Monday, 21 March 2011

Mammals ahoy

The Safari set off into a misty grey dawn accompanied by the chirruping of a House Sparrow sitting on a telly aerial on the house opposite hot on the heels of a Grey Wagtail the morning before – Patch 1 tick number 36 and unexpected.
Before we tell you today’s news we’ll start by catching up on yesterday’s safari away down south to Moore Nature Reserve, and what a good day it was too meeting up with some good old friends and enjoying a day on someone else’s absolutely cracking patch.
From the car park it was straight to the tree where the target bird has been seen regularly in the last couple of weeks. On the way we stopped to watch a mixed flock of finches feeding in the ground in the middle of the track we were about to take. Four Lesser Redpolls were the highlight of this little group and nice to see how small they are when stood next to Chaffinches and Goldfinches.
After a few minutes observing the finches we had to disturb them to stand for many minute in front of a hole peppered tree. We watched a Nuthatch come out af a hole in another tree but no activity from our quarry.
A few Redwings bobbed through while we searched for a Willow Tit we'd heard and a at the same time the first of several Chiffchaffs (128) of the day sang briefly.
At the end of the track a Bullfinch called unseen from the middle of a thicket - typical!
After the woods the river and marshes beckoned for the very high tide. On the way we passed through a wildflower meadow the bounding hedgerow of which held a few very bright Yellowhammers (aka Scrub Budgies). A few snazzily bright Reed Buntings too.
Over the river there were Buzzards aplenty and a bit of movement of Curlews. A flotilla of Wigeon competed with various hippos, crocodiles, turtles and a giant marsh mallow for water space.
Someone who shall be nameless called Marsh Harrier crossing the river - a flamin Buzzard!!! - well on Warton Marsh it would have been a harrier!
A close watch was kept on the hundreds of gulls moving down river and going to roost on the power station lagoons on the far bank but nothing of note was noted.
Moving on towards lunchtime a huge old-fashioned flock of mixed finches and buntings bounced in from the far side of the meadow. Lots of Yellowhammers in there - probably more than we ever seen together for a very long time or ever - a real spectacle - WOW they just kept coming. A small flock of Tree Sparrows was found in a hedgerow along the lane
just before we got to the car park we saw a group of birders pointing camers and scopes treewards - was it the Lesser Pecker at last? No, a Tawny Owl (129) very well hidden in an ivy covered tree.

Can't believe this was the only pic we took!

After lunch we hit the wetlands and at the first lake a real rarity a stonking male Ruddy Duck (130). almost forgotten what they looked like - almost all jhave been 'removed' from the UK now but in France, even nearer the Spanish White Headed Ducks there are lots and lots and lots...maybe our cull should have started many years ealier....controversial...discuss as one of our number said.
A Green Woodpecker (131) called most unexpectedly but we must have been the only group all day not to have seen the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

A fine day out.
Today at lunchtime we found our first Harbour Porpoise of the year, hot on the heels of several sightings along the coast over the weekend. A Grey Seal was also found but nothing avian troubled the notebook.
Where to next? More patchy stuff and hopefully more cetaceans.
In the meantime let us know what's making the holes in the trees in your outback

1 comment:

Monika said...

Sounds like a great day's birding, even without the lesser! Owls are becoming a new favorite of mine, but then again, whatever I've seen recently or am looking for is usually a "favorite".

What's the rationale behind culling ruddy ducks?