Friday, 21 January 2011

Vision restored - sort of...

The Safari reluctantly opened the front door at 06.00 this morning but was instantly relieved to be able to across the fog!!!
A slight breeze had picked up over night and banished the pea soup to the annals of history. Not only that it was bringing luscious smells of steak pies and Bourbon biscuits cooking from the bakeries not far away.
Although the moon was full and bright early morning activity hadn’t yet begun. The Peregrine was still on the ledge though and we counted 51 Magpies as we passed the edge of Magpie Wood.
Once in the park Frank’s nose pointed skywards and his little legs moved up a gear – there was the strong pong of Fox in the air and he wanted to find it...we didn’t get sight nor sound of it in the end.
Away to the north, over towards the golf course, and a few hundred yards off patch we heard a Mistle Thrush singing.
On the return leg one of the Song Thrushes was singing at the Golden Triangle, we could still hear it as we got back round to Base Camp.
With the sun inching over the eastern horizon we got out onto a chilly Patch 2 before work. It was still misty over the beach and visibility was poor, there was no chance of seeing anything at sea as a low fog had enveloped the sea itself. Looking south in to the runnel the runs at the base of the seawall there were a lot of Redshanks, we counted approximately 100, the nearest ones were too close to the wall for to be seen in the scope and we didn’t have our bins. About 10 Turnstones were with them too.
With few gulls on this stretch of beach we walked the 20 yards north to scan the other bit of the patch. Wow it was crawling with gulls but not a lot else. A thorough, or at least as thorough as the mist would permit, search through them gave us nothing a Ring Billed Gull too much to ask for? Wouldn’t say no to a Mediterranean Gull lurking amongst the many Black Heads either, got to be something decent with them soon.
A large flock of Oystercatchers flew north a height and about two dozen Sanderlings dropped in at the tide’s edge, we started to count them but two crazy dogs came rushing around chasing the birds their owner was miles away in the distance oblivious to the mayhem his mutts were causing...that put an end to the session as everything was flushed.
Back in the work’s garden a Dunnock sang from the shrubbery away across the green. Will have to have a wander round the gardens and take a look at the feeders Joe Public puts out; should get Greenfinch and House Sparrow on the Patch 2 list if we do. We did and we did...a male House Sparrow and a male Greenfinch were sat within a few inches of each other in the White Poplar bush in the far corner. Whilst waiting for the microwave to go ping at lunchtime we looked out of the window at the gardens and had a bonus bird, a Song Thrush was hopping around the bottom of the Tamarisk bushes catching worms, not a species we see particularly frequently in the work’s garden. These three species bring our Patch 2 total to 27.
In the afternoon we had the good fortune to be invited to a site visit at Magpie Wood and the Golden Triangle looking at its future 'management'. Its good to see it in daylight and under blue skies to boot. We count the Magpies as we walk down the road to the left of the lamp-post.

They are in the tops of the right hand trees in the furthest left clump and the taller ones to the right of the house with the solid brick wall, basically the left hand half of the wood.

This next pic is looking from the opposite direction, you can see that the copse is in a bit of a dip in the ground, its actually quite a steep drop of about 6- 8 feet (2 - 2.5m).

The Golden Triangle is just a few scattered scratty Willow trees and a thick understory of Bramble and Willowherb, the sort of place well meaning Residents Associations want to 'tidy up', however it's far better left as it is...impenetrable!!! Keep the b*ggers OUT.

We collected Frank from his doggy-sitters and as we were loading him in to the back of the car a large female Sparrowhawk flew over upsetting a sizeable flock of Starlings. A few minutes later as we approached the turning for Base Camp a small male nippedover the road in front of us and away between the houses.

Where to next? Weekend Willow Tit/Waxwings perhaps and we have a work site visit to a new site not far away on Sunday morning.

In the meantime let us know if the fog has lifted in your outback


Warren Baker said...

''Keep the buggers out'' quite right Dave.

Excellent news on the Somgthrush :-)

Monika said...

It's nice to see photos of Magpie Woods to envision where you're counting them!

Amila Kanchana said...

Good for you Davo! Weather over here has been great all this week,glaring sun,temperature a touch low! I'm having a hell of a good time,evidence on my blog!