Thursday, 29 July 2010

Things can only get better

The Safari reckons you can’t beat a bit of D:Ream.
Yesterday evening out on Patch 1 whilst chatting to our doggy walking chums we were being strafed by a kamikaze Swallow – we must have been kicking up some insects as we played ball with the mutts, whatever the reason it gave us stupendous views as it whizzed past at ankle height. Walked back through the butterfly ‘glade’ where there were no butterflies but came across this whopping great hoverfly, Volucella pellucens, nectaring on the Creeping Thistles. We have seen these many times before but not noticed the curl on the wing where it joins the thorax. It can be seen clearly on the pics. At first we thought it might be the haltere but, again, that can be seen (just about) on the first pic. So what is it?

This morning’s visit to Patch 1 was a little later than normal and it’s a whole new world; you see people and their dogs you never knew existed by being just 10 minutes out of synch. Wildlife-wise a clump of Common Inkcap’s were pushing their way through the turf and a Sparrowhawk flew over – we weren’t able to get a good view so not sure if it was a juvenile or not. When do the adults moult, as the wings looked feather perfect? Not a lot else about.
Patch 2 was a dead loss before work, the short watch gave us two Sandwich Terns and they were distant. Other than that it was hard work and a pointless waste of time so we high-tailed it back to the desk before the next deluge landed – made it with a couple of minutes to spare.
At lunchtime it wasn’t a lot better but before long we were accosted by one of yesterday’s fishermen who had seen the Grey Seal but also something else which he thought might have been a dolphin. He was asking if we’d seen it but sadly we hadn’t. As he described it nothing was ringing a bell. So we drew the most likely suspects in the notebook for him – nope not any of those apparently – so can you recognise what we drew for him…hint: none are birds!

He said this thing spent several minutes looking head-up out of the water. Sounds like a seal but it was near the seal and the fishermen are very familiar with them – see yesterday’s rant - so we can discount that, Bottle-nosed Dolphin doing extended spyhopping? Do they do that? His son only ‘thought’ he saw a dorsal fin so I’d guess not a BND as the fin should have been obvious when the animal moved. Our money’s on a piece of wood doing the Loch Ness Monster thing. Whatever it was we didn’t see it and there was quite a bit of wood floating around closer in. anyway, as we were chatting we talked about the Porpoises and how he used to see shoals of them when he was a kid, but only when he was out on a boat. We leant over the sea wall pointing at how close we have seen them and there in the swell right up against the wall was a dead one! How weird was that??? Looked like half or all its head had been chopped off, caught in fishing net and hacked out perhaps. We nipped down the nearest steps and fired a few pics off as it drifted past on the tide. Doubt if this is what they saw yesterday as from the pale colour we’d say this has been rolling around on the surface for some time.
Where to next? More of the same but hopefully including live rather than dead cetaceans.
In the meantime let us know what is pretending to be something it’s not in your outback


cliff said...

Re you art work, is the bottom one Frank going for a dip ;-)

Interesting re the curl on the wing of your Great Pied Hoverfly, very well spotted, I would never have noticed, your mate B will know what that's all about - BTW - I dunno what a haltere is???


Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Cliff - nice one Frank haha. Can't be him - no ball!!

The halteres are the adaptation which Dipterans (Two winged) flies have to enable them to balance - they act like gyroscopes and are the second pair of wings. Clever things these flies.
The curl has me baffled - need to find another one and see if that has it too or if it's just this individual.



Amila Kanchana said...

Things are getting better, aren't they?

Monika said... guesses on what you drew:
Harbor porpoise
Bottlenose dolphin
Whale shark
Orca? Or actual shark?
The last one looks like one of your Florida gators but I'm guessing it's the gray seal?

You wouldn't believe how many people here see driftwood/boat wakes/kayakers/etc. and think they are seeing whales....

Craig said...

Hi Dave, Regarding your question...when do adult sparrowhawks moult.
The female moults when she is incubating her eggs, this also helps to line their nests with feathers.
Not sure when the male does.

best wishes,