Sunday, 14 November 2010

Getting colder, nah otter n otter!

The Safari went out last night and heard a couple of Redwings going over in the dark.
Back at Base Camp we have a bone to pick with a leading 'posh'(ish)supermarket. If we are supposed to be creating less waste why oh why are you giving us more pointless packaging and why on earth do half a dozen spuds need to be presented in a plastic tray? What is going on? Ahh but is OK as the tray says it is made of 50% post consumer recycled material, doesn't say where the other 50% comes from. And supposedly being PET it should be recyclable again - but we still can't fathom out why we need it, or is it just something to do with all those pop and water bottles we send for recycling? Actually we don't really need those either, managed quite well 'in the old days' without those - if you needed a drink when out you had to wait til you got home or take a flask...those were the days!
We went out this morning and got a very useful year tick in the form of a Grey Phalarope (187) which has pitched in after the storms on what is essentially a big puddle in the corner of a field. It was doing what phalaropes do best and was making us feel dizzy.

The field is on the edge of the moss which is as flat as flat gets and has little or no cover. The Phalalrope finder turner up with his wife and kids. As we were having a chat one of the birders decided he needed a leak - the only cover was the car. As the leaky gent turned he realised there were people on the car - what a priceless look of embarrassment on his face!
Next was a short drive for a Waxwing or two. Good job we have sat-nav as we visited a corner of Preston we never knew existed never mind knew how to reach.
A few birders were already present and walking up to them we immediately heard the distinctive shrill trilling call. They were flighty moving from tree to tree and staying up in the tops of the trees making getting a decent pic in the dull rainy coditions just a bit tricky. Out of nearly 200 shots these few are about the best - shame cos they are special little chaps. We counted 22 Waxwings (188) at one time then headed off to try to find 40 more near the university.

Love the wind caught crest on this one.

We could find the large flock and as we used to live near here we checked out a whole A-Z worth of side streets where we knew there were Rowan and other berry bearing trees. It a wonder we didn't get pulled for kerb crawling going up and down the student quarter peering out of the windscreen and side windows at anythig that moved at a very slow speed, now we know what the transfer gears on Land Rovers are for - urban Waxwing spotting!

Double thanks to ZH for the heads up yesterday.

After the disappointment of not finding this large flock we set off for the nature reserve where we learnt that TWO Otters had been showing for an hour and half this morning - holy wow!!! On arrival the first bird we saw was a very tidy White Wagtail which was totally unexpected, we thought they'd all have moved through by now.

We soon copped all the normal stuff and set off to have a look to see if there were any Tree Sparrows hanging around, six but not the ringed one today. The Coal Tit was very active today. Next up was the Long Eared Owl, or three of them, no wait the Ranger found a fourth - not great views as they were in the depths of a bush but nice all the same.

Movimg back to the hide one of the junior Rangers found the first year Scaup again, first time it has been reported since last weekend but present all that time probably. We had no success with either the Bittern or the Otters though.

We went to the top end of the reserve to watch the Starlings come and they didn't disappoint although there were probably only about 15000 this evening. A Buzzard and at least three Sparrowhawks were in attendance. we mentioned the Scaup to the assembled crowd and within a millisecond there were two pairs of very clean heals showing and the banging of car doors - what happened to them? Two of the biggest local listing lads hadn't had scaup yet this year which goes to show how scarce they have become in this area. It took them a while but they both scored in the gathering gloom of dusk...phew they might have thought we were being a bit stringy.

A grand day out and after Preston it din't rain which made a refreshing change.

After the storm we reported seeing the skua and shearwater, recent news in is that a few Manx Shearwaters have been seen in other parts but none of the other species, and all three main skuas so we are none the wiser on that one.

Where to next? Back to the Patches with a vengeance...but horribly busy with that nasty work stuff this week.

In the meantime let us know what's chomping the berries in your outback.


Craig said...

Hi Dave, TWO OTTERS...thats fantastic news.

best wishes,

Stu said...

Nice Waxwing/Paharalope finds!

If you're worried about excess packaging you should see Japan...............

Anonymous said...

A good day was had then Dave. Nice one.

PS : the only thing chomping berries round here are Blackbirds.

Warren Baker said...

Two more year birds then Dave, well done :-)

I am now the only blogger without a Waxwing sighting Bah!

cliff said...

Excellent news re the two otters, I did wonder if there could be more than one of them. That footage of the Phalarope twirling around is brilliant :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Cliff word on the street from people with experience is even more remarkable - it now seems 'likely' that it is a female with a kit - in which case it the kit was born here as the females don't bring late born young out of hiding until about now - how mad is that!!! Need to get some good looks at them prferably on terra firma!

cliff said...

Remarkable indeed, it only seems two minutes ago since a mysterious pawprint was found, since then developments/sightings have just kept on coming - work permitting I may try & nip down at dusk tomorrow for the roost & keep my eyes peeled for a glimpse of the "otters".

Monika said...

Excess packaging is a pet peeve of mine too, but those potatoes in a plastic tray is one of the worst I have seen!!

Congrats on the year ticks!