Thursday, 23 December 2010

Managed an hour or two

The Safari was hoping for a late lie in but after taking Frank round a very quiet patch 1 we had to go and get a load of pre cut and pre split wood, so we ened up at the yard still in the pitch black. Many thanks to PM and his team for helping keep us warm this winter - this little lot should last a week or two.

And there's more...

Lovely stuff, the inside of the Land Rover has a warm pleasntly rustic woody scent to it now - far better than those plastic pine tree air freshener things people hang from their rear view mirrors. why do they asy that 'rear view mirror'? You're hardly likely to use a mirror to look forwards are you?
We put more seed out and a few more apples then had a look at the pond - looks like our Coot needs his shield and eye repainting in the spring - if he ever thaws out.
The waterfall is a dodder-culture worthy of an Swedish ice hotel!
Then we had a call from CR saying he'd been on the nature reserve and there were over 1000 Fieldfares! Click on his website cos his Fieldfare pics are likely to be an order of magnitude better than quite good. While we were chatting a Kestrel and a Mistle Thrush flew over - he'll have to call more often the birdings good at base Camp when he's on the phone!
We were about to set off anyway as the Rangers had told us the Ring Necked Duck had reappeared, assuming it is the same one as last January. So without further ado we loaded the dog and optics in to the Land Rover and set sail...
Wow the place was seething with Fieldfares and Blackbirds, wouldn't like to say how many of each but certainly more Fieldfares than we've ever seen in one place before!
Looking east down the frozen mere... From the little hide we had a look at the gulls but there was nowt special so we had a look at the Ring Necked Duck - took a couple of pics, all rubish and the best one, full side on showing white shoulder stripe and peaked crown was the worst of the lot! Plenty of Wigeon and Shoveler and a lot of Teal were on the small patch of unfrozen water. A Buzzard came in and was mobbed by a stunningly bright male Kestrel, while a Sparrowhawk eyed up its options from the cover of a distant Willow tree.
Five Whooper Swans dropped in for a while, their trumpeting being louder than the calls of the several hunded Pink Footed Geese in the thawed field just to the east of the reserve. While we were surveying the scene a Cetti's Warbler began calling to our left - what on earth do they find to eat in the frozen reedbeds, and if they can why didn't they colonise years ago - have they undergone some sort of cold temperature adaptation mutation?
With cold setting in the fingers and toes we called it a day and walked back keeping an eye ion thee far reede bed in case a Bittern should pop out - it/they didn't. Nor did we see any one the many Water Rails (15+ seen today) (one of which caught and ate a Wren yesterday! - needs must when the Devil drives eh), none of the many Woodcock on site showed either but there was no way we were going off piste to try to see them, dfar better to let them lie up and conserve their energy. We did see a well fed Fox able along the edge of the reed bed, it looked to be aiming for the ducks but they weren't at all bothered by it and it ignored them and slunk in to the reeds.
All in all a very pleasant couple of hours, could have done with more time but fingers and toes might have put in formal complaints! Unlikely to be out tomorrow so where-ever you are have a marvelous winter festival...bring on the summer solstice!
Where to next? Wedding anniversary tomorrow followed by a full day's EATING.
In the meantime let us know what's put in a reappearance in your outback.


Craig said...

Hi Dave....hope you have a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

all the best,

cliff said...

Glad the Fieldfare were still around in good numbers for you Dave, they made for quite a spectacle & I've never seen them in anything like those numbers before.
15 Water rails, crikey, I thought I'd done well seeing 6 different birds. It's nice to see them out in the open, but knowing they're only showing so well because they're so desperate for food is a concern, anyhow I emptied out the bag out food I'd taken along for them.

Wedding anniversary on Xmas eve, genius, you're never likely to forget it & can get away with buying a joint "Happy Anniversary & Xmas" present, think of the savings ;-)

Have a good Xmas all.


Warren Baker said...

Hi Dave,
Enjoyed the post today, dosn't that cold sting the fingers !

Have a great day tomorrow mate!