Monday, 23 August 2010

The beach is sandy

The Safari’s Patch 1 early morning walk gave us the Great Spotted Woodpecker again so we are now wondering if it is gonna stick around for a while, all winter?
At Patch 2 FB was already noting that it was very, very quiet but he had had 15 Sandwich Terns sat on the beach away to the south, which although not a huge number was a vast improvement on recent weeks. We set the scope up and immediately found another dozen sat on the beach to the north. Checking back southwards FB’s lot were still there and with another ten or so fishing offshore numbers were up to the 40 mark – a decided influx! Away down with the first 15 were two Sanderlings sprinting along the tide line.
A Great Black Backed Gull sat head and shoulders above its congeners on the beach as FB announced he had just had his record count of Grey Seals from this stretch of coast a pretty impressive seven! As the safari was crossing the tram tracks we were chatting to a lady with a Black Labrador and mentioned we’d be looking for seals. She replied she’d been coming to the beach with her dog for years and never seen a seal, didn’t know they were to be found off Blackpool…As her dog played in the surf there was one bottling about 50 yards offshore. When we asked her on her return if she’d seen it, “Oh yes, aren’t they big!” was the reply. She was going to make a point of looking out for them from now on. Good job it was flat calm and the big male was asleep not so far away, if it had have been rough she wouldn’t have seen it and possibly not believed us when we told her they were quite easy to see if conditions are good.
Later, at lunchtime, the tide was dropping and once again very little was about. A few sandwich terns were fishing distantly to the south and were joined by a much smaller tern for a minute or so before it headed out in to the bay and the oncoming heavy shower, a Little Tern? Probably, but not claimable at that range unfortunately. We headed off and scurried back to the warmth of the office before the weather landed and drenched us.
Three of our unknown moths from the other night have been kindly identified and are Agriphila tristella, Shuttle Shaped Dart and Small Square Spot,
which we should really have got the latter two but we are so out of practice this year due to the naff weather, the only decent spell was when we were hospitalised and consequently out of action. The others were too worn for the pics to be any use to our ‘resident expert moth identifier’ or County Recorder as he is better known. Many thanks SP.
With an evening meeting tonight we managed to get back to Patch 2 at teatime after an afternoon of driving rain
Where to next? More patchy stuff, be nice to get the 175th species on one of the patches rather than having to ‘twitch’ it.
In the meantime let us know if it’s sandy in your outback…if you live in a certain town in Bedfordshire best known as being the location for the HQ of the RSPB it probably is – always thought it would be a great address to have seeing as how we are from the seaside – Sandy, Beds…hahahahaha …sorry...

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