Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wanted ‘WW’ but got the wrong ‘W’ – serves us right for being greedy

The Safari was out pre-06.00 on Patch 1 this morning…ooohh that’s just too early. A Wood Warbler seen yesterday at my original local patch, Little Crosby woods, was enough to get us out of bed early to check the park and surrounding areas. Not a sniff, well there was never going to be was there. The much larger and far more wooded Stanley Park is our local hotspot for this enigmatic but increasingly scarce species. There weren’t even any Willow Warblers singing this morning, nor Blackcaps…how strange. Even stranger the year’s tally of Chiffchaffs on Patch 1 went from an unbelievably low two to an almost uncountable FIVE i.e. there were three this morning. One in a garden just off the main road, one in the Golden Triangle and one in the rough before the park...late for late arrivals by this species standards. We had a ‘proper’ count of singing Wrens and got six in the park and one in the Golden Triangle. Only one Robin was heard in the park today as well as a single Chaffinch but there was another singing in one of the posh houses’ gardens across the way by the golf course (which could be really good for Wheatears n stuff but we never, never check, to be honest we don’t know if anyone ever checks it – probably not as there is precious little reported from there)
Yesterday evening the kids were going absolutely bananas in the park – climbing high in to the trees to rip whole branches off – it sounded like a herd of elephants were feeding in there! This morning among the carnage of broken branches we discovered a tree of about four inches (10cm) diameter had been totally torn from the ground – just how mindless are these brain-dead gimps? Tomorrow we are supposed to be putting up a Bat Box Scheme in there but at the moment I doubt if they’ll last 24 hours. It also doesn’t bode well for doing any tree planting later in the year to replace the lost Elms.
Back to the birding – we had a look on the water tower to see if the Peregrine was around – it wasn’t – it then occurred to us that the grassland surrounding the tower often has a few Blackbirds kicking about on it and there have been numerous Ring Ouzels this week…what if??????? So we checked it out, no Rouzels on the slopes and unfortunately there is nowhere to view the grassy top of the covered reservoir from. But there on one of the line of concrete block thingies was a small ‘something interesting’. Distant but distinctly interesting. Had a look from a few angles viewing through fences and thickets but couldn’t get much on it with Wifey’s little bins that we now use in the morning. Eventually we went in to a part of the housing estate rarely visited by outsiders other than burglars and Pikeys and looked from the front driveways of the very posh houses which face the res. We could feel the curtains being twitched behind us as we twitched the distant dot…a female Wheatear (WT#82 and 68th species recorded on the Patch altogther)…ohh that it had been a Whinchat! It sat there for ages ignoring a pair of raucous Herring Gulls a couple of concrete thingies away, a sleepy Woodpigeon and the usual gaggle of Magpies. A Patch 1 tick – that doesn’t happen too often – must remember to check this area out more often…
Out on the sea at Patch 2 several squadrons of Gannets passed by and a flock of nine Arctic Terns went the wrong way, south. Just two Sandwich Terns were all we could muster this morning. A Razorbill was seen to have altitude sickness flying about 10m above the waves or 9.95m higher than normal.
Three Eiders winged northwards. Not a bad half hour but still no cetaceans!
The lunchtime shift on the falling tide produced nothing of note other than a single distant Eider.
Where to next? More checking of the concrete thingies we think.
In the meantime let us know if there has been anything sitting on those concrete thingies in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

The Whinchat will appear one Autumn day dave :-)

Monika said...

I've come to the conclusion their are two breeds of children - the ones who make the beautiful save the ocean signs you posted pics of earlier and the ones who rip tree branches off. I see both types on this side of the ocean as well on our wildlife viewing tours.

Craig said...

Hi Dave....I reckon my female sp-hawk has now at least one egg in the nest, she is spending a lot of time either in the nest or next to it, although incubation won't start until the egg before her last egg is laid (guess you already know that Dave).
At the moment im keeping my distance (about 80-90 feet away) and i will keep that distance until the chicks fledge and then move to about 40 feet away.
Almost time to bring out my Handycam.

best wishes,