Friday, 10 December 2010

No consistency

The Safari woke this morning to the barmily balmy temperature of +7ºC. Just five short days ago it was a full 14 degrees colder at this time of the morning! Put into perspective if the weekend had been an ‘average’ December weekend with a night-time temperature hovering around +2ºC then this morning’s equivalent would have been 16ºC or, put another way, the same as a warm afternoon in May! What’s goin on? At least the wildlife will have some respite if it stays mild for a few more days.
Patch 1 gave us nothing in the ‘sultry heat’ until we got back to Base Camp and started hanging the laundry out, that’s when we heard the Peregrine start calling. still can’t get our head around the fact that in the darkness of a pre-dawn winter morning we can hear Peregrines in the suburbs, in fact it was the only bird recorded until a nearby Blackbird woke up and began clucking and chacking away.
It was still far too dark to nip over the road when we arrived at work so we had to do a bit while it lightened up enough. We gave it half an hour but it was still pretty dark under the glowering clouds.
It was low water and Mussel pickers had flushed everything from the favoured muddy sides to the outfall pipe, there was a Lugworm digger at our southern boundary too, so everything was neatly confined between these hominids.
Very few gulls were on the beach but one of them was an adult Lesser Black Back, same one as yesterday perhaps. We set about counting the waders and got some decent numbers; 247 Oystercatchers, 103 Sanderlings, 53 Redshanks, only eight Dunlins and one of yesterday’s Grey Plovers had done a runner as we only saw three today.
Out on the very choppy sea we noticed there were still quite a few Cormorants around and several small parties flew past southwards towards the sandbanks at the mouth of the estuary. How many there were was very difficult to judge in the large waves but we’d hazard a guess of at least 50. There was an increase in Great Black Backed Gulls though with a minimum of 20 counted. It must be worth their while to try to pinch the Cormorant’s fish but although they wheel around overhead when one comes up with something too big to swallow easily we not seen one them the steal yet.
Hanging the laundry out might well have been a mistake as we had to beat a hasty retreat from Patch 2 as a huge dark cloud started dumping rather a lot of heavy rain on us.
By now it had warmed up to a Saharan 8ºC but to be honest in the strong wind and the damp it didn’t feel any warmer than the sub-zeros we hopefully left behind now.
Out planned visit to the beach didn’t materialise as our friends from the Wildlife Trust were unfortunately derailed by the delays on their train journey so by the time they had arrived the tide had come in.
No lunchtime Patch 2 Cormorant counting safari either unfortunately. But now that the thaw has started our resident male Pied Wagtail has reappeared, he's probbably only been as far as the beach to feed during the hard weather as we often see them down by the dunes when we venture that far south.
Where to next? EBay to do some Christmas shoppin!!!
In the meantime let us know what’s to be heard when hanging out the laundry in your outback and enjoy these strangely neutrally bouyant stones in the dipping pond at work - cunning eh.


Warren Baker said...

Better not get used to this ''heatwave'' Dave. More cold next week!

cliff said...

Mild again this morning I see, I was hoping for a bright frosty morning so I could get out with the camera somewhere, still I expect our little feathered friends are much happier with this weather.