Wednesday, 22 September 2010


The safari was half asleep on Patch 1 this morning and didn’t get round to doing a count of the usual stuff. Very remiss of us, certainly nothing out of the ordinary in there and although conditions looked good there was no sign of any passage going on overhead.
At Base Camp we were putting the composting out and there was sonme noisy autumnal Dunnock action going on - the first we've heard in the garden for a while.
Driving into work we could see that the sea had calmed down considerably and there was hardly a white horse to be seen so we couldn’t wait to get out on Patch 2 and give the sea a good scan. We got out on patch 2 alright and heard the fishermen talking about the numbers of Bass that have been caught along the coast this week, things are looking up, if there’s Bass there must be smaller fish and if there are plenty of fish there could well be some Harbour Porpoises. Time to look for those tiny fins. But we never got a chance to scan the sea. All along the tide line was a string of Sanderlings…and a long string at that! We started counting and soon realised there were a fair few more than we thought, we got past 1500, with just six Dunlin and a very welcome diminutive Little Stint (179, 99) scuttling around between their paler cousins, don’t ever recall seeing one of those on a beach before. A jogger flushed them all – Bally typical….arrrrggghhhh…most flew off to the south and when they settled down again there didn’t seem to be any fewer! We counted what was in front of us and got another 250 or so, just one Dunlin in this flock.
Then looking further to the north as the tide was rising squeezing the beach we could see even more stretched out all along the water’s edge as far as we could see with a couple of dense flocks too. Altogether probably well in excess of 2000 of them! Usually we think 50 is a good count on Patch 2!
How many do you estimate are on this shot? It's a small portion of the 'second' post-jogger flock.
On the sea there were only a few Common Scoters most of them close enough to be able to see the yellow on the male’s bills.
Overhead migration was again disappointing – as we were counting the Sanderlings we heard only three Meadow Pipits going past.
All was quiet on the lunchtime session, the ebbing tide had not yet dropped beyond the sea wall so there was no beach for Sanderlings or anything else to forage along. Out at sea the Common Scoters had drifted to some distance or were flying around in their usual 'not sure where we want to be' fashion.
We spoke to a couple of retired fishermen who hadn’t had any luck. This time they blamed their lack of success squarely at the door of the large trawlers beyond the horizon and the European Union that lets them fish there. They hadn’t seen the Grey Seal bottling, admittedly it was several hundred yards offshore, if they had no doubt they would be calling for a cull.
Did anyone watch Lost Land of the Tiger last night (concluding episode tonight) (for non-UKers keep an eye on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery etc). We are deffo going to put Frank forward as a stunt double for Bruiser. If Bruiser can find Tigers and Clouded Leopard doo-doo we certain Frank could too, he has no problem finding Hedgehogs, Foxes, Domestic Cats etc – thinks they’re all his bestest friends and as for doo-doo – he never has any trouble sniffing that out...of any species!!!
Where to next? Bhutan?
In the meantime let us know what’s been sniffing around in your outback.


Monika said...

I looked up little stint to see if it's one of the species we see over here. For a moment I thought it was one of our least sandpiper - one is Calidris minutilla and the other Calidris minuta.

As for skuas vs. jaegers I'm not sure why we call them something different over here. The term jaeger is derived from the German word for hunter, but that doesn't seem very fitting because they're pirates more than anything else!

Craig said...
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Craig said...

Hi Dave,
I bet you would guess i watched "Lost Land of the Tiger" LOL
Yes, its on Wednesday but the concluding episode is on Thursday.
Talking of tigers....Prime Minister Mr Putin will be hosting the "World Tiger Summit" in November now instead of September.
Thankfully Mr Putin as managed to persuade the world leaders from the 13 countries where tigers inhabit to attend the conference.
Lets hope Mr Putin can encourage them all to take some positive action....(i think its the tigers last chance).

best wishes,