Friday, 31 December 2010

Bonus safari but still no Smew

The Safari was out well before dawn again this morning and straight away we were into Robins. They were singing and 'tic'ing in the light from the street lamps - 13 in all we counted. several Blackbirds 'clacked' as they awoke from their slumbers and there were at least 40 Magpies in the roost but they were very skittish being half awake and almost alert at this time of the morning.
Near Magpie Wood the path drops down a bit of a hill and as we walk by we can see in to the bottom garden over their wall - they have every conceivable type of bird food on offer, we'll have to have a wander past during daylight hours and see what they have visiting, Base Camp is 'remote' from habitat but being on the new estate this garden makes Base Camp look well connected.
After a quick cuppa we were 'allowed' to go and twitch the Smew again provided we picked some things on the way back. It's along time since we set off on a twitch while it was still dark, in fact it was barely light when we arrived at the river. First up we had a Heron and best (or second or third best) bird in the book - a Moorhen.
Goldeneyes were all along the river with top counts of three males and eight females. The nearest we got to the Smew was another sawbill, a Goosander. We counted everything that moved, five drake and two duck Mallards were all that were on the water until four Canada Geese landed. A pair of Grey Lag Geese flew over as did four Cormorants.
We gave it a good hour before having a quick look on the still frozen wetland reserve next door. Here we did get a year tick, mammal number 15 - three Roe Deers, we thought we'd somehow managed to dip these for 2010!
They skipped across the access road right in front of a 'Pedestrian Crossing' sign and went up the bank opposite. Then they started walking along the top of the bank towards us. Despite the poor light they were at least getting closer. When the weren't looking at us we dropped to our knees in front of a fence post and waited, hardly daring to breath. If they continued on along the top of the bank they would end up a frame filling 20 yards away. They didn't get that far - two idiots with three dogs running everywhere through the closed nature reserve flushed them with only a few yards to go...plonkers...then they had the audacity to ask if I'd seen the deer...wish we'd had the audacity to shoot them point blank between the eyes and not with the camera!
After the 'Pies' bridge graffiti the other day we spotted this on one of the motorway bridge piers.

It wasn't me - honest...not that brave or stupid to wade/swim/float/sail/paddle across that wide, deep and fast moving bit of the river.
Before our chores we just had time to drop in on the goose flock which holds the 'Tundra' Bean Geese and the Eurasian White Fronted Geese. En route two Buzzards were spotted in roadside fields and a flock of about 300 Pink Footed Geese flew over us.
We bumped in to PS putting seed out for 'his' Tree Sparrows down the lane but the geeese weren't in the field on the far side of the railway line.
At lunchtime we had another full Patch 1 walk, the first in daylight for ages and on opening the front door we heard a Dunnock singing at full welly from the end of our street. The multi-feeder garden held nothing, at least Base Camp had had a couple of Greenfinches during the morning.
On the patch we got a minimum of ten Blackbirds, a few dog walkers in the park were keeping stuff moving around. Two Wrens gave a cat a severe scolding. A small flock of tits gave up a Coal Tit, nice! The a Sparrowhawk whazzed through the treetops scattering Woodpigeons and Collared Doves in all directions. At the top of the park a Mistle Thrush was perched in a dead Elm and was soon joined by its mate. The thrush theme continued with a Song Thrush at the Golden Triangle. This was after passing 'Feeder Heaven' which was again devoid of birds. The ledges were devoid of Peregrines too.
All in all not a bad day out on safari.
This brings our grand totals for 2010 to:-
British Isles - 192 (max distance from Base Camp, terrestrial 125 mile drive our weeek in Wales, sea voyage 150 miles two Fleetwood to Larne Cetacean surveys)
World - BI + Florida 237 but have we beaten Monika with that total? Fla sightings exclude European introduced species and American forms of European species already seen.
The Patches - on foot, 102
Mammals - 15, more Bottle Nosed Dolphins than Roe Deer and somehow missing Red Squirrel, Fallow Deer and American Mink.
Where to next? That just leaves 2011 to look forward to and all the new lists start in just a few hours time!
In the meantime best wishes and a happy, safe and healthy New Year to all our readers where-ever you are.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Dave and all the best for whatever lists you`re compiling.

Monika said...

Ah Dave, your Florida total edges me by 4!!!

My goal is 200 for 2011, how about you?

Happy New Year!

Stu said...

Happy 2011, hey I may go to Martonmere tomorrow. Perhaps........

cliff said...

More fine bridge photographs there Dave ;-)

Happy New Year to you & yours.

My New Year got off to a good start, with the only photos from a hour at the Mere being of your Bittern flying across in front of the FBC hide, happy days.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Cliff, I might do a Beginners Guide to British Bridges, the companion volume to my mate's classic from the early 80s The Complete Guide to British Bus Shelters which he came up with whilst being dragged kicking and screaming out of the pub to twitch a few rare orchids.

Stu...if you're going to Marton Mere give me call on my wk mobile 07796994916 and I let you know if I can get out and show you where the owls are.

All the best