Sunday, 23 January 2011

No twitchin just birdin

The Safari would like to get out early but there's no chance of that cos we have to rustle up these for all day sustenance before heading out. Double yum.

Suitably fortified we headed for our meeting with a group setting up a community farm for the local youngsters and anyone else who's interested..they are lucky to more than likely have Great Crested Newts on their patch which they are happy about as they can educate their visitors about them and the other amphibians that live on site. Just across the road from their field was a flock of 236 Pink Footed Geese and one Mistle Thrush. Another 180 or so looked like they were going to join them but as they started to drop something or someone put them off and they veered away.
Then it was over the river to the bay where the tide was a high one and on the way in. On the road in, going by the unenviable name of Green Dicks Lane, we spotted another flock of Pink Footed Geese, more this time possible over 500.
A concerted scan through them revealed nothing untoward. Their yapping calls got Frank excited thinking they were another dog or two and he let out a huge WOOOOF through the open window. This had the geese on high alert all heads up...nice one Frank all the better to check for an orange bill or a white blase...nothing! A Meadow Pipit (92) called as it flew over, as did three Whooper Swans. In the corner of the field five Fieldfares fed along side a number of Starlings and one Redwing...or was it the missing Dusky Thrush...nahhhh we're just not that lucky.
A few hundred yards later we were looking across the bay. The tide was racing in and the birds were becoming nicely concentrated. Loads of gulls, lots of Shelducks, a 'million' Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Dunlin and Curlews.
Somewhere in there there's a goody. Nothing for it but to give the gulls a good grilling...and...gotcha...
After working the flock from the far left right there in front of us was a crackin adult Mediterranean Gull (93) bird in the book!!! There's sometimes a Yellow Legged Gull at this site but not today, or if there was we didn't see it. We did see a pillard in a microlight (red wings with white trailing edge G-MYVD) buzz the flock and put them all to flight what a tossweed...looked like he dropped to about 50 feet to get 'a good view of them' circled round when they were all in the air and then climbed and went off...oh for a surface to air missile launcher!!!!!!!!!
With the birds now scattered and the the tide just about up we moved round the corner a couple of miles deeper in to the bay. as we got in the Land Rover a flock of about 30 Twite/Linnets flew past when we weren't really watching and certainly not concentrating - if only we'd stayed out another two minutes.
More of the same but even greater numbers, a real wildlife spectacle, the salt marsh was totally covered and the waders, and waterfowl were all afloat waiting for it to drop again. Mallard, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, and yet more Shelduck and Oystercatchers. Pink Feet and 26 Whooper Swans were out there too rubbing shoulders with more marine species like the Great Crested Grebes. A flock of Skylarks worked the edge of the tide as it dropped. As we watched them they were obviously gleaning loads to eat but we couldn't tell what it was they were picking up. A Rock Pipit (94) made itself known as it flew by but we didn't pick it up.
Out in the shallows away to our left a Great Black Backed Gull ripped the innards out of dead sheep. Away out the other way a helpful birder pointed out a large Peregrine sat on the grass taking in the view. A look over the lakes gave us nothing, they were empty probably disturbed by the Sunday hordes.
In the car park this unusual bird was pecking around at food left by those self same hordes...d'yer think we can tick it?
Off inland to have a look for some farmland birds. The easiest place to get them is a feeding station along one of the narrow country lanes. food was there and hence no birds, or at least very few. A flock of a dozen Chaffinches dropped on to the hedge had a look and thought sh*t no food!!!
In the trees at the far end of the track sat a mixed flock of birds, a Mistle Thrush, a Fieldfare and a few more Chaffinches but right there in the middle was a smart bright yellow male Yellowhammer (95). A Sparrowhawk came by and flushed them and that was that, time to make tracks...keeping an eye out over the fields and hedgerows though. Talking of hedgrerows someone has been very heavy handed with the flail since the bad weather thawed...mile upon mile of hedge butchery...if there's one invention we could put back in the box it would be the tractor mounted flail rather than the atom bomb!
Once home we decided to do a bit of wood cutting seeing as how it was still daylight but then the hands started throbbing summat rotten...they're gonna be bad tomorrow and all because of a short drive out.
We could have broken the 100 today with a bit more luck and a bit more seed at the feeding station.
Where to next? More patchy stuff for the rest of the week, could be good as the tides a nice for Patch 2 at lunchtime.
In the meantime let us know what's got you twitchy in your outback.


cliff said...

Sounds like a great drive out Dave, I used to work Over Wyre quite regularly up until about 18 months ago, reading your post makes me realise just how much I miss my old work patch - that bacon & mushroom butty has got me drooling too.


Stu said...

Nice to see you took the healthy option of 'organic' brown sauce!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

If any of the locals find Frank's blue extending lead at Lane Ends in the chickens part of the car park can you let me know, musta dropped it loading him in when we left. Thanks.

Stu - the bacon was outdoor reared too, mushrooms bog standard gently sauteed in a mix of olive oil and a bit of butter with fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkling of 'erbs. If push comess to shove in the next few weks might end up serving these to birders, dog walkers, horse riders, joggers and anyone else visiting MM LNR. (Will charge the druggies and scotes double though)



Warren Baker said...

Some butty Dave :-) Oh! and i'll have that S. A. M. after you're done with it!

Nice to see Sparrowhawks disrupting someone else for a change too :-)

Amila Kanchana said...

It's amazing to see sooo many birds gathered together.