Sunday, 13 February 2011

All on our little lonesome

The Safari decided to stay local and hopefully avoid the worst of the predicted weather. We went to the nature reserve where there are a few hides to duck into if necessary. As it transpired it only started spitting once we were in the Land Rover driving off some 5 1/2 hours after arriving on site. In that time we managed only 1 1/2 ''laps' of the circuit and didn't get to the Long Eared Owls. There was nothing outstandingly special but there was plenty to be looking at and listening to.
First things first get in tot the first hide and out of any invisible inclement weather - we were fully togged against the elements waterproof trousers and all - not getting caught out like last week again.
11 Lapwings hit the notebook first - a site year tick, the first of several which would see the tally get to 65 by the end of the day.
A fair few ducks to work through, A pair of Gadwall, about 220 Teal and, eventually, 22 Wigeon. The Goldeneye didn't get an eventual figure they were too mobile so about 5 males, with one immature, and four, five or six or more females.
A large number of gulls were hidden behind the tops of the gently swaying reeds - tine to move down to the next hide.
Two adult Mediterranean Gulls. One at the front of the flock, pic, and one at the back - couldn't fit them both in the pic at the same time.
A walk round the far side saw us searching the usual place for Bee Orchid rosettes but didn't find any. This small puffball was interesting and still puffing spores - anyone got any ideas. Surprisingly for a Sunday afternoon it was very quite with hardly another birder about, probably the weather forecast had something to do with the lack of visitors.
A Mole was found dead on the grass which got us wondering when was the last time we saw a live one - musta been a good few years ago now!
The Feeding Station was lively with a flock of over a dozen Great Tits working their way through the bushes. At least six Tree Sparrows were counted but it was impossible to put a number to the amount of Reed Buntings popping in and out, one was heard singing at the far end of the reserve our first for the year.
A year tick came in the shape of a Goldcrest (107) near the unfound Bee Orchids.
We struggled with the Cetti's Warblers only hearing a 'chiip' as we were almost ready to leave although this was one of three that others had heard throughout the day.
More gulls dropped in from a field out east, we coudn't see what was going on but it was attracting plenty.
In this lot was a pair of Mediterranean Gulls. tried to digiscope them without any success at all. Plenty of LWHG too but other than three Lesser Black Backs, 2 fourth winter and a 1st winter Great Blacky nothing noteworthy.

Interestingly Lesser Blackies are very thin on the ground round here whereas other areas locally seem to have good numbers.
Our only raptor all day was a fine male Kestrel.
Towards the end of our visit a real bonus flew past - a striking male Pintail.
If anyone wants to know what a total ar*ewipe looks like - here's one. he is renowned for putting his Alsatian over the fences to deliberately flush the birds and run in front of the hides. Shame he wouldn't turn round when we shouted say cheese! Can you believe how belligerent a supposedly middle aged middle class man can be? Sadly he's not the only one who doesn't/can't/won't appreciate his natural heritage - that is until it's gone!
Just had Wild at Heart on the telly - is it me or is this just Daktari in 2010/11 (and SA rather than Kenya?)
Where to next? Day off tomorrow with the good chance of a safari out somewhere to the 'far east'.
In the meantime let us know how many ar*ewipes there are in your outback.


cliff said...

5.5 hours on the Mere, now that's my idea of a good way to spend a Sunday. Sadly my day was the total opposite, with no birding at all.

The forecast looks a bit better for your day off tomorrow dave.


Warren Baker said...

Good day out Dave :-) well done on your Goldcrest, i'll not make any coment on the green wellied twat with the umbrella :-)

Anonymous said...

eh up Davo - don't let the buggers get to you,dude...

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Anonymous said...

Dave, i had a look at that Puffball and sorry but i can`t come up with a name. From the colour it looks like one of last years. Interesting that it`s still releasing spores.