Thursday, 22 July 2010

Still dry(ish)

The Safari was out on Patch 1 last night after news from CR of a White Letter Hairstreak in the ‘glade’. Excellent news – see what a bit of sunshine can do! But we were too late, by the time we got out it was well into the evening and the temperature had cooled down and most of the glade was in shade. We had a mooch about and found a Gatekeeper. A Holly Blue flew past and we struggled to get a decent picture of a female Common Blue…you can tell we struggled as the results haven’t been posted here, this is a species we’ve bizarrely still not got a decent shot of for either any of our wildlife/sustainability publicity work or this blog.
A fair number of Soldier Beetles were mating among the flower heads of the large patch of Creeping Thistles.

Secretly we were hoping that a WLH might come down for a bit of nectaring before retiring for the night. No such luck, just a couple Meadow Browns taking advantage of the last of the sunshine and a final drink before bedtime.
Found out today that this is exactly where one had been seen…dohhh
On the way back we saw that the Peregrine was back on the ledge.

This morning the Patch was quiet, too early for butterflies, too much doggy disturbance for many birds to be about and the Peregrine wasn’t on the tower. However, Patch 2 looked good, grey sky – no shadows, and flat calm. Sadly it didn’t live up to the early promise – but that’s not to say it was no good. A Grey Seal fished annoying close in shore, annoyingly as the light was ‘photo perfect’ but it wouldn’t stay at the surface long enough for us to get a shot and eventually drifted away and out of range.
We did see something we’ve never seen before; on hearing the calls of Sandwich Terns and the shriller begging call of a youngster we managed to scope the two birds coming towards us, the rear one had a small fish. The nearer one, now obviously the juvenile, landed on the water and craned its head skywards whereupon the adult hovered above it and gave it the fish – brilliant bit of behaviour we’ve never witnessed before.
Yesterday’s Gannet-fest had disappeared leaving just a solitary adult sitting out on the water in the distance. Oddly the feeding frenzy wasn’t picked up by an observer(s) further up the coast; they only recorded 12 Gannets, although they did have a Fulmar - a very good find in calm weather along this stretch of coast.
Much closer was a House Martin working the sea wall, we’re not sure if these are nesting locally this year. Then a Collared Dove came in off the sea and landed on the sea wall. Ohhhhh at first we thought we were on a winner as it looked a bit dark when we first picked it up and it disappeared out of view under the overhang - - ohh thoughts of the mega, Turtle Dove, loomed large but were instantaneously dashed once it had landed…doh…if only. A sort of mega was seen a little further down on the walk back to work – a Dunnock singing from the back of the sea wall, possibly breeding in the bushes in the ‘out of bounds’ area cordoned off by the tramway construction works.
The lunchtime safari was a little on the strange side and started out with a Funnel Cloud lurking ominously over the Cumbrian coast to the west of Black Combe. Then scoping the sea we found no Gannets but four adult Mute Swans sat line astern about a mile out drifting south, weird or wot!
A scan of the gulls on the beach revealed about two dozen adult Black Headed Gulls but again only one juvenile. One of the adults sported a Darvik ring – details duly forwarded.
Over the sea four Sandwich Terns fished noisily but none of this morning’s feeding behaviour was seen. They did fly over a large dark bird with a cocked tail sitting someway off shore; juvenile Gannets are weird looking things. While giving that a grilling a lone Manx Shearwater shot through much closer in, barely behind the surf, one of the closest low tide sightings we ever had. There endeth a short but strange safari.
Where to next? Will the WLH be out and photographable, will the Peregrine be digiscopeable, the answers and more tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what wasn’t where it should have been in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

C'mon Dave! I want to see a W L H photo!

I'll swap you with a Turtle Dove :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Warren - your on!!!



Amila Kanchana said...

Nice too see those photos after all this time!