The Safari had a meander if you can meander in a more or less straight line) along Chat Alley this morning. As quiet as a grave in the cold northeasterly. Absolutely nothing doing for the first 3/4 of a mile, barely raised the bins, even the local Starlings were hard to find...when we did see them we couldn't turn any of them in to Ring Ouzels. Four Swallows broke the duck, followed soon after by six more. Two Goldfinches on the deck could have been local breeders. We were beginning to think the proper name for his place should be Zilch Alley when not long before the end we saw a small passerine perched on the top of the path-side fence. At last! And it looked very chat-like too. Before we could get the bins on it a dogwalker materialised as if from nowhere and flushed it. Down towards the rocks it flitted (or should that be flut?), thank the lor' it didn't go past him. Got on it, a Wheatear, and there with it were two others. Sadly no Whinchats though. Nothing 'Greenlandy' about any of them, at first glance the looked like females but on closer inspection the three of them showed small traces of grey on the sides of the mantle so I'm thinking 1st summer males - can't get at my BWP at the moment to check. So Chat Alley gets a reprieve, but what about Pipit Slab? No pipits but a flyover 'alba' wagtail is probably good enough on a day like today and it was only a few feet above the 'rock face' below the crest so it could easily have landed had it wanted to.
The walk back along the lower walk was punctuated by short and dire sea-watches. A Gannet being the only bird of note apart from a few Sandwich Terns mooching up and down the tide line. Not seen any sign of a tern feeding frenzy yet this spring - need one of these to bring in the marauding Arctic Skuas if we're not going to catch one on passage.
Another three Swallows made their way north against the wind low over the beach. Nothing worth mentioning amongst the gulls. Another flyover 'alba' wagtail, this time heading inland as if it had come in-off, still not seen a grounded White Wagtail and there have been shed loads of them along the coast this spring, none in the boating pool/go-kart track saltmarsh pool this year - not when we've been passing.
Then almost at the very end a heart stopping moment as a small passerine bounced across the face of the cliff - would this be the Whinchat we were hoping for? Fortunately it landed on the tip of a dead Dock stem - could this be it...No; a male House Sparrow...it didn't hang around but soon flew further on and round the bend in the cliffs, local or a migrant, seemed a long way for a local bird to go.
So it looks like a safari to the hills for our Whinchats now, other 'needed' good stuff up there too.
Never mind the wildlife, far more importantly 'Pool gained a nervy draw, coming from behind against Bristol City this arvo, to reach 6th place in the Championship and a place in the Play-offs! Bet they heard the roar at the full time whistle in Preston!!!!!!!!! Glad this is typed and not dictated cos we've got no voice. So the season isn't over yet.
Where to next? A nightmare of travelling if we go out on safari tomorrow through the Bank Holiday old gimmer, lets block up the country lanes then we can sit in a car park three feet from the car and have a nice cup of tea before driving home slowly again, traffic - just have your brew at home and keep the roads clear...think we'll buy a Challenger tank next to blow them off the road or just drive over the slow geeks. I can feel the stress building up already, might have to go out double early.
In the meantime let us know if your outback team has had a successful season too.