Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A walk on the weird side

The Safari was relieved to open the front door on dryness, what a joy after the horrendously wet night we had. So what if anything was new. First up was the ol' Peregrine snoozing in the pre-dawn on its ledge; later back at Base Camp we had a peek through the bedroom curtains and saw it was still there. Can’t quite get over the fact that we can look out of a suburban window and the first bird we see is a Peregrine – an honour and a privilege and a sign that perhaps not all is wrong with the world.
Anything else about on this breezy morning? Well yes actually and strange stuff to. A snatch of distant song caught amongst the noise of the nearby traffic and sounds of the wind whistling through the trees and across the rooftops made us stop and listen. After a few minutes it was quiet enough to make out the song of a Mistle Thrush coming from the far side of the school playing field. Very interesting and totally unexpected. Perhaps even more unexpected after the night we just had was a very optomistic Garden Cross Spider sitting in the middle of a huge, and quite exposed, web. Dunno where she thought the flying bugs were going to come from.
Then over towards Magpie Wood we had a smallish bird sitting slap-bang in the middle of the road, a Redwing. Hadn’t heard any going over but this one brought a slight twist to the expression ‘grounded migrant’. It appeared to be fairly tame as it only hopped a few hops away from us. A Pyracantha bush was nearby behind a parked car so we took advantage of the ‘cover’ and picked a few berries and threw them in its direction whilst getting the camera out of the pocket. It was still very dark for pics but we thought if we could get near enough we might just get something worth showing you. No use, it saw the berries decided it didn’t want them and flew right over our left shoulder, nearly had an eye out, and in to Magpie Wood.
A fascinating morning!
Out on Patch 2 the sea was rough and tumbling. Scattered about were the usual Common Scoters, about a hundred or so today. Two Great Black Backed Gulls wheeled around in the middle distance and a solitary Shelduck (didn’t forget it today like we did a week or so ago) flew south, probably heading for the slightly more sheltered feeding grounds in the estuary.
With the tide being full and the strong wind we called it a day when large volumes of spray from the waves started splashing over the sea wall and soaking us.
While we have no objection to other people having fun and enjoying themselves why does it often result in the disturbance of wildlife?
Patch 2 at lunchtime was frustrating. The beach had a good number of gulls and several waders on it until these people arrived, the dog walker disturbed the three Redshanks, three Sanderlings and eight Turnstones, the bait digger went on to flush the 23 Oystercatchers and the kite surfer had totally emptied the section of beach (right on the edge of an SPA for wintering waders no less). That was the sum total of this lunchtime’s safari.

Then it started chucking it down...again...

It’s true you learn something new everyday and we are grateful to a certain message board for the following info about Palmate Newts we didn’t know. On the female the under tail fin is orange, the male has a bluey tinge. We didn’t even know they had an undertail fin! Of course we were aware that in the breeding season the male has black webbed feet which makes it even easy to sex them at that time of year. Palmate Newts aren’t a species we come across too often being very scarce in this area, only a couple or so records in the last 20+ years.
Where to next? Even more of the wet and windy with something a little different later on tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who’s disturbing what in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Did you think the Redwing would bring the Berries back to you then Dave :-)

Stick with Frank mate :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

They didn't use you're pic Warren, sorry. Too late to 'hold the back page'! Do you want me to delete it off my files?