Saturday, 15 January 2011

Wild, wet, windy, weird and willow-less

The Safari was allowed a lie in this morning and was spared the Patch 1 walk in the dark, although at that time it wasn't raining! After a good extra hour or two in bed we got up and looked out of the window to see the Peregrine on it's ledge, it had been there since tea-time yesterday. after tea and toast we were allowed a morning's twitching - whay-hay!!!
Before we regale the ups and downs of that safari the following info is in response to Dean's comment yesterday about us dipping stuff. Yes, we do keep a 'dipped' list, Dean - here is last year's; the ones in green are the ones we eventually got to grips with.

Long Billed Dowitcher - gone
Smew - Gone twice! And dipped again TWICE in December
American Wigeon - gone
Water Pipit - couldn't find
Gt White Egret - gone
Bean Goose - flushed by idiot parachuting on to the flock
Snow Goose - gone
Green Winged Teal - gone
White Fronted Goose - flushed by man with dog in a field he shouldn't have been in
Osprey - Frank had lie in
Barn Owl - 2 flying round just didn't connect!
Bearded Tit - strangely not showing or calling
Hobby - Had to leave half hour before it showed from where we were
Kingfisher - Should have got there earlier!
Quail - Couldn't find
Ring Billed Gull - Couldn't find or not there
Curlew Sandpiper - Wrong state of tide twice
Lapland Bunting - Missed all the passage migrants
Purple Sandpiper - Couldn't find

So in the end we only dipped 11 during the year which wasn't bad and you can never get them all. The Hobby, Great White Egret and Snow Goose were the furthest away, all at the same site at different times just 35 miles or one hour away, we try not to go much further than that on a day's safari.
So what happened today? We dropped Wifey off at her rendezvous, she's off on business to Stockholm later in the week and needed to procure some 'Arctic' supplies. We've asked her to chuck some bread in the marinas/docks/off bridges etc and take some gull pics.
Gulls, or at least one gull in particular was high on the agenda this morning. We went straight to the dock where we were once again horribly disappointed by the shortage of first winter Iceland Gulls, don't tell us we've started dipping again! Not many birds there other than a good crowd of uncounted Coot. we had a walk from one end of the dock to the other getting soaked in the driving rain, no joy! After the best part of an hour we called it a day and went to see if we could find the Willow Tit we so rudely forgot about last week. Again we stood in the rain for a good 20 minutes waiting for it not to show. Frank was getting bored so we had a wander round the rest of the site, he ran amok diving in to the puddles on the trtrack and from the side of one flushed a Woodcock (86). It was still raining heavily and time was short so we went back for a second look at the feeders. Another birder was there and we had a chat but our intended quarry didn't put in an appearance, although a fly over by two Canada Geese (87) added them for the year. By now it is deffo time to do one and seeing as how we needed petrol and there was a filling station at the dock we just had to pop in. as luck would have it there was the Iceland Gull (88). Phewwwwww but what a shame we had to tick and run rather than being able to stay a while and have a proper study of it. It was also quite distant in the the middle of the dock and in the dull weather our pic isn't that good but there are some stonkin pics of it by people with proper cameras who photographed it on bright days around the web if you're interested.

Sadly we didn't have time to see if the Waxwings were back at yesterday's dip site on the way back to pick Wifey up.

As for our mystery dead gull the guys at Nerd Forum are ignoring us, 190+ views and only our 'bump', probably because they are all looking at the Slaty Backed Gull down in London! Somewhere a few posts before Christmas there is a mention on this blog of a rather pink legged Lesser Black Backed Gull on the beach here - not that we're claiming anything but if they're turning up in the eastern seaboard of States and Canada wouldn't one/it/they drop off in Blackpool before hitting London. Yeah right... So on with our mystery bird. A good search through Olsen & Larsson doesn't really help.

We reversed the pic of the upperwing to be able to do a direct comparison with their illustrations

The white fringe to the inner web of P10 points to 'argentatus' but shouldn't it be joined to the long white tip?

P9 should have a mirror, probably a big one on either both or just the inner webs!

P 7 & 6 look to have a white moon/pearl, again suggesting 'argentatus' rather than 'argenteus'

P5 has that small spot which again could be more 'argentatus' than 'argenteus'

The overall mantle colour seemed too pale for 'argentatus' though.

So basically we're still none the wiser!

Where to next? Back for that Willow Tit...AGAIN!!!

In the meantime let us know if there are any Slaty Backed Gulls in your outback

Doh...'Pool gave away a goal in the last five minutes AGAIN - by our reckoning that's 9 points thrown away so far this season which had they not conceded late would have them in 5th place! IDIOTS!!!


Warren Baker said...

Yep, there is an alleged slaty backed gull im backyard dave :-)

Seems you have found something even rarer though ( although dead!)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

No longer alledged Warren - word on the street is its good to go - if I were you I'd be looking up what they look like flying over!!!!! Brill patch tick for you coming up...



cliff said...

Re. your "Dipped List" Dave, I'm thinking a few minor amendments are required, namely: -

Long-gone Billed Dowitcher
American Wi-gone
Has Bean Goose
S-no-w Goose

Just kidding of course ;-)

BTW - very much enjoyed your column in the Life mag, lots of local info crammed in, that should get folks attention.


BTW2 - been laid up very poorly with flu all week, so that's flu & MOT that have swiftly followed after reading of the same on your website recently, if anything else negative happens can you either not post about it or drop me an email telling me not to read for a while ;-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Good grief - someone actually admits to reading the rubbish wot I rote....and then got the flu...tough luck Cliff



Anonymous said...

Good to see that list Dave, but i only suggested it in jest.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Monika will verify that the dipped list was on my spreadsheet Dean as we swapped lists last week. This years dipped list has been started too.