Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Very mixed feelings

The Safari learnt yesterday morning that a good friend had just passed away. May her birds be colourful and easily identified from now on.
Maybe in a few years time one of the up and coming youngsters will revisit the book she co-wrote with former County Recorder MJ, The Birds of Marton Mere, and hopefully there will be some interesting and positive information to share at that future time.

On a much lighter note, today marks the inauguration of a ‘new’ partnership project, The North Blackpool Pond Trail, which the BEAT Naturewatch group has been working towards for a number of years. So if you are ever in Bispham area look out for events and improvements centred around the many ponds and other snippets of habitat in the area. And if anyone is after a job in the community/environmental field then look in the usual places now!
Patch 1 early morning wasn’t up to much. A hoard of cackling Magpies alerted us to a brief view of a Sparrowhawk desperately trying to avoid their attentions. Frank sniffed out both halves of a freshly hatched Woodpigeon’s egg lying on the grass – they seem to have had a good breeding season.
Back at Base Camp we came across two moths indoors – one was released back to the wild – a male Orange Swift,

the other, as yet unidentified micro, evaded capture. That painted wall it is sitting on is supposed to be magnolia or some other similar shade of not-quite-white!
No Patch 2 today, we were hoping to twitch the sort of local Wood Sandpiper but it appears to have done a bunk and then there was tempting news of a Ring Billed Gull not so far away seen until late yesterday evening. But in the end we plumbed a short morning’s safari to the nature reserve - where we had very little.
Over the woods to the east a Buzzard circled and was later ‘replaced’ by a hovering Kestrel.
On the scrape a few Mallards mooched about with about a dozen Teal. Moving round to the hide on the opposite side we found three Shovelers and counted exactly 20 Pochards. Coot numbers in the area we could see from the hide weren’t high with only about 15.
From the bushes adjacent to the hide a Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff said ‘hweet’ a couple of times; other than that the reserve appeared just about passerineless. The ‘horsey’ farm across the way had a good number of both Swallows and House Martins hawking insects above and around the stable blocks.
Then we spotted a young gull that caught the eye. Doh not again! you’re all thinking – can this guy not sort out 1st yr LBBGs yet!!!!!
Well no, not exactly – the more we look at them the more we see things that don’t add up, yes we’re sure they’re all juvenile/1st winter LBBGs but just have a look at this one and let us know what you think. Why they have started to cause confusion is a mystery…think we’re looking too hard. Even a good scrutiny of everybody’s favourite website still hasn’t given us a definitive answer…yet! So, can you?
Where to next? Back to the normal patchwork tomorrow
In the meantime let us know what’s causing you ID problems in your outback.


Monika said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Holy smokes, that gull ID work puts me to shame! I must admit I often pass over juvenile gulls as just being too darn hard.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, your unidentified moth is the Twenty-plumed Moth.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika - if one of your 1st winter glaucous winged gulls ever sits on the beach think I'll pretend not to have seen it after reading all the pros and cons on the web of the few that have been over here so far! Tricky beyond belief!!!

Many thanks Dean - you're a star.