Saturday, 7 August 2010

National Whale and Dolphin Watch - Day 1

The Safari was out yesterday evening on Patch 1 and yo-ho-ho TWO Peregrines were on the water tower.
Then it was out on a big twitch. News has broken that Black Redstarts have bred in the nest door town. So after tea off we went . The area, as befits Black Redstarts, was not salubrious at all. We left the Land Rover well out of its natural habitat with some trepidation - would it still be there when we got back and if so would it be smouldering, or still have its windows and wheels?
But we were parked next to possibly the most important house in the whole world!!! Why??? It just looks like any normal oldish house.
This is why...
It just so happens that the modern world started in one of those rooms. Arkwight took cottage industry and brought it kicking and screaming into the 18th Century initiating the industrial revolution, factories, sugar, cotton, slaves and just about everything we rely on/enjoy/despise today.
The Black Redstart (168 - good to get the list moving again) was on the upper wall of his back garden.
Not the world's best pic but moments later a Peregrine flew over - three in a day in two cities. Next up was a trip to the wilderness, and birding hotspot, that is Over Wyre to see if we could pick up a Quail that has been reported singing on and off. No chance, we stopped at several places turned off the engine and listened. A singing Yellowhammer was a bonus but no Quail. Eventually we did get another year tick, Little last!!! (169).
The Hedgehog was out late last night and it was a case of 2BBPs.
This morning our first excitement was hearing a Peregrine calling before we got out of the street. What a kerfuffle the female was saying 'Hey you get offa my ledge' as Bianca might have said to Mick. She literally picked him and threw him off. he shot overhead so low we could almost have done a Farne Island Arctic Tern on him...within a few minutes he was back up there giving plenty of lip back. Great patch stuff.
Onto the marine type 7.00 the weather was typical for National Whale and Dolphin Watch, wet, squally with limited visibility.
Lots of Sandwich Terns, hard to count as they were going back and forth all morning but probably somewhere between 25 and 50. One of our volunteers picked up a lifer when he found a juvvy Kittiwake. We had a few others throughout the morning. Gannets featured mostly distantly but two were seriously close and gave excellent views in the improving weather later on. Common Scoters were tricky to find but small flocks of one (can you have flock of one?) four and six sat on the water and a distant flock of about 20 flew north. Three auks went south at range and two Swallows went north over the sea.
The only mammals we had were three Grey Seals, one close, one close in shore but distant to the south an a bull much further out. This is the nearer female but still too far away for a proper pic...digiscoped at about half a mile...we'll get a proper pic one day.
Cormorants appeared to be moving with many birds seen at height rather than low over the sea going out on fishing trips.
Watch 1 over, no cetaceans...well what did you expect?
Where to next? Another early start tomorrow...but will we get any cetaceans? One forecast says light rain and breezy wind, another says light wind no rain...which will turn out to be the correct one, they both can't be right can they?
In the meantime let us know who lived in the most important house in your outback.


Craig said...

Hi Dave,
Enjoyed your post.
Congrats with the two peregrines, all we need now is a nest box up there for next season, hope you can pull a few strings.
Hope you have a whale of a time tomos.

best wishes,

Monika said...

It almost looks like that peregrine on the left is on a nest, could it be?

I hope you found some cetaceans!

cliff said...

Excellent photo of the 2 Peregrines, I've stopped off a few times when I've been passing but am yet to see them, maybe I'm not looking at the right part of the tower.