Friday, 4 March 2011

Good night and good afternoon

The Safari was out last night with the newting lamp on the inaugural meeting of the Fylde Amphibian and Reptile Group. It was so inaugural that the committee had only been elected five minutes previously.
After not finding anything in the first pond we looked at, not even a Frog, it was cold though we moved to another pair of ponds. again nothing in the bigger of the two, which is unfortunately infested with Crassula helmsii, but the second produced the goods - a lot, over a dozen Smooth Newts and this little beauty, a female Great Crested Newt. A few minutes later a male was seen but not grabbed for the in the hand shot.

We are looking forward to getting plenty of ponds surveyed this season especially along the North Blackpool Pond Trail. Local amphianists are welcome to get in touch if they feel like jining in, even records of Frogs and Toads are needed as they have been sadly overlooked in the offical record schemes - something we intend to rectify.
This arvo we went to the nature reserve for a couple of hours or three.
What started out a bit dull and overcast ended up bright and sunny.
We had...
15 Lapwings and an Oystercatcher, a singing Reed Bunting and at least seven more at the Feeding Station, 13 Shovelers and a huge 1st winter Great Black Backed Gull in the middle of the mere, 51 Teal were counted but Goldeneye numbers could have been anywher between four and 14! Duck numbers are well down now. A Sparrowhawk whaped over the east end where there were no more than 29 Linnets and three Fieldfares on the wires. as we were shod in wellies we had a tromp around the wet flush in case of Jack Snipe - none there. At the opposite end we were told that a Chiffchaff had been singing earlier, almost definitely an over-wintering bird rather than a fresh arrival, we tried whistling the 'tune' but didn't get a reply. Our first Bumble Bee was seen here but we were unable to ID it. The Feeding Station held a nice flock of eight Long Tailed Tits and a Coal Tit but we didn't see the Tree Sparrows or Bramblings today.
when the sun came out a fair few gulls came in to bathe and we fired off a hundred and one shots - all cr*p!
The first three are all the same bird - a 'normal' argenteus.

A Lesser Black Backed Gull, numbers are on the rise now even being seen around Base Camp. Nice 'venetian blind' effect on the inner primaries.

This one looks very like an argentatus - lomg white P10, large mirror on P9, long 'tongue' on P7, very restricted black over all, black on P9 and 8 doen't look like they reach the coverts but hard to tell from these quality pics.

Comments welcome
Where to next? A new Patch tomorrow along the western end of the North Blackpool Pond Trail (no website yet)
In the meantime let us know how good the photographer is in your outback.

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