Tuesday, 27 July 2010

And still the wet stuff falls

The safari was out on Patch 1 twice yesterday after work. At teatime seeing as there was some feeble sunshine we had a bit of a hunt for the White Letter Hairstreaks but without any joy; d’ya think we’ll get to see em again this year? We did get a Speckled Wood and this nice fresh Small Copper, if anyone is any good with Photoshop you could get rid of that grass leaf for us. In our area at least they appear to be having a good year this year. Not much else there but we didn’t look too hard for anything else. Although we did notice a small all black Ichneumon Wasp with a ‘tail’ approximately as long as its abdomen. As we were trying to get a pic of it we were interrupted by a gaggle of kids asking “are you the ‘Butterfly Man’”...”yep ‘fraid so!”. “You’re really good at finding butterflies aren’t you”…”hey kids look here at this tiny butterfly, it’s a Small Skipper”. It was roosting head down deep in the thistles. Too small and not colourful enough for them they lost interest and wandered off, bet they woulda been more interested in the life cycle of the parasitic wasp. Just as we were leaving a small bronzy butterfly whipped across the face of the trees high up on the other side of the glade, we took off in chase but lost it as we came to a stop against the huge bramble thicket. Now was it one of those mythical White Letter Hairstreaks or was it just a male Vapourer moth?
Much later, getting towards 11pm, we set off again on the last tour of duty of the night. A steady fine mizzle was in the air and we were soon wet – who’d have a dog? Coming round the corner, off the main road and facing the water tower, from the glow of the street lights we saw a shadowy silhouette swoop up land on the usual ledge – the Peregrine had just come in to roost. It was still there at 06.15 this morning. One thing is obvious from these times – the Safari needs to be getting more sleep!
Other than the Peregrine sat up under the overhang the only other thing we got was very, very wet as we got caught in a bit of a rainstorm. In the distance a feeble, skinny flicker of lightning shot from the base of the thickest part of the rainstorm, turned round and disappeared back in to the cloud.
Too wet to contemplate a Patch 2 visit this morning – probably would have risked it if we didn’t have to do the ‘Long Walk’ as that would only have resulted in the second soaking of the day before 08.30.
Lunchtime on Patch 2 was a breeze by comparison by that we mean breezy and DRY with a hint of sunshine. Our big bull Grey Seal was fishing again and as with the other day getting pics of him proved to be a nightmare. He was close, well over the beach, but wouldn’t stay at the surface long enough to get him in the scope, focus, raise the camera to the eyepiece, focus the camera and snap; no chance he just took a couple or three huge breaths and down he went for another five minutes or so. By the time he’d come back up he’d drifted on the current and so wasn’t in the same place. Now you see him...
Now you don't...
Not only that we’d got bored waiting for him, easily done when there were loadsa Manx Shearwaters shooting through. Brilliant little barrels of feathers flicking themselves up and over the waves with barely a twitch of their long stiff wings – luv em! In a few short weeks they’ll be off the southern coast of Brazil.
Probably about 30 – 40 of them in all but we weren’t sure if they were doing a circuit of the bay. The southbound birds were distant whilst those travelling northwards were much closer in. Only three distant Gannets today each moving south with the distant shearwaters.
A flock of six Common Scoters managed to remain mostly hidden in the chop just off shore not far beyond the seal. Barely a gull was seen on the full tide and only three Sandwich Terns were noted too, but with all those Manxies to enjoy we aren’t complaining.
Where to next? More of the same please but would the seal in the front row please sit still and we’ll have more of the supporting cast as well please for tomorrow’s performance. And we’ll be hitting the pond life with a vengeance later tonight as the Cub pack descends on our habitats.
In the meantime let us know what won’t keep still in your outback.

2 comments:

Anno Brandreth said...

check your emails dude...

Monika said...

The seals will sit still for me, but not the butterflies! Some more great shots Dave.