Sunday, 9 January 2011

Weird, (A)WOL, wagtails, willow wally!

The Safari set off full of hope with a bright blue sky overhead. On route we had a look along Wild Road and spotted the herd of about two dozen Whooper Swans. Pulling off this single track, but very busy, road onto a farm track we got the scope out and grilled the swans, sure enough there were four Bewick's Swans (77) with them. Hence the 'weird' namely both wild swans on the Year List before the infinitely more numerous Mute Swan. Then it was on to our primary destination. But when we arrived at the dock there was no sign of our intended!!! Wot - not there, but it's been there for AGES!!! Plenty of Pied Wagtails were flitting around the edge of the dock looking for titbits - they didn't have to look hard there was enough discarded food to feed an army of Iceland Gulls! In fact there weren't that many gulls on at all, a few Black Headed Gulls and not a lot else, there was only one first winter gull, a Herring Gull. Later a Great Black Back came swooping in a shuffled everything around but still no luck. Lots of Coot down on the water but we didn't see any with colour rings, also on the water taking the generous offerings of bread was a family of Mute Swans (78).

We decided to go on a Waxwing hunt for an hour or so, having a walk around the west end of the dock area and a drive round known haunts - fruitless...literally fruitless, not a berry in sight. For some unknown reason we forgot about the enigmatic Willow Tit only a mile we went back to the dock to see if the Iceland Gull had put in an appearance - needless to say it hadn't! We did have a short chat to a lovely couple who admitted to being regular readers of this rubbish, hope the rest of your day was good.
What to do next? Head Over Wyre and twitch the dodgy (although it seems to have somehow become less dodgy since it reappeared) Red Breasted Goose and hit the farmland feeding stations - or just bob in to the nature reserve for the afternoon. The nature reserve won hands down! On the way we spotted a Jay (79) in some roadside trees.
The nature reserve was pretty quiet but we got straight on the a male Goldeneye (80), then another and another...and another but no females. A pair of Grey Lag Geese (81) loafed lazily on the remains of the scrape's bund. Other waterfowl included uncounted Mallards and Teal, 24 Tufted Ducks, 34 Wigeon, 13 Pochards and 28 Shovelers.
Over the island a stonking male Kestrel gave a lesson in aeronautics hovering in the breeze with barely a flicker of its wings.
The feeding station was busy with several Reed Buntings popping in and out. it was a while before the Tree Sparrows arrived, four eventually showed themselves. No Bramblings though. Walking round to the Long Eared Owls we found a small posse already on them and they kindly pointed out an impressive seven, with an eighth a little further down the track but we couldn't find it.
Back at the hide a Grey Heron (82) had landed on the scrape. An unseen Water Rail squealed from the reedbed in front of us. Way across the other bank in a tree above the reedbed a Sparrowhawk (83) sat quietly waiting for lunch to come within range.
The gulls were duly grilled but gave up nothing over exciting apart from a slightly unusually marked third winter Herring Gull...Vega Gull anyone? Don't be daft!!!
And so endeth a somewhat strange safari adventure.
Where to next? Back to the dock if the Land Rover passes its MOT tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know if anything was out of the ordinary in your outback.


cliff said...

That reminds me, gotta get my motor booked in for an MOT.

No lack of Bramblings where I was yesterday morning, stood in my pals lounge photoing Bramblings & Siskin out of the window, plus there were Marsh Tits & Nuthatch in attendance too. A terrific selection of birds coupled with an open fire and cup of coffee to keep us warm, what a very civilised way to spend a few hours. Could've done with the birds moving out of the shady bits though.

cliff said...

BTW - love the Blenny at the top of the page.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Take it your mate doesn't live round here, Cliff.
Blenny was prob my best find yet on the wall, certyainly a big un!


Warren Baker said...

100 species by the weekend then dave ? If you haven't ''grilled'' everthing by then :-)