Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Good start great finish?

The Safari had a shock this morning. We were walking up the hill minding our own business listening to the songs of Wrens, Dunnocks and a Robin when we heard a loud whoosh of wind through feathers as a Sparrowhawk veered inches over our head and in to the Holly bush. From the angle of attack it could have been using us as cover to get close unseen by any of 50 or so Goldfinches that came clattering out of the bush splitting up in to two flocks. Don’t know if the attack was successful as we didn’t see the Sparrowhawk again once it had disappeared in to the foliage...An exciting start to the day.
As we walked on Blackbirds were everywhere but little song from them, they’d probably done that in the darkness before dawn and were now in territorial battle or feeding mode. Wrens too were very obvious; thankfully the freezing winter doesn’t seem to have affected them too badly round here.
As we entered the park a Woodcock (P1; 34) got up from under the thicket away to our left, don’t think it was us that flushed it as we were a good ten yards away and Frank was on the path on his lead rather than snuffling about in the undergrowth. A little further on we watched a male Sparrowhawk displaying above the tree tops.
Once again it was very misty on Patch 1 and other than 1000 or so Oystercatchers beyond our southern boundary there wasn’t much of note – a section of the beach was black with them. It was difficult to see anything out at sea but a few Common Scoters were just about close enough to risk a digiscope pic, a little more light wouldn’t have gone a miss though.

Whilst attempting to get these pics the male Eider that has been hanging around all week flew past.
At lunchtime the conditions were slightly improved and we could see that there were a lot of Common Scoters, easily 1000 or more, a huge flock of around 500 flew northwards at the edge of the gloom.
On the beach we counted just short of 100 Redshanks wandering about up and down the wall and in and out of the runnel, although we’d hazard a guess that a few more were knocking about nearby to take us into triple figures. There were eight Turnstones too and we heard at least one other calling from the other side of the wall below us.
The gulls, mostly Herring Gulls, gave us reasonable views of every variation of immature plumage imaginable but nothing to shout about.
After tea it was a safari out with NS to a local wetland site which BEAT Naturewatch designed and funded. With our torches we scanned the pond margins and deeper water for any amphibians. With the weather being mild and damp it wasn’t long before we found our first...Back in a bit to let you know what we found...
Where to next? Where ever we the Safari ends up can we have less of the murk please.
In the meantime let us know what’s lurking in the murk in your outback.

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