Monday, 13 December 2010

Lead like or Mouse ate my chainsaw – shock horror...

The Safari has been plummeting like a lead balloon on the Fatbirder rankings of late – are you lot out there totally fed up with hearing about 11 Oystercatchers, the odd Sanderling and a Robin or two...but come on; what could possibly be more exciting and entertaining than a chainsaw eating mouse?
Not to worry here we go again with the usual Oystercatcher et al drivel...Patch 1 was a fairly noisy affair long before dawn this morning with several Robins and Blackbirds making their presence felt although we stood no chance of seeing any of them. No sign of the Peregrine on the roosting ledge after it being there in the middle of the afternoon yesterday.
This morning on Patch 2 the sea was glass calm, the calmest it’s been for a long time. So calm you could see small blobs of seaweed floating about a mile offshore. It was desperately grey and ethereal out there. The flocks of Common Scoter looked as though they were hovering in the cloud rather than floating on the water; the calm conditions gave us the opportunity to see how many there are actually out there, about 500 is what we guestimated, more than there has been for a while. We were interrupted in our trawl through the scoters by several flights of Cormorants heading out to the north west, 137 of them in total, with them was a small flock of five Shelducks. Also on the sea were three Great Crested Grebes but no Red Throated Divers today. Best bird on the sea was a male Goldeneye feeding close to the end of the outfall pipe.
The beach was fortunately devoid of people but disappointingly empty of birds too. There were very few gulls knockin about, a Great Black Back was the only one of any note, and hardly a wader to be seen either. A smattering of uncounted Oystercatchers probably numbered no more than two dozen, while counts of just eight Sanderlings and three Redshanks were extremely poor by recent standards. A lone Grey Plover still pecked at invisible fragments of food on the beach, the only highlight in a very poor session of beachwatching.
Lunchtime was a little different but no better. The tide was almost in and the beach was disturbed so nothing there. At sea it wasn't as calm but we could see that most of the Common Scoters were still out there. No massive Cormorant feeding frenzy either but there were two very distant feeding flocks one of which had around 20 Great Black backed Gulls in attendance. New in were 15 Red Throated Divers scattered here and there. Still no sign of a goody and although the conditions were excellent there were no mammals.
Later we had a teaching session at the college in the north of town, close enough to twitch the Purple Sandpipers once class was over. We arrived as the light was fading and had about a 3/4 mile walk after parking at the wrong end of the prom. After what seemed like an age we spotted a bloke stood at the head of the large breakwater holding up a pair of bins. We reached him and he very generously let us hop up next to him on the rocks and he pointed out the target in the fading light,; fading light! it was almost pitch dark by now. Not the best view of Purple Sandpipers we've ever had but two in the bag for the year (190). Two weeks to get 10 - not a snowball's chance in hell!!!
Where to next? Please let there be a Caspo or a Ring Billed on the beach tomorrow...
In the meantime let us know what you've twitched after dark in your outback.


Monika said...

Still 15 better than you projected at the beginning of the year, no shame in that!

I'm not sure what I'll project for next year's list. Everything got skewed with my trip to Alaska this year. 200 will probably be my goal next year. Are you going to keep a year list again?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

With 190 under the belt I'll probably have that as next year's target and see how we get on. Will send you my full 2010 list early in the New Year.