Tuesday, 10 August 2010

National Whale and Dolphin Watch – Day 4

The Safari has decided that we are in actual fact quite mad! Before we get on to the reasons why we think that let’s catch up on last night’s news. Brown Hawker and Common Darter were the dragonfly interest on Patch 1 along with good views of Holly Blue for Wifey. Sparrowhawk was calling in the trees too.
Then the mayhem started; we were playing ball with Frank when his chum Toby, another chocolate Lab, turned up. Toby and Frank don’t really see eye to eye when a ball is involved. So we risked the all out war and threw the ball. Frank is a good boy and drops the ball when told after he has retrieved it – Toby doesn’t so you have to wrestle it out of his jaws all the while keeping an eye on Frank cos as soon you’ve loosened Toby’s grip Franks jaws dive in to grab it – can see a hand or even an arm being lost one day! Toby was getting more and more annoying not letting the ball go so much so that we ended up practically sitting on his head in a sort of rugby maul situation – it was then the fabric of the trousers decided to give up the ghost with an almighty rent. The 10+ yo trousers couldn’t take the strain and a massive tear appeared in the ‘sensitive’ area. Have to say we got our money’s worth out of them but it was time to leave the park before we were reported by any small children that might have been in the area. Wifey and Mike couldn’t stop laughing, tears were streaming down their faces. On the way back, no Peregrines at this time, Mike let it slip that Toby had recently also destroyed the trousers of a visitor to his house – so the dog has trouser history and we are going to sue…you never know those keks might have lasted another decade or more. Nothing wrong with the self same pants in this pic from not so long ago, deffo gonna sue!!!
Didn’t visit Patch 1 later that night but this morning it was a case of PPEM and several Blackbirds criss-crossing the patch alongside the Golden Triangle. Again we heard one of the Sparrowhawks and saw another sat in the dead branches of an Elm tree.
On the way to work driving up the hill we could see that the Peregrine was still there.
Patch 2 early morning wasn’t brilliant but a scan across the beach gave us in the region of 250 Oystercatchers with a big tight flock further down way out of counting range. Nine Cormorants set off from the beach on a fishing trip and a nice speckled 3rd year Gannet drifted past close inshore. In the distance two adult Gannets were seen along with eight Common Scoters and another singleton.
Lunchtime saw us back on National Whale and Dolphin Watch and we were hyped up with the news of four Bottle Nosed Dolphins seen at Hilbre Island yesterday. That’s not too far across the bay to the south from here – we can see the top half of the wind turbines at Hoyle Bank, the bases of two of which can be seen here.
A bit too windy for spotting cetaceans but at least it was sunny and fairly warm. Four Dunlin raced past southwards to break the notebook duck, quickly followed by the seasons largest flock of Common Scoters, 50+, heading south way out on the horizon. A Swift was spotted weaving about way out to sea and being harried by some of the local juvvy gulls. By now the tide was well up and we were starting to get splashed by spray from the crashing waves a bit too often. Three Manx Shearwaters went past, followed by another two doing their ‘dynamic soaring’ thing – jeez those guys can fly…so effortless straight into the teeth of the wind – a joy to behold! A smattering of single adult Lesser Black Backed Gulls moved south, a bit of movement to their wintering quarters perhaps. A Great Black Backed Gull came in-off and continued inland. More Manxies whizzed by. Sandwich Terns were noticeably lacking today, we only got two and no sign of any fishing activity. An adult Gannet briefly shone bright white catching a shaft of sunlight as it broke the horizon. By now the weather was deteriorating and the sunny spells were getting shorter and further apart. Even with the lens cowl fully extended the scope was almost completely covered splashes and salt spray.
Then the weirdest thing happened, a leaf appeared and stuck to the top of the sea wall fluttering wildly – only on closer inspection it wasn’t a leaf it was a Silver Y moth! No picture as it flew off before we could extract the camera from under the many layers of waterproofs and jumpers.
Another unusual sighting followed almost immediately – a large red inflatable shark floated past, species not quite discernable but it did have a lot of teeth!
Finally we got another couple of Manxies.
So much for whale and dolphin watching - in that tortured sea we wouldn’t have been able to see a Blue Whale breaching.
Then the rain started – we called it a day and aimed for a well deserved hot cuppa.
within an hour of being behind th desk the sun was streaming warm and bright in a clear blue sky through the office windows...it isn't fair!!!
Where to next? More of the same but with stronger winds forecast so the birds are more likely to be better than the cetaceans.
In the meantime let us know if the wind has dropped in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Most of my Jeans end up as your trousers did Dave, but I still wear 'em :-)

cliff said...

Never mind the "stronger winds forecast", I'm thinking the forecast should be for a stronger pair of strides - never happened to me of course ;-)

Thanks for the info re the Falco peregrinus.


Monika said...

Haha, your writing was in top form today Dave and I have to admit I was laughing out loud at a couple of sections - just what I needed since I've been down and out for a few days with a summer cold! You've sure had some bizarre sightings lately. What, no picture of the shark?