Friday, 25 March 2011

Another year bird for Patches 1 & 2

The Safari and NS went newting last night and you can catch up on our adventures here.
This morning there was nothing special about Patch 1. On reaching the park nothing had hit the pages of the notebook. A pair of soaring Sparrowhawks was the first entry. From the lower pond we heard a familiar, but not in these parts, call. Clipping Frank back on his lead, didn’t want him diving in first thing in the morning, we wandered over to investigate and managed to flush a Heron from the tiny ornamental island. But that wasn’t the caller, that was stood on a branch the local brain dead had thrown in - a Moorhen!!! (42).
Two male Woodpigeons battered seven shades of something out of each other in the top of the Larch tree until the female Sparrowhawk did a low level fly-past and broke them up, sent a fair few other Woodpigeons clattering through the treetops too.
Another predator was causing alarm and commotion, a cat was half way up an adjoining garden’s tree being mobbed vociferously by two Carrion Crows, two Magpies, a Blackbird and a Dunnock.
The excitement continued away from the park when, on the way back to Base Camp and breakfast, we heard a House Sparrow calling from the school grounds – not heard them there for a long time...not since the big sprawling bushes were ‘tidied’ into little two foot high blobs.
Finally we watched a 1st winter (2CY) Herring Gull making that awful whining call as one of its parents tried to ignore it from the adjacent roof top. Not long now before it’ll have to make its own way in the world as ma ’n’ pa are going to give it short shrift when they settle down to raise the next generation of ID nightmares in the next few days.
At a very misty Patch 2 the sea was unseen. On the beach we ‘counted’ 200 Oystercatchers with far more further south extending into the mist. Nothing gully got us going but a Linnet passing overhead was the first of the year.
At lunchtime the tide was on the rise but little was happening. Away towards the horizon a large flock of Common Scoters was making its way north. The wind had picked up a bit and was coming from the northwest so there was perhaps just a bit too much chop to be able to see any Harbour Porpoises although the forecast return to light easterlies looks promising for the weekend.
All we could find was a Grey Seal, close enough to be able to see droplets of water on his whiskers, as often as not they are a dot in the distance, and our friend the male Eider as bobbing about doing nothing much in particular just behind what little surf there was.
Where to next? The now regular North Blackpool Pond Trail weekend bird survey followed perhaps by another safari along Chat Alley which is now very definitely back in play.
In the meantime let us know who’s mobbing what in your outback.

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