A Great Tit was heard singing, the first on Patch 1 for a while.
Down on the seawall, Patch 2 was a dream compared to recent visits. The sun was out and pleasantly warm on our back, not too much breeze and better still there were some living things to be seen!
We arrived a few minutes after high tide, a very modest 7.5m today, and immediately got onto three Sandwich Terns heading out to sea. Whilst watching where they were off to an auk flew past low and fast as did two Dunlins, one of which was showing its black belly patch as it jinked across the waves. During the whole watch we were to have somewhere between 100 and 150 mixed Dunlins and Sanderlings going past, most were the former.
Out in the distance to the north west there was a large congregation of feeding Gannets. The fish they were interested in must have been at some depth as they were diving vertically from great height. Watching them we saw a flock of 14 Common Scoters going north beyond them. All the while we were noticing the Dunlin/Sanderling flocks shooting through the field of view but totally uncountable while we were concentrating on the more distant stuff in case of marauding skuas.
An excellent quarter of an hour or so – set us up for the day nicely and got us looking forward to the lunchtime session if we’re going to be able to get one in today...which we did.
By lunchtime the Gannet feeding frenzy wasn’t as frenzied and they had moved a little to the south and were now straight out in front of us but still along way offshore. A few had broken ranks and come a good deal nearer giving excellent scope views as they sailed past; others had moved into the mouth of the river channel but didn’t seem to be having any luck locating fish. A Great Black Backed Gull towered over its more numerous smaller relatives, the Black Headed Gulls, of which there were 38 adults but only one juvenile on our stretch of beach.
The shrill shriek of a Sandwich Tern was heard but it was a while before we located a solitary bird.
Best of the safari was a Grey Seal bobbing about just behind the surf. A bit tricky though as it spent most its time submerged.
On the way back passing through the garden we noticed a tiny species of bee buzzing about on the wildflower bed we’ve planted up this season, grabbed a couple or three shots with the ‘little’ camera which happened to be in the pocket and then got the biggy out from the office and took some more – enjoy the results…species anyone? The plant it was taking pollen from most frequently was the Yarrow.
Good pic of the pollen baskets coming up...
Hope you enjoyed those Amila - worth the wait?
Where to next? Anywhere with sunshine so that we can get the camera out and re-activated.
In the meantime let us know what’s been removing the pollen in your outback.
As a bit extra we have loads of stuff coming up on the coast soon as it's National Marine Week when we'll be surveying the thousands of artificial rockpools to get baseline data of their flora and fauna , followed or more accurately concurrently with, the second week of NMW is National Whale and Dolphin Watch when we will be doing our usual watches from the promenade.
Just incase you need some practice for these marine/coastal events why not join in the Great Eggcase Hunt and look for the eggcases of the sharks, skates, rays around the coast. If you are really keen you can let us know which species you think these egg cases we collected last summer are from - check out the key on their website. To help you in the key the big one is 6x4cm, the two smaller ones are 5x1cm.
And don't forget Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count 2010 starts on Saturday so now's the time to decide where you're going to do your count.
That lot should keep you busy - for details of local events check out BEAT Naturewatch
And finally - at last they sigh - from 1st - 31st August the Safari is holding a photo exhibition in Stanley Park visitor centre so if you're in the area why not pop in and have a look at the full size version of some of the pics you've seen on the blog; you never know some of them might even be in focus!