Friday, 18 February 2011

Disappearing Dunnocks

The Safari’s best laid plans came to nought this morning. After hearing masses of Dunnocks the other day we decided we’d better get a count in. Well this morning Patch 1 was devoid of Dunnocks – not a single one heard! Before we had opened the front door at Base Camp we could hear a Song Thrush so they went in the notebook too and promptly disappointed! There was a ‘new’ one singing from somewhere downhill, the one we could here was the uphill regular but none were singing from the Golden Triangle and only one in the park, somewhere along the hedgerow down the side of the rough field by the sound if it.
One of the Peregrines was on the ledge and a few Blackbirds were tuning up.
The walk back down the hill was tentative as it was at the bottom old the leg muscle went ping, fortunately we survived and better still could see the faintest hint of dawn in the eastern sky through the thinning clouds.
Patch 2 was again a dull, grey, murky cool affair. Out on the edge of the mist we noticed a couple of Cormorants and then a few more; some were struggling to swallow fair sized flatfish. A full scan from left to right gave us a total of 171 and nine Great Crested Grebes.
The tide was ebbing but still high for the lunchtime safari and the light was still a dirty shade of hazy grey.
More Common Scoters had drifted close to shore getting up for 500 altogether perhaps. The Cormorants had all but left although the stragglers were still catching fish right on the limits of our visibility. A flock of 13 Great Crested Grebes quietly snoozed being rocked by the gentle chop while a 14th flew past beyond them. Two Red Throated Divers roosted closer to shore giving much better views than we normally get from this species.
Where to next? Might get out somewhere tomorrow but there are chores to be done at Base Camp.
In the meantime this article headlined this week’s Wildlife Extra e-news/mag. Has no-one told these SS buffoons that Corvids are songbirds too, as we heard for ourselves last week when a Magpie gave a beautiful but very quiet warble. Corvids regularly predate Collared Dove and Woodpigeon nests yet these two species have increased over the last 40 years (as per BTO population trends figures). Habitat, habitat, habitat guys...


Warren Baker said...

Hi Dave,
The culling of Magpies has been a hot topic on the Kent forum recently. I cant believe some bird lovers actually want them culled! As you suggest, these people obviously dont read the facts about predation!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

These would be the same people who've replaced their garden hedges with fences and shrubbery with decking I suppose



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Phil said...

Dave, Interesting that your songsters went quiet this morning. Yesterday was bright and sunny and everything was at it here too. This morning was dull and cold and I didn't feel much like getting out singing either and went for a swim and sauna instead. Maybe tomorrow, or the day after, or .....