Friday, 26 November 2010

Deffo the wrong gloves!

The Safari spied the Peregrine leaving its roost as we drove up the hill on the way to work, if we’d have left Base Camp a fraction later it would have flown directly overhead. There was nothing else to report from Patch1 other than it was seriously cold; sub-zero minus freezing temperatures!
By the time we’d got to Patch 2 the sun was out but it was still a tad on the cool side. Immediately we noticed the gull-fest on the beach but as the sea was flat calm we had a look across that first. Maybe we should have gone straight into the gulls as there was little to see at sea; a few small flocks of distant Common Scoters and that was it.
So we settled into the stuff on the beach which were enjoying a hearty breakfast of the plethora of shellfish and Starfish down by the low water mark. Casually looking through the gulls we noted more than a few Redshank so decided a proper wader count was in order before giving the gulls a serious going over. Did you spot the Redshank in the pic?
Oystercatchers numbered 121 with ‘a few more than plenty’ further to the south beyond our boundary. Redshanks came in at a respectable 76, among them, skittering around on the edge of a runnel, was our lost and lonely Dunlin. Strung out all along the tide’s edge we counted 84 Sanderlings and with them was bird of the morning; a single Grey Plover. Meanwhile a dozen Turnstones pecked around the in seaweed on the wall. We are seriously hoping for a Purple Sandpiper down here on day soon, particularly as two have turned up at Rossall Point only a few miles up the road and there are more at Walney and Hilbre Islands at either end of the bay - don’t see why they don’t take advantage of the wall with its shelter and feeding opportunities then there’s the Mussel covered outfall pipe for them to explore too.
All this accurate wader counting took longer than anticipated. We started to give the gulls a grilling but had to give up due to freezing thumbs, crikey it was cold, still only -2°C in the sun, and the gentle breeze brought the temperature on exposed flesh down further. We’d picked up the wrong gloves when we left Base Camp grabbing the fingerless ones instead of the thick winter ones – a bad mistake which resulted in the gulls being abandoned less than a quarter of the way through them...what a wimp!
We dared to brave the cold at lunchtime with the temperature a balmy 3°C and the sun giving us a tiny bit of heat it was almost bearable. Trouble is the wind was coming from the shady side and that poor exposed thumb was once again succumbing to the cold. (Once had proper frost nip while out birding in the 70s on the Alt estuary when a couple of our fingers froze to our bins for a while – extremely painful when we got back home and they started to thaw out). The digital mercury reached the giddy heights of 4°C later in the afternoon; the average maximum daily temperature for November here is a scorching 9.75°C.
So was all the pain and suffering worth it, in a word an emphatic ‘no’ (lordy only knows what we’ll be like when it gets properly cold in the New Year, but we might be in the habit of picking up the right pair of gloves by then though). It was absolute birding tosh, barely a gull in sight and if it wasn’t for a few Cormorants and distant flights of Common Scoters there would have been nothing at all! Where has everything gone?
Tomorrow ‘Pool are playing a re-run of the famous 1953 ‘Stanley Matthews’ FA Cup Final in which they beat Bolton Wanderers 4 -3 with a late nice if we could get a win tomorrow although Bolton are flying high at the moment and enjoying a great start to a their 2010/11 campaign. At the end of the 52/53 season Blackpool finished 7th and Bolton 14th.
‘Pool too are enjoying than excellent start to a season not having been in the top flight for so long; with just over a third of the season played they have almost half the points required to avoid relegation – keep it up lads. A win would take them to over that all important half way mark, just a draw would keep them on course for a decent mid-table place next May. Unfortunately key goal scorer Marlon Harewood will be out for a while due to a hamstring injury, just have to leave it to DJ Campbell to put a Stan Mortensen style hat-trick in won’t they!Where to next? That Iceland Gull is in our sights, if we can get out of Christmas shopping that it is!
Just in case you didn’t know, and we doubt if you did, tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day as a counter to the blatant consumerism that is the cause of all that is wrong and unsustainable with our society. Rest assured the Safari will be keeping the wallet well and truly pocketed – so what’s new you ask!
In the meantime let us know if it’s a bit nippy in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Was indeed 'nippy' here Dave. Full fingered gloves were called for by 15:00hrs.

cliff said...

Redshank spotted front right I believe.
Nice one with the Grey Plover, I've never seen one of those, although I have got a Grey Pullover.
As for the gloves, I'm a real softy, I'll be at the Mere in the morning wearing my fingerless gloves, with a pair of wooly gloves over the top of them - brrrr.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Might call in on the way back from the Iceland Gull, Cliff...complete with fully fingered gloves could even get the mountaineering mitts out...where'd I out that ice-axe?


Stu said...

My first ever live game was Blackpool 3-1 Carlisle back in the late 70's. Mickey Walsh got a hat-trick........

I was actually supporting Carlisle (the town where I was born) although my parents are originally from Blackpool.