Thursday, 16 December 2010

More silhouetty nonsense

The Safari went out on Patch 1 armed with the bins again this morning in the hope that our mysterious silhouette had reappeared...we’ll find out what it is it if it kills us!!!
The Peregrine was there last night seen by the light from the streetlamps but this morning the face it was sat on was wet from the overnight rain. It was impossible to tell if the bird was still there, a small dark spot is much harder to see against a similarly dark background than the dry light background; chances are it will have moved around the back out of the rain and out of sight.
So how did we get on with the silhouette – was it there or was it not? Well, it might have been...we got in to thee park and carefully checked the tops of the trees on the far side of the butterfly zone, nothing...we quietly walked a bit further and checked again, nothing another few steps and b*gger we flushed something whose wings didn’t clatter and which didn’t call from the tree right above our head....damn!!!
So we walked round in the dark keeping an eye on the tops of the trees, nothing...until we got to the bottom of the hill. Here, scanning through the twigs and branches we found two sleeping Woodpigeons, their heads tucked under their wings. Whatever the silhouette is it isn’t one of these as they are tucked away deep in the ‘foliage’ or whatever you call bare branches and our mystery bird was sat right at the top of the tree at the very tip of the branch. A little later, back in the butterfly zone on the other side of the path we found a third Woodpigeon, this one was a little more exposed than the first two but still very different to the mystery thingy. Only one thing for it – take the bins again tomorrow!
No patch 2 early morning safari again today, not traffic induced misery this time but atrocious weather – yes we bottled out!
By mid morning the rain had stopped, the wind was much less strong and although the sun came out and skies were blue the temperature began to fall, almost as quickly as the Land Rover’s fuel gauge did yesterday morning, as our forecast cold snap rolled in. Snow over the weekend?...Maybe, but more likely just more sub-zero temperatures here. This December is already averaging 4°C cooler than last year’s ‘perfectly normal’ December.
By the time our it was time for our lunchtime safari the temperature had dropped from the ‘warm’ early morning 8°C to just 3°C. The northerly snow laden breeze made it feel colder than that and we had the wrong gloves on...obviously lulled into a false sense of security by the ‘warmth’ earlier on. We spent just enough time out there to count the waders on down on the tide line. There seemed to be a frenzy going on along a short length of beach with plenty of gulls squabbling for the best bits. Wader numbers weren’t anything special, 34 Sanderlings and four Dunlins for the little stuff with 9 Redshanks and a somewhat surprising Turnstone, surprising in that this was right out on the open beach well away from the outfall pipe and at low tide so well away from the sea wall too.
A swiftish check through the gulls didn’t give us anything special. One, a large and very aggressive Herring Gull, kept stealing what the others had found; leaping in with outstretched ‘albatross’ wings which showed a long all white tip to P10 along with a substantial mirror on P9 with reduced head streaking too, possibly a Scandinavian visitor? Sadly far too distant in the dull conditions and the bird too erratic to even contemplate getting a pic for the serious Laridophiles to mull over but looked like the one shown here dated 14th Feb 2009.
Could we start a new trend in gull nomenclature by calling argentatus Herring Gulls 'Viking Gulls'; sounds good don’t you think?
Then the snow came down.
Where to next? I see a little silhouetto of a...
Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango...
In the meantime let us know how thick the snow is likely to lie in your outback.
Might be a pic of something if there's blue sky and sunshine'll be lucky!


Warren Baker said...

Come on Dave sort it out, I want to know what it is!! Can you sneak up in a different direction ? :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Probably end up being a collared dove Warren;)
Its a one way street unfortunately just have to look more carefully all around tomorrow.