs going the other way. We had a few more Gannets some going north, some going south, they didn’t seem to be able to make their minds up but we didn’t notice them searching for fish.
All in all a cracking 30 minutes worth, wish we coulda stayed out longer! Will find out what we missed ‘cos as we were leaving MJ was just walking up to the viewing shelter. (Later edit - MJ had a pale phase Arctic Skua- - maybe tomorrow...)
If early-doors was good then lunchtime was an anticlimax! Six Eiders, a male, four 1st year speckly males and a female went north over the beach and a Gannet sailed south in the middle distance. Ten more minutes watching gave us no reward so it was back to the desk.
Where to next? More patchy stuff but the winds have gone ‘wrong’ for terrestrial migrants but the sea could continue be good on the rising tide.
In the meantime let us know what the most mis-identified things are in your outback.


Craig said...
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Craig said...

Hi Dave

When you said....(nature reserve Goshawk) my heart went racing until i read had me going for a bit there Dave lol.
Your weekend boat trip sounded great.

best wishes,