Sunday, 15 August 2010

National Whale and Dolphin Watch - the final day

The Safari isn't that pleased with Chelsea and there 6 - 0 thrashing of the Baggies, the view from the top was nice while it lasted. 4- 0 away at Arsenal next will do very nicely!!!
Forgot to mention we could see the Isle of Man yesterday it was so clear. Also, there is a chance that 7 birds we saw in the far distance might have been Pink Footed Geese - a very early first of the autumn.
We set off for Patch 1 just after 06.00 on a beautiful still morning. The sun was easing itself over the fells to the east as a House Sparrow chirruped unseen nearby. The local ringers will have been out for a couple of hours by this time and after heavy passerine passage was noted at Walney Island yesterday we were hopeful of finding something worth seeing. We never do, but you never know.
No Peregrine this morning and not a peep out of the Sparrowhawks. A Coal Tit singing from a conifer tree in the centre off the parkwas evidence that birds had been on the move overnight.; maybe the ringer's nets would be full to bustin.
At the other end of the scale a very resident Blackbird dropped a faecal sac, so there are still chicks in the nest too. A small flock of Blue and Great Tits worked their way through the chav-trashed shrubbery but no sign of a Redstart, Spotted or Pied Flycatcher or other such patch goody.
Before we set out for the watch we had ten minutes in the sunshine at Base Camp - a Peacock butterfly and a Large White were flitting about but unpicable. A hoverfly posed nicely.
And here's a couple of a Starling hopping about the top of Pipit Slab...look right...Look left...

The last watch was more or less hopehopeless. Conditions were ideal, warm with a light offshore wind so no waves and good light. But there were loads of small angling boats, sailing boats and a few jet skis shooting about all over the place and it was hazy.
First to hit the page was a distant flock of about 50 Common Scoters, nothing like the numbers we got yesterday. Sandwich Terns started promisingly with a few moving out of the estuary on the rising tide, one even dived through the field of view, but they soon tailed off and only a dozen were seen.

Then we got a useful patch tick, Shag (95), it flew in from the south landed and promptly vanished not to be seen again. Whilst searching for it a Peacock flew along the prom; butterfly not bird! The Shag was seen briefly in with some gulls about an hour later but it dived not to be seen again.

The strangest sighting of the day happened when a Collared Dove landed right in front of us but as we were aiming the camera at it it saw us and did one and carried on northwards - we got most of it.

Then the Shag reappeared and swam past not far offf the sea wall giving good views but unphotographable as it was diving so much.

No cetaceans - not even a Grey Seal today bizarrely.

Best bird of the week - Arctic Skua

Biggest miss - Balearic Shearwater

Best mammal - Ferret

Weirdest sighting - Silver Y 'in-off'

Most frustrating - far too much human activity on the water on the 'best' day.

Where to next? Back on the patches.

In the meantime let us know what was so frustrating in your outback this weekend

1 comment:

cliff said...

Nothing frustrating in our Outback today Dave, far from it.
Given we finally had nice weather me & the missus decided to have a day in the garden & what an enjoyable day it was.

Like you, we also had a Peacock butterfly (bizarrely given it's mid August a 1st in the garden this year), plus Common & Holly Blue, several Whites & a Speckled Wood - but the two much more exciting sightings were - a Blue-tailed damsel in the vicinty of the pond I dug out 2 years ago, finally somethings showing an interest in my pond - then & even better, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth checking out our Verbena & Honeysuckle - the latter evaded the camera but I'll have it next time.
Oh - & male & female Sprawks also did a fly by, something I've not seen from the garden for yonks - but given the crap weather recently we've not sat out for yonks either.

Happy Days