The safari overslept on what was potentially going to be one of the best birding mornings of the decade or even longer! Wifey had taken Frank out early doors so all we had to do was get up an hour later and get out on site for first light. But we eventually surfaced from our pit and promptly panicked! Damn damn and triple damn. So we kept an eye out of the kitchen window whilst making breakfast. The door was open too but it's hard to hear the 'seep seep' of Meadow Pipits above the sizzle of bacon and mushrooms.
Incidentally the bacon was, quoting from the pack, 'smoked over real Oak chips to develop a fuller flavour'. Anyone ever come across false Oak chips? The label also stated there would be approximately six rashers in the pack...can butchers not count accurately to six? Must be due to all those fingers they've lopped off during their careers!
Reading in last night's Blogosphere Warren's comment was particularly galling as combining the Law of Probability with Sod's Law (aka Murphy's Law for the more sensitive) he was no doubt correct!
Last night's late night safari gave us excellent view of the Fox. As we sat quietly it walked towards us and probably would have passed within a few yards of us if Frank hadn't let out an enormous woof as it approached. As you can imagine it turned tail and fled into Magpie Wood. A Woodcock flew low across the little green and into the 'wood' hopefully not into the jaws of the Fox.
Redwings were going over at the rate of three or four a minute for the half hour we were out, the sky must have been full of them.
Back to this morning, despite looking out of the kitchen window and trying to listen through the open doors only a Robin was heard - nothing seemed to be moving. We ate our bacon butty looking out of the bedroom window - nothing. Was the lack of birds to do with the clear blue sky or had we just got up too late?
Disappointingly we noticed that yet another neighbour has cut down all the trees in his garden. We are become more and more an isolated patch of tiny habitat in a sea of bricks and concrete and being disconnected we are likely to lose many of the species that have been visiting in the past.
We went to the nature reserve where the first bird heard was a Cetti's Warbler.
A Cormorant went east at height and we heard only our second Goldcrest of the year in the tall trees by one of the hides. The usual five species of Larids were sat on the water, with plenty of Common Gulls being most notable. Persistent scanning failed to find a sixth species. Early on a team from OPAL were on the water and duck numbers were consequently down. all we could see were about 75 Teal and a handful of Gadwall.
The sun brought out the inverts and we had a couple of Peacock butterflies, a good number of Migrant Hawker and just two Common Darter dragonflies. A distant Buzzard hovered over the woods across the fields. We had another Cetti's Warbler singing at the top end.
Frank got hot and needed an 'illegal' dip to cool off but he did us a great favour by flushing a Jack Snipe (183) from the usual place - if you know the site you'll know where the 'usual site' is if you don't all that is meaningless! 13 Common Snipe was a decent count in this day and age, gone, it would seem, are the triple figure counts of the early 90s. A couple of Reed Buntings dropped into the reeds and we heard an unseen Long Tailed Tit flock moving through the scrub.
The hide was revisited and we saw a nice male Kestrel. By now the Teal numbers had recovered to the 200 mark and with them FB pulled out a sleeping Garganey.
As we were leaving two car loads turned up looking for the Starling roost they'd heard about on Autumnwatch but it's a bit early yet as peak numbers haven't built up yet.
The first group had a Redwing fly over - the first we've seen this autumn. They also had a Blackbird which tied the numbers of Blackbirds for the day with that of Cetti's Warblers - two of each!
The second group had no such luck, they tried to turn their car round on the wet grass and got badly bogged - we spent the last five minutes of our safari pulling them out with the Land Rover - least we could do as it's our 'fault' they turned up in the first place, although our comment on the Autumnwatch message board was about the Starling roost at the pier not the mere!
Where to next? Back to the Patches.
In the meantime let us know what's in the bog in your outback.
Sorry no pics today think our hands were too full with scopes, dog leads etc and there wasn't really too much to point the lens at. Tomorrow maybe...