Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Grey and dreek but mild

The Safari saw the Peregrine asleep on the ledge late last night but by 06.30 this morning it had done a bunk.
Out and about looking like it was searching the grassy field for worms was the Fox, and sitting still by the bushes we were able to get good views of it for several minutes as it went about its business before trotting off home for the rest of the day – needless to say Frank was seriously over-excited by this time and we were having our work cut out trying to keep hold of him – he does like that Fox!
Once again conditions conspired against us and we were unable to do a Magpie count although it looked like there were quite a lot, say 50-ish +, tucked away in the tree tops. The park was deathly quiet but getting back to the Golden Triangle spring had sprung, a Song Thrush was singing its little lungs out, very nice to hear. A couple of Robins were singing at each other from in there too while a handful of Blackbirds hopped about on the grass, a paler thrush was with them and as they flushed when we walked past on the other side of the hedge the thin seeep of a Redwing was heard.
At lunchtime we safari-ed into the grey murk across the road to find the small amount of beach annoyingly seriously disturbed by dog walkers and fishermen. Away to the south was a plethora of gulls, several thousands of them, but sadly they were well out of range and the light was atrociously poor. The closest ones gave us nothing of note, one looked a good candidate for a Yellow Legged Gull but it wasn’t really claimable. A thorough search of the nearest Black Headed Gulls couldn’t find us a Mediterranean Gull (woulda been ‘off-patch’ anyway). What we would have given for an hour or two of time and somewhere closer, warmer and more comfortable to set up and have a good proper look through them all.
Closer was a flock of around 120 Redshanks, we could have got a more accurate count if the flock hadn’t been disturbed by two dog walkers approaching them from opposite sides, a small number of Turnstones were with them. Later, as the tide rose and they started to get ready to roost on the wall a Knot had joined them, taking Patch 2’s 2011 total to a whopping 19.
Out at sea besides the 50 or so Common Scoters there was nothing but dirty grey murk and a couple of Cormorants.
Also found this adult Herring Gull that had come to grief on the beach, it has an interesting wing tip pattern.
Upperwing first...Then underwing...
All this feathery nonesense goes to prove we haven't a clue! We think it is an argenteus type due to the black notch on the outer web of P5 but that all white tip on P10, is that white fringe on the inner web 'normal' and total lack of mirror on P9 is atypical - the more we look at gulls the more we're convinced there's no such thing as 'typical' and no two are the same...certainly among the LWHGs.
Where to next? More of the same tomorrow but it is forecast to be the warmest day for two months, just hope it’s not as grey and dreary as today.
In the meantime let us know what shade of grey it is in your outback.
Talking of outbacks – you can’t fail to have heard of the floods in eastern Australia – a bit serious. One bizarre/amazing combination of statistics was bandied about the other day on the news. The area under water is the equivalent of a good half of Western Europe, ie the area of France and Germany combined, that’s from here in the Safari’s sitting room at Base Camp to Poland’s western border! Then they said that it was total devastation with as many as twenty (YES - ONLY TWENTY) towns and cities affected, there’s more than that between here and Manchester, an hour or so drive away! That was before Brisbane copped for it though and no matter how bad the floods ever get here we’re not likely to get Salties or Bull Sharks roaming the watery streets!!! To give you an idea of how remote much of Queensland is if you were to head north from the corner of New South Wales and Queensland along the South Australian border aiming for the ‘Top End’ a distance of about fourteen hundred miles (Blackpool to Athens), you would only cross three tarmaced roads!
Ah red dust, hot heat and flies - can’t wait to get back there!!!

1 comment:

Stu said...

I have no idea about LWHG species/races either, we have several occur in Hokkaido and I have no clue to be honest........

The weather in the UK last month moved east by the way, back to its natural habitat in NE Asia.

When I lived in Queensland back in the mid 90's everyone was complaining about drought. You should be careful what you wish for.........