Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Still a bit too wintery

The Safari was out late last night and saw the Fox for the first time in a while. This morning there was a crisp frost and that had the effect of keeping the birds fairly quiet. In Magpie Wood it was light enough for most of the Magpies to have dispersed but 21 Woodpigeons and the pair of Carrion Crows still snoozed in the tallest branches.
In the park’s butterfly zone four Wrens trilled at each other and the usual Song Thrush seems to have moved from one side of the track to the other, if, of course, it is actually the same individual.
On Patch 2 the tide was a long way out and there was a thick mist over the sea so we ignored that and concentrated on the waders working along the water’s edge. 204 Oystercatchers were diligently counted along with 90 Sanderlings. Mixed in with them were some of the 20 Redshanks seen, the others being in the runnel by the wall. Five Curlews were resting on the beach; oh we do like the sound of their call. Over on the outfall pipe we could only see only two Turnstones but there were also two Cormorants drying their wings at the very far end of the pipe their feet being lapped by the waves, two more where down on the beach to the south. There were very few gulls to work through this morning.
By lunchtime the tide was almost full and well up the wall. With a brisk and didtinctly chilly westerly breeze creating a heavy chop with waves crashing against the wall a group of about a dozen Redshanks tried to roost on the flat top of the wall but there were too many people about for them and they gave up and moved off somewhere more secluded after being disturbed several times.
Out at sea we found no more than 100 Common Scoters, some of the small flocks close enough to distinguish the males from the females and a couple of males close enough to see the yellow on their bills, when they weren’t stuck deep in the troughs that is.
That was about it other than a few gulls riding the up-draughts off the wall and a couple of distant fly by Cormorants. Far too choppy today to bee able to see any of the Harbour Porpoises that were around at the end of last week just to the north of us. There seemed to be a bit of an influx which might well be related to an influx of Codling and Whiting as the fishermen were reporting these prey species being caught at the time.
Where to next? Could be an interesting day tomorrow as we are teaching in school - all you ever wnated to know about Fantastic Mr Fox.
In the meantime let us know if winter is still hanging on in there in your outback.
Late edit:- Forgot to mention the best sightings of the day...duhhh. In the park this morning the little male Sparrowhawk was doing display flights over the trees and on the way back to Base Camp we witnessed the wildlife spectacle of the day when a wave of Starlings filled the pinky dawn sky heading out east, at least 5000 of them perhaps 7500 maybe more - they filled the horizon in a wide arc. Then whilst we were playing footy this evening the female Peregrine was hiding behind the comms cables trying to shelter from the biting wind.
Also heard that this morning the Fox 'almost attacked' two small dogs on their lead!!! Well the Safari wasn't there so can't really comment on what did or didn't happen but it sounds extremely unlikely to us. When we saw it last night we sat crouched down very quietly and watched until it saw us and then was off like a shot into the Golden Triangle. what we think may have happened is that the person has come from down-wind and caught it unawares in the open and it has turned looked at them stood stock still for a moment and then legged it - launched an attack - we don't think so...not even in self-defence!


Warren Baker said...

Hope you teach that Mr fox is much picked on creature, who just wants to make a living :-)

Bet That Starling flock looked great Dave :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Starlings were certainly an impressive sight.

My Fox will get a fair hearing and some serious myth busting. The school has a fox that lives under one of the sheds - bet none of the kids have ever seen one though.