Saturday, 26 March 2011

Three safaris in one day!

The Safari has been a busy boy today! We were out on patch 1 at 06.00 but it had gone already quiet. Late last night we heard a large bird, or at least a none-passerine flying over eastwards we didn't recognise...really haven't got a clue so it must have been an oddball call from a familiar species....a triple middle pitched bark arch arch arch...arch arch arch...any suggestions?
This morning we found over 30 Frogs doing what Frogs do best in the lower pond with both the Heron and the Moorhen again. We also enjoyed a great display of diving and swooping with a bit of floppy winged slow flying from the pair of Sparrowhawks. With all the Frogs in the lower pond we thought it best to have a look at the top Frogs, they've been there looking at the size of the mass of spawn, but another Moorhen - one of them needs to swap ponds!
On the way back to Base Camp vis mig hit giddy heights when two Meadow Pipits went over and then we spotted a Greenfinch with a beakful of moss darting in to the line of big conifers.
As soon as we got back to Base Camp we necked a quick brew and headed out for the southern section of the North Blackpool Pond Trail armed and dangerous with red pen, map and clip-board. again it was fairly quiet, plenty of common stiff but not much song. Our first Chiffchaff of the morning was heard at the Community Orchard, we heard it or another not too far from here on the return leg. No drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers today, none that weren't drumming either. We had a dozen or so grounded Meadow Pipits and a few flyovers but other than those mig was confined to a single Pied Wagtail.
Strangely the pond on this section of the Trail didn't appear to have any Frog spawn what-so-ever although 75% of it is inaccessible, we'll torch it with NS and CR (check out is site later he's gone photographing Red Kite with PT today - expect stunning pics from both of them) next week under our FARG guise.
All that before 08.30!
The third safari was a mid-morning bonus as we had a couple of hours to kill while Wifey was in town. This time we had Frank again so it was off to the cliffs and a wander along Chat Alley. There was purge on dog owners who leave their mutts sh*t everywhere and we were accosted by a very senoir member of staff doing her bit on a bright and sunny morning...didn't know our AD's actually ventured out at weekends. We had a pleasant chat for a couple of minutes which was good as as soon as we parted company a Wheatear (133) nipped past - Chat Alley...well named! We didn't see it on the way back so without the stop could well have missed it. Then things looked up when two Sand Martins (134) came off the beach and flew inland.
A Meadow Pipit performed its parachuting song flight several times, they could breed on the cliffs, as could Wheatears if they didn't suffer the doggy disturbance of people throwing sticks and balls down the slope for their mutts.
A little further on we stopped to scan the sea and found a nice male Eider. Below us on the other side of the fence some nice lichens played host to a blob of Fox do-do, the first evidence of Foxes we've seen here.
Not a lot was on the very disturbed beach but we had to chance our arm at some gulls and fluked a Herring Gull with a long white P10, might have a tiny incomplete black subterminal band, and an all black P9 with a hint of mirror on the outer web, P5 has a tiny splodge on the outer web too if you look really'll need to squint! Most interestingly P8 looks to have a black mark/line at the end of the grey tongue - note to self check out other 'argenteus' pics to see how frequent this is - usually the grey merges quiet abruptly into the black. P7 is normal (phewww) with a tiny white moon.

Taking Frank down on to the beach to play in the pools as he was getting hot, yes it was turning in to a nice spring morning, we came across this largish lump of sea-coal washed up from the submerged coal seam. The left side has undergone some heating at some stage in its millions of years, or only 6500 if you're that way inclined, as it has been turned to coke and the bubbles left by escaping gas can be seen - its a shinier balck too and has lost its stratification.

Almost at the end of the safari we sportted JP sat on the bench with his scope pointing seawards. We gave Frank a breather and stopped for a chat, he'd done well with a Harbour Porpoise close inshore and a Gannet. While we were chatting another Wheatear bounced past as did a couple of Meadow Pipits. A fly-by Shelduck was a good find for this stretch of the coast. Below us 10 Redshankls dropped in to a runnel on the beach. A few Bumble Bees headed north at height over the beach, do they migrate too? This nature stuff keeps throwing up questions - no matter how much you think you know there's always more questions to answer...and kids today keep saying they're
The J dropped the bombshell from his 21.00 last night a message had come in of a flock of NINE Waxwings at the offices next door to Base Camp - dunno who had them but they must have been less than 100 yards from Base Camp!
This 'slighthly' blurred pic is to keep you on your toes - what is it and why? Don't say Sh*tehawk we need more than that!
Where to next? Might even get a fourth safari later today!!!
In the meantime let us know whose chatting in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Looks like a LBB GULL. can I see yellow legs ? very pale below, with dark under wing primaries. Maybe one of them very dark backed ones from oop north ?

Monika said...

Two more year birds! I have to say the sightings I'm most jealous of is the eider....I've never seen one!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Sorry warren - its the other one - look at the size of the bill and that large amoumnt of whiter on the P tips...put it in cos I think it's the first GBBG I've got a pic of...more today though.

Moniker..Eider you come over here and see them or wait for a vagrant over your side!
PS having great difficulty accessing your blog is there a problem with it keep getting error message saying unable to open site....operation aborted - any ideas?