Monday, 28 February 2011

Where did the spring go?

The Safari woke up to a frosty dawn this morning. Gone are the double figure temperatures, hope it’s not too long before they return.
This morning on Patch 1 we were out at the normal time but the Moon and Venus now have to compete with the ever brightening sky in the east.
With it being so light the Magpies had all but left the roost although the Woodpigeons still didn’t seem to have woken up yet, about twenty of them and no song, if you can call it that, from them.
In the park the usual Song Thrush sang but other than him it was pretty quiet. The Golden Triangle had a Wren, which was duetting with another from an adjacent garden. No sign of the Peregrines on the tower this morning.
Still waiting to see our first bird in the new trees, we can guarantee we’ll be keeping a list. We should be taking bets on which species will be first to take advantage of them – the clever money will probably go on Blue Tit but Long Tailed Tit could sneak it. All will be revealed in due course.
At Patch 2 the tide was full and there was little happening on the sea. A few gulls loafed on the swell close to the wall, further out there were only a small number, about 50, Common Scoters and a handful of Cormorants; that was as exciting as it got – hardly thrilling so with the cold beginning to bite we wimped out after about five minutes and aimed for a nice warming cuppa. Looking out of the office window, whilst stood by the heater, there on the lawn with a bunch of Starlings was a Pied Wagtail; possibly the first to be seen from this office window as from our desk we can’t actually see the ground outside just the top of the hedge and the top of the seawall over the road. The Starlings were poking around in the lawns for LeatherjacketsCrane Fly larvae – while the wagtail was a little behind them on the former wildflower strip, ‘former’ because it was classed by the powers-that-be as ‘untidy’ and ‘had to be’ put back to close mown grass - - dohhhhh...And don’t get us on our high horse about what the so called ‘gardeners’ have done to the Forsythia in the park on Patch 1...suffice to say several bushes were just about to flower but now won’t be...and you were wondering why the UK’s bee populations are such dire straits. BTW ‘gardeners’ these days might be better described as ‘landscape technicians’ as many seem to have very limited traditional gardening or horticultural knowledge but are great with power tools. OK OK we’ll dismount now. The early morning update call from the Rangers for BEAT Naturewatch contained info about a dozen Siskins feeding in the Alders at the nature reserve. A call from us to them at lunchtime confirmed they were still there so the low tide gulls were abandoned to their sandy fate (WHAT???, we don’t belieeeeeve it, exclaim!!!) and a twitch was undertaken...blimey twitching Siskins now whatever next, well they’ve been landing in everyone else’s garden but bypassing Base Camp so a twitch it had to be...just in case we don’t connect with them during the rest of the year, unlikely but last year we did only get two Goldcrests so nothing can be taken for granted!!!....That Monika and our year list challenge has a lot to answer for. We arrived on site ignoring the multitude of gulls on the events field which has held up to three Mediterranean Gulls in recent days (WHAT???, we don’t belieeeeeve it, you exclaim!!!). It was only minutes after getting out of the Land Rover and walking a few yards down the track that we heard the distinctive calls of Siskins (115 – n/r 67) coming from the tree tops. Scanning with craned neck we saw a couple of Chaffinches and Blue Tits, a Great Tit and a Goldfinch. Eventually we managed to spot one of the tricky little fellas hanging upside-down from an Alder cone and once we’d found one we found more right up in the topmost twigs. At least three males and two females although there had been twice this many earlier but they were just out of range of the lens and against the sun...ha ha euphemism for bright cloud...these are the best we could manage.

We had enough time for a short look in the Feeding Station and decided to stay until we’d seen one of the Bramblings. Still Tree Sparrows aplenty and just how Chaffinches and Reed Buntings? A female Great Spotted Woodpecker bounced on to the peanut feeder, a first year bird perhaps as she had very chestnut brown coverts – any ringers out there confirm this? There were more than enough Great Tits and a flock of about seven or eight lively Long Tailed Tits too. Eventually just as we were thinking it was time to head back to the office the female Brambling put in a brief objective achieved it was deffo time to skidaddle. A quick squint at the gulls on the field on the way back down the track revealed no Meds...well we had to look!!!

Where to next? Back to the gulls, please can we have a goody, or a cetacean out at sea.
In the meantime let us know what was on the lunchtime menu in your outback.

1 comment:

Monika said...

I may have to twitch siskins too, they've eluded me thus far! Sounds like you saw some other good species while out, so I hope it was well worth the trip!