The Safari was at the nature reserve this morning in lovely spring sunshine. However it was heads down 'helping' a young volunteer and his mum clear some excess willow trees from in front of a viewing area. As we started we first heard then saw a Little Grebe (116) which landed in front of us but was soon lost to view behind the tall fringing reeds. Back at Base Camp whilst adding the record to our spreadsheet we spotted a glaring omission...what no Mallard on there - oops (117). If only all new year birds were so easy!
After a few hours of graft all was done along the south bank, but unfortunately we didn't have access to the boat so work on the island will have to wait. The main reason we had planned to turn up was rather mercenary - we'd hoped the island work party might have flushed us a Jack Snipe. As it was at the end of the session as we were collecting in the tools a Woodcock was flushed from somewhere and did a curcuit over our heads. A site year bird and close but not close enough.
After the tools had been put away we spent a while in the Feeding Station which was as busy with punters as with birds, always nice to see families out on the reserve on a sunny Sunday rather than traipsing the kids round the endless capitalist religion that is shopping. The usual suspects were there; we only saw one Tree Sparrow briefly and didn't get the Bramblings or any Siskins but Reed Buntings and Chaffinches aplenty and several canary bright Greenfinches. A female Kestrel hovered briefly overhead sending everything dashing for cover. We could have stayed out longer was enough for Frank for one day. Unlocking the gate to get out we nearly trod on a queen White Tailed Bumble Bee struggling to get airborne - we put it to one side while we drove therough the gate, got the camera out...gone!
Our nature reserve total now stands at 71.
Followed all that with a short safari to see the Ring Necked Duck on the local lake, where we met a very nice young chap called Callum and his mum who'd come all the way down the hill from Blackburn, ...It was there but right out in the middle so you probably won't get to see the pics. Callum's were miles better than ours. Also there was a nice selection of ducks, a few Tufted Ducks, a single Pochard, seven Teal, a pair of both Shoveler and Gadwall. Somewhere behind us a Great Spotted Woodpecker 'chipped' and overhead a small party of Long Tailed Tits bumbled their way through the twigs. Didn't really take much notice of anything else but three Herons were hard to miss and the local Mute Swan was giving serious grief to the Canada Geese.
Where to next? Let's hope it's a decent safari tomorrow, one of the potential year birds was knocked off today but there are still five or six others we could get to close that gap Monika has opened up.
In the meantime let us know whose been hacking at what in your outback.