Thursday, 25 November 2010

Gull fest for starters

The Safari spotted the Peregrine late last night but it wasn’t there this morning perhaps having moved to the far side after the wind had swung round a bit. Nothing else of note other than Venus shining clear, big and bright in the cold pre-dawn sky (Saturn is up to the right of it at this time and should be easy to spot in the coming week).
At Patch 2 it was shortly after low tide and there had been an extensive Starfish wreck. Consequently we had a gi-normous number of gulls to work through. There weren’t too many Black Headed Gulls; they were easily outnumbered by Common Gulls which have become the second most numerous species on the beach. Four adult and two first winter Great Black Backed Gulls easily sliced the legs of the Starfish. One of the Herring Gulls had so many in its crop it was struggling to swallow the final one and stood for several minutes open beaked with a leg poking out. Searching through the thousand or more Herring Gulls, we found at least four northern type Herring Gulls with a slightly darker mantle and much white in the wing tip (although in the low sunshine and at that range slight differences in shades of pale grey are horrifically difficult to accurately discern).
Could really go one of Monika’s Glaucous Winged Gulls – there we’ve done it now; if one does happen to turn up no-one will ever believe us now we’ve mentioned it tongue-in-cheek, ohh errrr.
Waders were represented by 25 Sanderlings and about two dozen uncounted Redshanks most were in the gully by the wall with a handful at the tide’s edge. There was only a single Oystercatcher on the beach this morning.
We didn’t look at the sea on the pre-work safari.
Our lunchtime safari wasn’t a long protracted affair by any stretch of the imagination. After a few minutes we were chilled to the core in the brisk northerly breeze, the midday sun having little or no effect today.
The tide was up and the wind had chopped the sea in to veritable stampede of white horses. The bright sunlight gave rise to a very shimmery horizon and it was almost impossible viewing to the south due to the dazzle on the water. Not much was doing! So much so that the first two ‘birds’ we saw were pieces of driftwood. A flock of seven or eight Common Scoters rode the waves while they slept as did a small number of gulls.
Pick of a bad bunch was a flock of three Eiders flying south and that was about the size of it today. These were easily beaten by two Pink Footed Geese first heard then seen through the office window from our desk.
Where to next? More news of not a lot tomorrow probably.
In the meantime let us know if there was enough about for you to be able to fill a notebook in your outback.


Neil Spiers said...

Wow compared to my brief hour trek on the River Ribble close to Preston Docklands (Lunchtime work break)you saw a mass hahaha. For me it was 2 Redshanks, 4 BT Godwits, group of around 8 Widgeon, 4 Grey Herons, 5 Cormorants and low and behold my mate the Kingfisher, which am now happy to say isnt a passing through bird as was using the same spot to fish.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

A mass of not a lot! Nice one with the kingfisher - now you've sussed it we're looking forward to some pics.
The shelter behind the new tram station will be pretty sheltered if there's any east in the wind and an early morning full or rising tide should give good light and sea conditions for your scoters etc ie next week.



Neil Spiers said...

Been trying for pics for a while now... hope my 300mm lens will be successful with the Kingfisher. Plus may have to head down to Starr Gate over the weekend if am awake, then again high tide times will need to be checked!!