Saturday, 27 November 2010

More icy than Iceland

The Safari was out pre-dawn with Frank this morning and we got a fair bit. A very early rising Wren was flitting about in a thick Hawthorn, this cold early bird was certainly hoping to catch the worm. Next Frank spotted a Fox out in the open on the lawn at the sidde of Magpie Wood - well they can't half run!!! And so can Frank when the mood takes him, no chance of catching it as it dived into a dense Bramble thicket under the trees. A dawn Sparrowhawk made a decent early morning trio.
Then it was twitching time, not even time for a breakfast, it was that serious! We headed straight to the dock and pulled up by the, now famous, burger van. Nightmare - hardly a gull in sight and all those that were were Black Headed Gulls - had it gone? Possibly not half way down the dock, and it is massive (about 1/2 a mile long) there were more gulls and better still they were coming to bread - we had to investigate. Setting off a trot we discovered that these gulls were being attracted to another burger van by a small girl throwing chips for them. But thankfully we caught a glimpse of more gulls wheeling around at the far end - someone else was chucking food and they had TRIPODS - result. Leggin it as fast as we could we reached the first birder who very kindly let us have a look through his scope, what a lovely bird a first winter Iceland Gull (189) is. It was stood on the frozen water which had started to thaw a bit and it fell through which was cue for it to go. So off we all went haring after it back from whence we came. On the way a flock of about 50 Waxwings flew right over our heads...easily the most we've ever seen at one time.
It seemed like a long long way back to the start of the dock but it was worth it the Iceland Gull was on one of the pontoons tucking into a deceased Black Headed Gull, a victim of the cold perhaps.
It was just a bit distant for the big camera and the low sunlight back lighting it wasn't helping although it did give that hint of salmon pink to the primaries and tertials...ooohhh loverly. We tried digiscoping it but it had now become a bit more animated and started swimming about mostly going away from us. Out of about 50 swimming shot this one is the only one that is almost presentable.
After what seemed an age it hopped up out of the water and back on to one of the pontoons - where we cut its feet off! Who cares - what a little pink legged pearler.
Next stop was up to the north where a couple of Purple Sandpipers had been seen during the week. These are scarce along our stretch of coast and worth a look, it's far too many years since we last saw one here early 1990s if memory serves.
On route to the site we passed the lake which has held the Great Northern Diver for a while. Didn't see it as we drove past but we did get Fleetwood Birder on our day list as he got in to his FWAG wagon.
The prom was icy cold with an Arctic blast coming straight across the bay from the snow laden hills in the distance. We checked every groyne and every Turnstone. There were plenty of birds but there were also far too many dogs on the beach and they were constantly being flushed and not getting the opportunity to feed or rest - they must be right on their limits of survval in these conditions but we'd put a bet on the dog walkers going up in arms if they were to be resrticted from the beach - it's not as if there are no alternatives near by either - blissfully ignorant of their crimes no doubt but bloody-minded if someone were to try to stop them.
A Sparrowhawk zipped past trying to flush one of the tasty Meadow Pipits we'd just seen in the thin strip of dunes.
You name a wader and we had plenty of them - except Purple Sandpipers - couldn't find it/them unfortunately - and the mile walk back to the Land Rover against the wind was severely cold with the wind going right through our fleecy keks and wooly hat....bbbrrrrr....Out at sea we counted six Teal sitting just off the mudflats and 84 Eiders.
A quick look at the lake on the return journey produced a female type Red Breasted Merganser, a female Goldeneye and six Tufted Ducks but no Great Northern Diver, don't think it has been reported for a day or two now.
A lunchtime sunny walk around Patch 2 with Frank at lunchtime was still icy cold at just 0.5C, but pleasnat in the sun shelteredd from the breeze.
Here is last summer's Sparrowhawk's nest, taken from the path below it.
Where to next? Purposefully we didn't go looking for the two Firecrests this morning so they'll be on the agenda tomorrow. Might also try for the Waxwings we rudely ignored earlier today. Then there's the matter of the missing Purple Sandpipers.
We're on 189 for the year, be nice round numbers to have 190 by the end off the month, then could we get a further 10 in December - doubt it!
In the meantime 'Pool are 1 - 0 up approaching half time so we're gonna get a cuppa and eagerly await the second half. Pleeeaaaasssee don't chuck these three points away - go get another goal!...Sea...Sea...Seasiders!!!!
Let us know what the summat good your're hoping for tomorrow is.


Warren Baker said...

Icelandic gull. Nice find Dave, well, nicely twitched :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Twitched indeed Warren - really is about time I found something good enough for others to twitch...ome of Monika's GW Gulls would do very nicely, providded it stuck around long enough for others to get to grips with it.



Amila Kanchana said...

That tree,what a tangle of branches!