Saturday, 26 February 2011

Trying to emulate the masters

The Safari was allowed a lie in this morning and it was Wifey that went out and got duly drenched in the lashing rain. When we finally crawled out of our pit the sun had come out so we had a couple rounds of toast and stared out of the kitchen window for a while. A nice slection at the feeders include Blue and Great Tits, Goldfinch and a couple of really snazzy looking Greenfinches. A Chaffinch popped in briefly but didn't stop and Base Camp's first Wren (22) of the year sang extremely loudly from next door's Laburnum tree before dropping our side of the fence to look for spiders enticed out of their winter hidey-holes by the recent mild weather.
All of a sudden a Blackbird's alarm call rang out, the Blackbird appeared from behind the garage and shot between the houses, everything else vanished in an instant - didn't see what had caused the panic, but the Peregrine on the tower hadn't moved an inch.
A Common Gull flew over, surprisingly quite scarce here, a few moments later a large female Sparrowhawk whazzed over the fence - that's probably what had ccaused the commotion earlier!
At lunchtime we took Frank round Patch 1 but at this time most stuff had gone quiet, a distant Song Thrush was still in voice - not any of our 'normal' ones. Best was a flock of Long Tailed Tits that infuriatingly kept just a few feet out of range of the little camera.

On the way back a neighbour's early flowering Heathers was being visited by a few Honey Bees, didn't really expect these to be our first bees of the year. Look at the light catchig the eyes of this first one, not noticed that before.

Wifey headed off to the shops with eh-up muvver we were allowed to head off to the nature reserve where the target was 70 species - one more than the young masters the day before yesterday. They got 69 in 11 hours - we had two hours, three at the most! First in the book was the female Brambling something that probably won't ever happen again. The feeding station was busy but there were no Siskins in the adjacent Alders where they have been on and of recently.
A Snipe flew over, hard to find these days, wonder if we'll ever get the tripe figure counts again , like 192 in December '92. It was follwed soon after by a lone male Shoveler. A nice young man told us one ohe Long Eare Owls was showing well with the sun on it, rather than the usual looking in to the sun scenerio, so we had to go and investigate. It was exactly as described.

Nearby the puffball we photographed recently was still dry enough to puff out spores, might have to stick it on Wild About Britain for an ID.
A Kestrel was very interested in something in the grass in the fields to the east where we akso had three pairs of displaying Lapwings - beautiful - - the sight & sound of my childhood, 100+ Linnets, 100+ Woodpigeons with four Stock Doves but strangley no Buzzards, upto early 1996 there had only been three sightings, the boys had eight in the air together the other day!
On the mere 12 Pochards was a high count, where are they all? There should be over 100 here at this time of year.
30 Cormorants was good but without the scope some that looked sort of sinensisy may not have been.
A gull with plenty of white in the outer primaries was only an argenteus. Almost a full whitetip to P10, the mirror seperated from the tip by a faint black band and big broad primary tips but the mantle was the same silvery grey as its mate.

Luvin the bodyless Pochard.
All in all a good afternoon in the very pleasant early spring sunshine. 42 species and a dodgy Ruddy Shelduck thingy out of the park. No new year birds but hey it was a grand day out.
Where to next? Possibly a fluke along the motorway tomorrow but that'll be about it.
In the meantime let us know how far behind the masters you are in your outback.



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cliff said...

A good haul there Dave. I wish I'd joined you @ the Mere, instead I had a couple of hours at the park then headed home to watch the mighty Leeds get thumped 3-0 by Swansea(& the ref). What a waste of a sunny afternoon :-(

Warren Baker said...

Bad luck Dave,
70 was always a steep target in less than three hours!

Nice Bee photo's mate :-)

Amila Kanchana said...

Spring sure is coming,so say the photos!