Thursday, 30 September 2010

Disgusting traditions

The Safari was reading in the blogosphere library yesterday and followed the link from Birds2Blog to RS’s writing about the recent foxhunt he witnessed not overly far from here. What a disgrace! Where were the Police? This too is a disgrace to our 'civilised' nation - and you thought Malta and Cyprus were bad.
Tell you what; we’re going to walk into a bank with a sawn-off shotgun, wearing a hooped jumper, a face mask and carrying a bag marked ‘swag’ – we should get off scot-free…well bank robbing is ‘traditional’ isn’t it – it’s happened as long as there have been banks to rob. Or is money more valuable than a life…probably!
Anyone up for some witch burning this weekend?
There are many cultural traditions which ought to be kept alive, we have a good mate who is into Morris Dancing but his troupe really struggle to attract new members; a worthy tradition that should be kept alive whereas the killing terrified and exhausted animals for fun is not a tradition that ought to see light of day in a so called civilised society. Maybe some/all of those involved should be taken to the Serengeti and put in front of a pack of Hunting Dogs and made to start running – see how they like it when the teeth are on the other foot.
Back to the almost civilised Patches; our Peregrine roosted on the water tower over night, perhaps it is now back for the winter...it’s ‘traditional’ for the pigeon fondlers to murder these too, so perhaps we shouldn’t be giving the location away.
Once again we lazily didn’t count the Robins but there were only a few to be heard in the park and just a single in the gardens along the main road so we assume that most have taken the opportunity of the clear moonlit skies to move on. Not too many Blackbirds about either and we’ve not yet heard the ‘tseep’ of Redwings overhead.
Sighting of the morning was Frank’s hi-vised backside disappearing into one of the thickets and a dog-Fox belting out of the other side…it’s traditional you know!!!
A pre-work stop at the bottom end of Patch 2 gave us very little on the sea and very little on the beach. All the action was overhead. Out at sea four Knot flew beneath two alba’ Wagtails. These two were the vanguard of around two dozen more we had in the quarter hour we were there. Also heard were some Chaffinches and fewer Meadow Pipits. Three finchy-type birds flew over calling – a call we didn’t recognise, our first thoughts were Lapland Buntings as there have been relatively high numbers all over the place. Back in the office we listened to Xeno-canto which proved they weren’t those, had a mooch about in X-c trying to find something that matched without success - so what were they?
No lunchtime visit today had to go and get some money back from a robbin' bank – is it ‘traditional’ that banks make mistakes, usually unlike Monopoly NOT in your favour! Fortunately the bank had done something that broke with tradition and already rectified their mistake by the time we got there, doesn’t happen often! Dohhhh…we could have had a bit of a safari down on Patch 2 after all.
A site visit to another office just down the road give us a calling Coal Tit which then shot out of the tree like a rocket and headed upwards and northwards...not the traditional directional at this time of year.
Where to next? The weekend is looming – whoo-hoo perhaps a more distant safari with a rather dapper mustachioed target in mind and one we dipped earlier might well put in a reappearance.
In the meantime let us know what the traditions are in your outback.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wet again

The Safari got a Patch 1 tick last night whilst playing footy with Frank. We've been doing this Patch counting caper since November 2008 and yesterday's Skylark, heading north, was the first one recorded in all that time. A bit weird when you consider that on a decent migration day at this time of year you can get triple figures going over the nature reserve which is only about a mile or so away as the Skylark flies - we must be in a bit of a migration backwater which might also explain the lack of species like Spotted and Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, Wood Warbler which you might expect to drop into the nicely wooded park from time to time; even Chiffchaffs which seem to be on the move at the moment appear to be giving us the miss.
No Patch 1 safari this morning, heavy rain had us bottling out of doing the full round, we just went far enough to note the continued absence of the Peregrines.
The torrential rain at normal Patch 2 pre-work time didn't bother us as we couldn't nip out on safari due to having to hack our way through the rush our traffic to another office for a meeting. By the time the meeting had finished and we were on the road again the rain had stopped. Cunningly we had stashed the scope in the back of the Land Rover ready for such an eventuality. Unfortunately there was little to see. The Red Throated Diver hadn't moved over night but the number of Common Scoters looked like it had just about doubled to around 200 mostly sat quietly on the rising tide.
No pics today - sorry
Where to next? Back to the normal patchy stuff tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know how wet it's been in your outback.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Just another grey autumnal day

The Safari’s early morning visit to Patch 1 revealed a bit of a shipping-out of Robins, barely any tic-ing away in the gardens as we walked up the hill and in the park in the dark there was substantially less vocalisation going on compared to yesterday although we didn’t do a proper count. A few early rising Blackbirds were evident but we couldn’t tell if this represented an overnight influx or not. No Wrens were heard this morning. No Redwings going overhead were heard but they can’t be too far away.
It would appear that we have put the mockers on the Peregrines as we haven’t seen them since we stated last week that they looked like it/they would be knockin around all winter now. Hmmmm…
Interestingly it seems that both Fleetwood Birder and the guys at Walney Bird Observatory saw the same skein of Pink Footed Geese as we saw yesterday morning but each of us put different numbers to it…we said 120, WBO 125 and FB 111 – so which of us was correct/closest?
Now early morning Patch 2 safari due to the time required to complete the Very Long March twice before starting work…might have to do something serious like take the scope home and then drive directly there and park up closer tomorrow.
After driving down to the far end of Patch 2 the rising tide at lunchtime gave us a good view of a Red Throated Diver with another sat with two dozen Common Scoters a hundred yards or so further out. That was about it other than odd small flocks of Common Scoters scattered about in the near to middle distance.
One of each of the gulls was present, one Black Headed Gull, one Herring Gull, one Lesser Black Backed Gull, one Great Black Backed Gull, although just before we left a young Herring Gull came in from the sea doubling their tally.
A flock of about two dozen Starlings was feeding on something interesting on the beach so we decided to risk shoes full of sand and investigate. A big lump of orange polystyrene and judging by the peck marks in it they’d eaten a fair proportion of it…silly birds! Once on the beach there was only one thing to do – check the strand lines for corpses – as you do! Fortunately none were found. We did, however, see two live Pied Wagtails rummaging around in the detritus probably trying to catch some of the multitude of small flies attracted to the washed-up seaweed. Whilst looking through the seaweed we found this mermaid’s purse…the eggcase of the Small Spotted Catshark (Lesser Spotted Dogfish) like the one we found on the cliffs at the weekend.
Then we had sighting of the day; the Safari's first Painted Lady of the year going south down the beach into the wind at a rate of knots - migrating?
Where to next? More of the same for the rest of the week.
In the meantime let us know if you’re having trouble getting into your outback

Monday, 27 September 2010

The smell of autumn

The Safari was out on Patch 1 well before dawn and the first thing we noticed was that there were a lot of Robin’s in the gardens near Base Camp. We’d counted 14 before we got to the park and in there we had at least another 20 – 34 Robins in less than half an hour’s walk. No sign of the Peregrines this morning and we were too early for the Blackbirds – they were only just beginning to wake up as we were leaving!
As the title suggests there was the distinctive scent of damp fallen leaves in the cool air – very autumnal.
We had a late start at work so went down to the cliffs to see if we could chance on any vis mig taking place and finally nail that Whinchat. Before we got across the road we saw two guys in the car park opposite kitted out with bins and cameras – too late to let them know they could have parked for free but then we realised they weren’t birders – they were far, far more sadder than us – bus & coach twitchers! They proceeded to take photos of all the coaches in the car park, a white one, a red one and one with squiggly patterns on it that was getting most of their attention – at least birding has some ‘useful’ function at finish if conservation can be described as useful – we suspect that the big money guys would argue that it is useless and gets in the way of their profits.
The gentle northerly had a hint of west in it and there was a bit of cloud cover…pretty good conditions. We got very little. Walking along the top of Chat Alley it was soon evident that it was Dodo-like.
A Grey Wagtail went over and a few Pied Wagtails blogged about, all those heard we managed to see today and were all ID’d as Pieds…no albas today.
A Red Throated Diver went north very close to the water’s edge but still a long way off the cliffs on the low tide. Hundreds of gulls congregated in a little bay between two sand bars and with them were two male Eiders. Whilst watching them three Swallows shot by northwards. Later, at Pipit Slab, we had two more, or were they two of the three, who ever they were they were having a great time swooping up and down the slade and skimming the face of Pipit Slab. Meadow Pipits were very thin on the ground – or in the air – only one seen and just two others heard.
A group of gulls were pecking intently at something on the beach so we went to investigate and found it was a Bass that the fishermen had caught and thrown back. It must be very close to the minimum size of 14 inches (360mm) nose to tip of the tail fin; our foot is a foot long. Perhaps we shoulda taken it home there’s a decent bit of meat on it! Lovely blue sheen to the back too.

Finally we had a decent flock of 120 Pink Footed Geese coming in from the North West.
Lunchtime was a nightmare – the tram track is now uncrossable and we had to walk a good deal further to access the sea wall. The Long March has become the Very Long March! For all that exercise there wasn’t much reward. About 100 Common Scoters hithered and thithered and a fair few sat still on the sea. We watched one of the many Cormorants wash down a large meal judging by the lump in its throat. A Red Throated Diver sat quietly on the water a few hundred yards offshore and a flock of six Eiders flew past, as did a solitary Sandwich Tern. Worryingly we watched three pink turtle-throttling balloons drift past on the rising tide, looks like someone has had balloon race/release as part of their party – really wish they wouldn’t do that they all end up as litter, many in the sea where they are a nasty hazard to marine wildlife.
Not too far offshore was a first winter Razorbill which we unsuccessfully tried to turn into the Puffin we didn’t see from the ferry on Saturday. Other invisible birds on the wish list that day were Sabine’s Gull, Long Tailed Skua, Pomerine Skua, Storm Petrel, Leach’s Petrel (not for the Safari, for our companion), Velvet Scoter, Sooty Shearwater (loads in the North sea), Balearic Shearwater, and maybe a white winged gull too considering the northerlies but they just didn’t appear…maybe we should have ‘gone Dutch’ – Ivory Billed Woodpecker drumming from the Poplars at the edge of the polders!

Where to next? Probably not as exciting as this tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what you didn't see in your outback today.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Whooo-hoooo

The Safari was out on the high seas on Saturday looking for cetaceans and seabirds for MARINElife
The morning was stunningly clear but cold. The rising tide roughened the water far more than this pic, looking straight over the bow to the hills of the Lake District, shows.
Looking back towards Blackpool from the outer limits of the River Wyre.
Over all we saw just about 4000 birds, most of which where associated with bait balls of fish or the massive raft of auks, mostly Guillemots. Unfortunately the ship moves too quickly to be able to scope through them for any Puffins. Plenty of Razorbills too but easily outnumbered by the Guillemots.
The biggest bait ball was tooo far from the ship to be counted but had many hundreds of birds, Kittiwakes and Gannets mostly, in attendance and was pulling in more from all angles including a Black Tern (181) which passed in front of the boat. The first on the starboard side had three - yes three - Great Skuas, as we passed the flock there could well have been another two but we couldn't be positive they weren't ones we'd already counted.
This bait ball also had the first of our Bottle Nosed Dolphins, three of them very difficult to see. We think they had herded the fish to the surface and were picking them off from underneath and barely breaking the surface. In the end we had another seven! Another two 'sightings' of 'something' could have also have been BNDs. We weren't expecting that many. No Harbour Porpoises as the chop was too high for us to see them unless they were about to get run over by us.
A good trip but standing and concentrating for a full eight hours is hard work!
This morning a bit of wood cutting in the garden at Base Camp had us spotting a couple of skeins of Pink Footed Geese going over, the largest one about 65 birds. A Jackdaw, a really scarce bird at Base Camp flew south, then the best sighting of the day, two Jays came from the east and turned south at the water tower.
Where to next? 'Just' Patchy stuff this week...in the rain looking at the forecast.
In the meantime let us know what's been swimming just beneath the surface in your outback.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Third time lucky indeed.

The Safari's late night Patch 1 walk didn't give us the Peregrine but we did find this juvenile Hedgehog which was dangerously near the road. As we approached it curled up into its ball. We took the picand waited...sure enough he began to unfurl, first a snuffly nose...
followed by his face
We gently picked him up and placed him under the bushes. Those spines are sharp! He was a bit on the light side so we hope he can feed up and reach the 600g weight necessary for a successful hibernation.
Patch 2 was forsaken in favour of Chat Alley at dawn. Nothing doing at all in the persistent drizzle. The notebook didn't even get the place and date written in it until nearly the very end when we took Frank for a play on the beach. It was here, over an hour after the start and the best part of three miles we heard our first migrants, a couple of unlocated Meadow Pipits, then a couple of 'alba' Wagtails, followed by four Meadow Pipits in-off. A few more Meadow Pipits were heard. Now did passage not start until 08.00, or did we miss it because the hood was up against the rain, or was it out of earshot over the beach? When we were thinking all was just about lost we saw the flit of a small bird on the sea wall with no white rump so not a Wheatear...hopes were up...but it was a Robin, almost definitely a migrant.
The only other thing of note was this 2/3 of a Lesser Spotted Dogfish (aka Small Spotted Catshark) found on the cliff top.
Did the gulls drop it there or has a fisherman just thrown it away on the way home?
Next it was off to the estuary to nail those Curlew sandpipers. With having a day off we could chose to be there at the right time of the tide and we were soon successful (180). As the tiide started to rise two Curlew Sands joined a throng of Redshanks roosting on the higher parts of the mud flats. Useless photographs - sorry - forgot the camera has an anti-shake mode and after a long spell of sunshine as soon as the camera left the pocket it went back behind thick clouds.



This second year Mediterranean Gull was one of three seen, an adult and a 1st winter being the other two.
Lapwings, Redshank and Golden Plovers were numerous.








We had a small number of Dunlin too but they were too lively to allow the decent comparison pic we would have liked.
Have a blimp at this very shaky bit of digi-vid - - it was a tad windy out there and chilly to in the brisk northerly.

video

Where to next? Cetacean surveying on the big boat over the weekend - see ya Sunday evening with news of Fin Whales, Orcas, Sooty Shearwaters and the rest...hahaha
In the meantime let us know if your outback produced the goods today.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Everything we own is wet!

The Safari went out after work yesterday on the trail of the local Curlew Sandpipers. Last week the tide was too high, this week the tide was too low and it was chuckin it down. We got back to Base Camp mud-up and soppin wet. Third time lucky?
On this morning’s Patch 1 walk it was only spitting but the trees were dripping with all the overnight rain and Frank got soaked with water and mud flicking up off his feet. House looks like the changing rooms at a rugby ground, there is mud everywhere! Been drier in the deepest depths of Borneo’s tropical rain forest.
The Peregrine was still tucked in behind the comms cables, looks like it/they will be knockin around all winter now.
Robins were again very evident and our final tally was a minimum of 22, so almost definitely some new ones have dropped in. Blackbirds are harder to count in the darkness as they much less vocal but we managed an increase to 11 or more. Three Wrens heard singing was an accurate count!
As we approached Patch 2 we wondered if we were going to get a second Sanderling mega-fest…nearly. Looking over the wall there were some scattered along the tideline. Checking to the north there weren’t any up that way, all were from the outfall pipe and down to the south. Our count gave us in the region of 825, still a good score but only half of yesterday's. Nothing with them at all today apart from a single Oystercatcher.
Out at sea we found a Red Throated Diver and a very small number of Common Scoters, no more than two dozen.
With yet another black cloud heading straight for us we high-tailed it back to the office before then next bucketful landed.
Back there for the lunchtime high tide and nothing much was happening. No rain either. Scanning around there were only distant small parties of Common Scoters. We started to pick up individual small birds about half a mile or so out to sea, bouncing along several tens of feet above the waves, all headed south. No doubt they were all Whinchats…if only hahaha…much more likely to have been Meadow Pipits. In the end we had about a dozen of them. Whilst watching one of them we picked up a tern a bit further away that eventually revealed itself as a Sandwich Tern, which, like the ‘pipits’ was motoring southwards at some height above the sea.
Two rumbles of thunder were heard coming from behind us and ominous dark skies drawing nearer from the south had us bottling out and heading for a brew but the imminent rain never appeared, musta passed by just inland of us.
Where to next? Day off tomorrow so a dawn raid on Chat Alley could on the cards followed by a mid-morning safari to watch the rising tide for those dipped-so-far Curlew Sandpipers.
In the meantime let us know what’s going to be third time lucky in your outback.
Sorry - no pics today.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Phenomenal

The safari was half asleep on Patch 1 this morning and didn’t get round to doing a count of the usual stuff. Very remiss of us, certainly nothing out of the ordinary in there and although conditions looked good there was no sign of any passage going on overhead.
At Base Camp we were putting the composting out and there was sonme noisy autumnal Dunnock action going on - the first we've heard in the garden for a while.
Driving into work we could see that the sea had calmed down considerably and there was hardly a white horse to be seen so we couldn’t wait to get out on Patch 2 and give the sea a good scan. We got out on patch 2 alright and heard the fishermen talking about the numbers of Bass that have been caught along the coast this week, things are looking up, if there’s Bass there must be smaller fish and if there are plenty of fish there could well be some Harbour Porpoises. Time to look for those tiny fins. But we never got a chance to scan the sea. All along the tide line was a string of Sanderlings…and a long string at that! We started counting and soon realised there were a fair few more than we thought, we got past 1500, with just six Dunlin and a very welcome diminutive Little Stint (179, 99) scuttling around between their paler cousins, don’t ever recall seeing one of those on a beach before. A jogger flushed them all – Bally typical….arrrrggghhhh…most flew off to the south and when they settled down again there didn’t seem to be any fewer! We counted what was in front of us and got another 250 or so, just one Dunlin in this flock.
Then looking further to the north as the tide was rising squeezing the beach we could see even more stretched out all along the water’s edge as far as we could see with a couple of dense flocks too. Altogether probably well in excess of 2000 of them! Usually we think 50 is a good count on Patch 2!
How many do you estimate are on this shot? It's a small portion of the 'second' post-jogger flock.
On the sea there were only a few Common Scoters most of them close enough to be able to see the yellow on the male’s bills.
Overhead migration was again disappointing – as we were counting the Sanderlings we heard only three Meadow Pipits going past.
All was quiet on the lunchtime session, the ebbing tide had not yet dropped beyond the sea wall so there was no beach for Sanderlings or anything else to forage along. Out at sea the Common Scoters had drifted to some distance or were flying around in their usual 'not sure where we want to be' fashion.
We spoke to a couple of retired fishermen who hadn’t had any luck. This time they blamed their lack of success squarely at the door of the large trawlers beyond the horizon and the European Union that lets them fish there. They hadn’t seen the Grey Seal bottling, admittedly it was several hundred yards offshore, if they had no doubt they would be calling for a cull.
Did anyone watch Lost Land of the Tiger last night (concluding episode tonight) (for non-UKers keep an eye on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery etc). We are deffo going to put Frank forward as a stunt double for Bruiser. If Bruiser can find Tigers and Clouded Leopard doo-doo we certain Frank could too, he has no problem finding Hedgehogs, Foxes, Domestic Cats etc – thinks they’re all his bestest friends and as for doo-doo – he never has any trouble sniffing that out...of any species!!!
Where to next? Bhutan?
In the meantime let us know what’s been sniffing around in your outback.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Base Camp news

The Safari hasn't ventured far today...had some very good natured tradesmen in fitting new windows - house might actually have some insulative qualities now in time for winter.
we were out on Patch 1 well before sun-up and still very dark; Frank has his hi-vis vest on so we can see where he's at and what he's up to under the bushes rather than as a safety measure.
We were on the Patch so early that only a small number of Robin's had woken up and we couldn't see if there were any Blackbirds hopping about in the shrubbery.
We did see the Peregrine by the light from the street lamps but are fairly certain that it wasn't there at 10.00 last night, maybe it thinks its an owl.
As the dawn broke a couple of Chaffinches were heard at height.
Back at Base Camp the morning developed into a proper summers day with the thermometer reaching a very pleasant 21C! Meadow Pipits and 'alba' Wagtails were heard going over. At one point the gulls kicked up a helluva stink but we couldn't locate the probable raptor.
The sunshine brought a Speckled Wood to the garden where the quality butterfly attractor Ice Plant (Sedum spectabile) was waiting for it...ignored - cheek of it!!!
A Swallow buzzed by and a gang of 11 Magpies noisily clattered about. A flock of nine Goldfinches looked for their favourite tree which they perch in to check if the coast is clear before dropping on to our feeder, but most of the tree is gone and they spent a good while flying round in circles before disappearing over the rooftops - hope this isn't a sign of things to come for the winter.
We spent half an hour in garage sawing firewood and whilst in there spotted a Long Tailed Field Mouse scampering back and forth along the window sill at the far end. Very apt considering our new blog header. He now has a small supply of sunflower hearts to keep him going.
Nothing much else to report, the Water Lilies are still flowering and attracting plenty of bees and hovers and in the front garden there is a Garden Cross Spider big enough to take yer arm off!
Where to next? Back to the seaside.
In the meantime let us know what's scampering around in your outback.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wot, no rain?!!!

The Safari was relieved not to get wet on Patch 1 this morning after over 24 hours of non-stop heavy rain. With all that rain getting us down we forgot to lift our spirits by talking like a pirate all day yesterday – hope none of you forgot too.
Just one of the Peregrines was on the water tower and that soon headed of eastwards into the gloomy dawn. We were able to monitor its progress through the cries of alarm coming from the local gulls on the rooftops.
It was soon obvious that there were a few Robins about and this morning they outnumbered Blackbirds 2-1, with at least 14 and seven respectively. Three Wrens sang at each other from the dark depths of the shrubbery.
On the way back we had our best view of a Fox for a long time. Due to the horrendous weather we had left the early morning little camera at home not wanting to get it any wetter, but we don’t think we’d have been able to get it out of the pocket, turned on and focused in the time before Frank spotted the Fox and shot off after it like a rocket. What he would have done to it had he caught up with it is open to question but as he sniffed around the bushes where it disappeared his tail was wagging so much we though it might actually come loose and fly off!

Hitting Patch 2 after letting a particularly heavy downpour pass over it was something of a disappointment after the unprecedented seabird extravaganza of last week – almost all of which we missed! Only about 50 Common Scoters were knocking about on the rising tide doing their ‘no idea where we want to be’ thing; I’m going this way, you’re going that way, why are they going over there? What’re the odds on us getting a Velvet Scoter before Christmas – longer than ‘Pool winning the Premiership probably?
A Red Throated Diver heading into the estuary was our first of the season.
Back on the sea wall at lunchtime we met a couple from Lincolnshire who said they’d been there for about half an hour and not had anything other than the Common Scoters. They also said that they’d spoken to a couple of other lads who had been out for an hour before them and they too had had very little. It didn’t look good, but hey, it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t cold so we thought we give it a go for a quarter of an hour at least.
First up we were checking the mooching Common Scoters for something more exciting – there wasn’t anything to get the pulse racing…well there wouldn’t be would there?
A Guillemot came in from the north and remarkably put its landing gear down and flopped onto the sea next to one that was already there that we hadn’t seen – how do they find each other in such an expanse of seemingly featureless water – smell?
Then we had the weird one! The light was good, nice and flat with no shadows, but the sea was still very choppy when we picked up a Manx Shearwater coming towards us from the south spending most of its time out of sight in the troughs. The wind was due west so the waves were parallel to the shore putting anything in the troughs temporarily out of view. This bird was fairly close inshore, only a few waves beyond the breakers which were still just about reaching the toe of the wall. When it was closer was saw it wasn’t a Manxie at all, quite a bit smaller and with a much less cruciform shape, wings much more sharply angled at the elbow, recalling a very small skua. Uniformly dark, but perhaps not quite black, above with maybe a hint of a paler tail and rump but that could have been an effect of the light as it went passed us with the light now behind it. The flight wasn’t quite ‘Manxie’ either if you know what we mean, the bird’s jizz wasn’t right - the way it moved through the waves was just ‘wrong’ …and then it was gone…we never did get to see anything of the underside…total viewing time about a minute; total time in view about 10 seconds! Certainly something we’ve never seen before anywhere in the world but what was it? Answers/suggestions on a post-card please.
Whilst following the flight-line of that we picked up a Leach’s Petrel coming towards us…excellent stuff and well worth sticking it out for more than the intended quarter hour.
What followed was the best view of a Leach’s we have ever had. For about five minutes it jinked, fluttered, hovered, and flitted in and out and over the lessening waves just behind the surf, no more than a hundred yards from us, appearing to picking tiny bits of ??? from the surface, doing the pattering thing, at times it seemed to be using its feet as an extra brake dragging them in the water to hold itself still. Exceptional views. Then it ‘tumbled’ into a trough and was gone. No chance of getting a pic but for some ‘proper’ pics of Leach’s have a look here and here.
The sun came out and looking south the light became awful. As the tide started to drop a bit more and leave a bit of beach the gulls began feasting on the thousands of Starfish that had been washed up; a Great Black Backed Gull waited for the Herrings to find a particularly tasty morsel he could steal.


We gave it a few more scans but with picking up nothing other than the regular Common Scoters and a few Cormorants we called it a day humbled to have witnessed one of those miniscule ocean travellers going about its business – we wish it, and all its storm ravaged chums, a safe trip down to the South Atlantic
Where to next? Maybe something a bit different tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime let us know what’s been pitter-pattering through your outback.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Rain, rain go away...

The Safari has endured almost 24 hours of none stop rain quite easily by staying indoors! At least the Land Rover is enjoying a well earned rest after clambering over obstacles like this 2 foot high (60cm) rock step, although wew have to qualify this by saying that there are pot-holes nearly as deep as this is high on some of the main shopping streets in town where a tank might be better suited than a 4x4!!!

The only thing of any note is that the Peregrine hasn't moved since 11.00pm last night. Very few Robins or Blackbirds in evidence on a sopping Patch 1 this morning but an aquatic Wren was singing is little lungs out.

Wasn't silly enough to go that far with Frank at lunchtime but still ended up getting soaked!
Where to next? A very wet work and Patch 2
In the meantime let us know if there are pot-holes in your outback
Late edit - A quick but very wet game of rugger with Frank late afternoon saw two Peregrines sheltering on the tower - back at Base Camp a log fire is roaring away in the hearth - must be winter.
Bet 'Pool wished they coulda played the second half twice and come away from Stamford Bridge with a point. Needs to be fortress Bloomfied Road for the rest of the season - still 7 points from 5 games translates to a comfortable 56 points at the end of the last game.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Safari around South Lakeland

The Safari gave up wildlifing today and joined some good mates on a trip around the Green Lanes of South Lakeland.
All these tracks are part of the Queen's Highway and can be used by anyone with a Peugeot 1007 or, dare we say, it a Hyundai Atoz if they felt they would make it from one end to the other.

We were in 'new' Red Kite country but the only raptor we saw all day was this distant Buzzard.
Just like Wales the Lake District has dragons too.

Lunch in the open.
Some lanes are rocky.

Some have deep puddles

Some lanes are stoney





Poor J's fuel pump packed in after this lane and he sadly had to limp back to civilisation for a repair.

Some lanes have quite steep sections.

Some lanes pass through farmer's fields





Spectacular views across to the Langdale Pikes
And Wetherlam
Wifey had to be put out of the Land Rover at times for squealing in terror...unnecessarily most of the time,nothing really to worry about


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Got overtaken by a couple of mountain bikers one one section - that's how fast we travel on the lanes.

Broke a weld on one of the rock sliders that took a very big hit! So went home with it held on by a piece of string.

Where to next? normal service may be resumed tomorrow.

In the meantime let us know where the tracks in your outback lead to.