Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The dreaded manflu

The Safari has been stuck at Base Camp today trying to shrug off hoarseness, aches and pains by overdosing on Lemsip..
With nothing else to do other than stare out of the bedroom window we set the scope up and waited for that lifer to fly past - it didn't!
We did get a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the only large tree left in our field of view, but that is well outside our 'Garden' recording area. also in the very top of that tree was a flock of nine Greenfinches with a nice male Chaffinch making double figures.
A Carrion Crow managed to creep in to the recording area and adds one to the garden list. Gull were represented by Herring and Black Heads only while Collared Doves, Wood and Feral Pigeons wheeled around with monotonous regularity but failed to draw in the Peregrine.
In the depths of the shrubbery we could hear a Blackbird clacking away from time to time but now that the weather has warmed up it seems that most of the small birds have moved on, in fact we only saw one Blue Tit and that was searching through the tips of Silver Birch tree rather than taking advantage of those tasty sunflower hearts in our feeder.
None of the few Starlings flying over could be turned into anything remotely resembling a Waxwing.
Talking of trees it appears they have been fooled by mildness, or less coldness; the Copper Beech in next door's garden has opening buds, Base Camp's Bird Cherry has swollen buds as has the ferociously hacked Sycamore which the Carrion Crow landed in. Methinks they could be in for a shock!
In an attempt to get some more gull pics we threw a bit of stale bread on the garage roof and legged it back upstairs another Lemsip in hand, in our haste we sort of tripped/stumbled on the stairs and said Lemsip was nearly having to be wiped off walls and dabbed out of carpet! We needn't have rushed it was ages before anything appeared...eventually three Feral Pigeons dropped on to the bread, now they should attract any passing gulls...they didn't, even a small flock of Starlings flew over them without a second something wrong with Sainsbury's organic cob? Those three pigeons didn't seem to think so!
After what seemed like an age a few Black Headed Gulls managed to avoid the tree, the wind was in a tricky direction for them to be able to get the angle for a touch-down.
The next pi shows the white tips of the greater coverts rather nicely as well as the now 'smudged and shadowy' carpal bar.
In this pic it's difficult to tell if the underwing is smokey grey or just in shadow. If it were pure white then the American Bonapart's Gull might be an option but the upperwing tip and trailing edge are wrong for that species, as is the bill which would be shorter and all dark.
In all plumages Black Headed Gulls can be easily recognised by the obvious white 'stripe' leading edge of the outer wing.
We missed getting a pic of a nice first winter Common Gull, which are not common at all on the garage roof!
The gulls left some meagre pickings for this Woodpigeon.
And we certainly weren't expecting the reappearance of the Grey Wagtail, nor were we expecting it to start pecking at the crumbs the larger birds had left behind.

Where to next? Judging by the soreness of the throat it could well be Base Camp again tomorrow.

In the meantime let us know what's diseased in your outback.

Late edit:- whilst faffing around editing these pics for you the Pererine came in and landed on its ledge. Dunno which way it came from so can't put on the garden list, which currently stands at 18.

68 Magpies roosted at Magpie Wood last night, still can't work out if it's a counting effect or if there are very different numbers each night. One thing you couldn't do is shine a light on them to make it easier cos they'd all skidaddle off in a clatter or wings and cackles.


Warren Baker said...

Get the man flu out the way and over with early in the year Dave :-)

Grey wag is a good 'un for the garden list!

Neil Spiers said...

Wow Grey Wagtail in your backyard, lucky man!!! As for the man flu I have sympathy, as my 4 week old daughter caught a little cold which passed onto myself and now is a full blown illness!!!

Only 2 noticeable sightings for me are alot of Pied Wagtails over our garden (since birth of Briony not been out much) and a possible Goldcrest in out back garden.. I say possible as didnt have binoculars to hand but was noway a Wren or Blue Tit and seeing as we aint to far from Stanley Park its definately a possibility... shame am back at work as cant keep an eye on the garden in the day.

Wouldnt mind heading out with you one day mate to see your patches.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Grey wag certainly was a welcome sight Warren.

No worries Neil, send email, phone or text to arrange. You got a scope for Patch 2? If not I've got a spare.