Tuesday, 17 August 2010

An Arctic blast

The Safari’s early morning walk wasn’t looking too clever in the heavy drizzle with nothing really of note apart from an increase in the number of Robins ‘tic’ing away from their hidey holes in the bushes. That was until we noticed a large flock of Blue, Great with a fair few Long Tailed Tits thrown in and a bonus bird too, a Blackcap. Again not a raptor to be seen this morning.
At Patch 2 the tide was falling but at least by now the rain had eased. Not a lot on the beach, plenty of Herring Gulls but only small numbers of Lesser Black Backs and Black Headed Gulls, not a single juvenile of these so its looking like they might have had a calamitous breeding season, at least locally.
A Cormorant sat on the beach drying its wings looking as prehistoric as they get, not a common sight along this stretch of beach, they usually roost in numbers a mile or so to the south a good bit off our patch. Poorly digiscoped in the gloom.

Out in the distance the sea was quiet with just a few small flocks of Common Scoter flying about. Then we got on something a little more interesting, a brown long winged thing careening between the waves. Winding the mag on the scope up a notch or two we ‘got in front’ of it and waited…nothing happened; where had it gone? Going back to wide angle view we picked it up again not far from where it was first seen but this time at great height – our second Arctic Skua of the season was giving a young gull some serious aerobatic grief. We watched the excellent but one sided dog-fight unfold until either the gull gave up its meal or the skua gave up because the gull didn’t have a meal to give – couldn’t really tell at that range. The skua then glided (should that be glid?) back down to the waves a mile or so away in a shallow dive without so much as a flicker of its wings. With nothing else happening and rain in the air – that makes a refreshing change!!! - we called it a morning.
A trip to the shops on the milk run gave us a Grey Wagtail, another first for the season.
Lunchtime on Patch 2 was useless with more rain coming on the breeze. A Sandwich Tern was sat on the beach with a two others a little further down and yet again a Collared Dove landed on the wall close to us then shot off northwards over the beach, so are they/is it a local bird or movers?

Then it was a quick lunch and back to the rockpools with a gaggle of loud and excited youngsters.

We found this vertebra on the strandline - it's about six inches (15cm) across - any ideas anyone? the circular disc in the middle is about an inch (25mm) in diameter and doesn't have a hole through the middle so we doubt if it's a mammal.

Side on it has strange protrusions.

The other end on view.
The pools released their goodies, best of which was this pair of Green Shore Crabs.

Where to next? Back to the birds with the chance of something a little different tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know whose vertebrae have been left lying around in your outback.


anthony said...

davo - think your vertebrae is a Porpoise - the gap carries the bundle sheath of nerves and gets smaller as it approaches the tail- dolphins are different than porps their top verts are fused so they can't move there heads - Google image it see what you fink....


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Sunday name again Anno! And there was me ruling out a mammal butthen couldn't imagine a fish round here big enough apart from a huge conger.