Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Worse than dead

The Safari’s early morning Patch 1 was a lonely affair. As quiet as a grave with most of the birds having had their sing-song much earlier. A pair of frisky Grey Squirrels broke the monotony of Woodpigeons and Magpies. The best of wot we got was a Blackcap in the park and another in the Golden Triangle and we could hear the Whitethroat scratching away from the Brambles that border the rough field. The little male Sparrowhawk appeared from nowhere and perched up in a convenient branch not too high above us but we faffed about too long getting the camera out of the pocket and it had gone by the time we were ready, probably sniggering at us as it flew off.
If you think that was poor then Patch 2 was worse. An almost mirror calm sea with perfect visibility greeted us but there was a total lack of anything out there. Excitement, if it could be called that, was centred on the beach where 10 Sandwich Terns flitted about. We watched a male come in with a fish and present it with all the wing drooping nonsense to his (potential?) mate – unimpressed she took off, he ate the fish and followed her calling stridently in indignation...excitement over.
If you think that was bad you’ll be glad you weren’t with us at lunchtime when even less happened. The tide was now on the rise and a gentle north westerly had picked up but it hadn’t improved matters any. Visibility was still nigh on perfect but all we could see was a Cormorant fishing in the distance, even the beach was deserted. Like we said at the start it was worse than dead.
There are two reasonably sized ‘gardens’ we have to walk past to get to the only Patch 2 access point.. There is never anything but the local Starlings on them but on the disappointed trudge back to work the first one had a thrush in the far corner...hopes were immediately raised for a Ring Ouzel that had dropped in, no chance - a female Blackbird was what it turned out to be. Some more shrubs along the walls of these small patches of greenery might help attract the odd migrant, breeding Dunnock or Linnet or summat but even if they did we’d probably never see them as once the works are completed it’s unlikely that we’ll ever go that way again.
Where to next? If it continues this poor – and it might duff migration weather forecast then it might well be more newts and moths rather than birds.
In the meantime let us know if your outback has died too.
On a more positive note the RSPB has asked/demanded that the wildlife be considered ocn a landscape scale – about time too, can ‘t believe it’s taken them this long to realise you can only conserve a handful of specialist species on small nature reserves and the ‘common’ stuff needs protecting and enhancing at a much larger scale...I always had a problem with Planning Law and protected species eg Great Crested Newts...ahhh just dig another pond and shift (some of) em out the way, or Barn Owls...demolish their barn in winter when they’re not breeding and cover their feeding fields in concrete; no need to worry about em then...more needs to be done if we are to protect our wildlife at anything like its already seriously diminished densities for the future.
Please can someone identify this plant from Patch 1 I really ought to know it and every time it getsd nearly to flowering the Council comes and mows it - I'm guessing it's a Compositae but it could be summat else.

And finally a snippet from America about hunting - sounds like a good idea in the State that's over run with aliens, just not sure about the bloodytthirsy pleasure the 'hunt' seems to imply.

8 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Its all gone dead here too Dave :-( not even warm enough for butterflies!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Barely warm enough for Yeti's and Mammoths with anti-freeze in their blood here (you see that article in the news?)

Cheers

D

Monika said...

Surely "off somewhere else" is better than "dead"?!

I did hear about the recent article on orca genetics - interesting stuff! In addition to the three Antarctic types they think our transients are even more distinct than thought. Last I heard they thought transients and residents hadn't interbred for 10,000 years, now they've upped that number to 700,000 years! It will be interesting to see if the result is different official species of orcas.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

700,000 years! They've got to be different species!

Cheers

D

Dean said...

Too quiet for my liking too Dave.Although i keep managing to pull at least 1 decent species out of the bag.

Had a look at your plant, but i stumped at the mo. Hope it manages to flower before the council get their strimmers on it.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Dean - I'll try to get some better photos of individual leaves with the other camera and the flowerheads - if they survive the strimmer! I really ought to know what it it - the leaves are quite waxy.

Cheers

Davo

cliff said...

Evening Dave - your unidentified patch 1 plant's not Marsh Pennywort is it? The leaves have a look of it although I dunno what the habitat's like where you've photo'd it?

Cheers

Cliff

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Cliff - not Marsh Pennywort I'm afraid, its quite a tall chunky plant (given half a chance) which is growing at the edge of the footpath behind a garage at the bottom of the slope leading down from Magpie Wood on the 'posh' estate. The yellow flower at the bottom right of one of the pics is a squashed Dandelion. hopefully it'll survive the blades long enough to be identified - will take better camera and get some more shots.

Cheers

Dave
PS Moth night coming to a renovated orchard near you soon!