Friday, 3 September 2010

A different sort of a day

The Safari had a day off work today and was excused the usual early doors Patch 1 visit but we were up too late to go Roe Deer hunting, if it was going to be about we should have been up and out a good hour earlier, Instead we took the opporunity to go Whinchat hunting along the cliffs. Conditions are still good with an nice south easterly helping migrants find the coast.
But after a few hundred yards without a Wheatear it looked a lot less promising. On the walk down to Pipit Slab and beyond we had just three alba Wagtails go over and then two more. Grey Wagtails numbered two too, next over was a solitary Tree Pipit and eventually, well past half way, we found a stonking male Wheatear. A Great Black Backed Gull was the only thing of note in, on or over the sea. At the furthest point we had another much less colourful Wheatear.
The way back on the Lower Walk was a quiet affair with the waves gentle slooshing onto the beach. Our second Wheatear had overtaken us but we caught up with it again. A nice active juvenile Pied Wagtail was skipping about catching flies at the bottom of the seawall. As we watched him doing his thing three other wagtails flew over without calling but had a lot of Yellow Wagtail 'about them' just couldn't get on them quick enough to clinch the deal.
At the boating pool roost we counted 102 Turnstones in various stages of moult and just two Redshanks today.
A selection of Turnstone pics for you...
Still no Whinchats!
A lunchtime short doggy wander up the start of the new North Blackpool Pond Trail saw us count a decent two dozen Speckled Woods. Not much else moving in the heat (yes - heat) of the day althugh a sizeable flock of Long Tailed Tits was heard moving therough the Community Orchard.
Back at Base Camp after a good few errands it was time to sit out in the garden and watch the sky for passing raptors.
Almost immediately we got a high soaring Sparrowhawk, a local bird we think, which plummetted to earth in a spectacular wings tight;y folded stoop when it received a bit too much attention from a passing Herring Gull. A female Kestrel, a rare bird in these parts, passed over headed south. The Sparrowhawk reappeared over the rooftops. Way, way up high, just beneath the cloud base, and sometimes in it, 16 Black Headed Gulls and one Herring Gull motored south; they were so high they couldn't be seen with the naked eye!
Once again the Sparrowhawk appeared. We had a run of Collared Doves every single one of which was going south and there was a steady trickle of Swallows all afternoon which eventually yielded two House Martins.
Butterflies were represented by Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large and Small Whites.
Then, while chatting to a mate who had dropped by, we noticed this little Geometrid caterpillar doing his 'looping' thing. Once we had disturbed him he did this I'm pretending to be a bit of broken twig thing.
A footy walk to Patch 1 with Frank gave us a Great Spotted Woodpecker leaving the trees of the park heading out east, and the Sparrowhawk again. The view north and east from our footy location is exceptional but we didn't see anything moving through.
Where to next? In the morning a trip to foreign lands for a week - Wales! with a couple or three target species to try to catch up with Monika on our Year List Challenge/Race/bit of fun.
In the meantime let us know if it all went to plan or eneded up being a bit different in your outback today.


Monika said...

I love that first turnstone pic.

The gulls were so high you couldn't see them with the naked eye but you could still identify them?? Impressive!

I look forward to the reports from Wales.

Stu said...

Nice Turnstone pics: I've had the grand total of THREE so fat this season......

Amila Kanchana said...

Never seen a caterpillar performing such acrobatics. I wonder how it supports itself at that angle.