The Safari was back on Patch 1 this morning. As soon as we lefty the house a Blackcap could be heard over in the Golden Triangle. Walking round past there a Robin was singing too. In the park the Butterfly Zone was lively with 11 Woodpigeons exploding out of one of the trees. A Blackcap sang from the usual bush and a Chiffchaff was nearby. At the far end of the Butterfly Zone a Willow Warbler sounded as though it had forgotten the words, it was making a right hash of its simple descending scale crescendo. We wandered round the rest of the park in a bit of a sleepy stupor not really taking any note of anything – or at least nothing was obviously noteworthy. A quick look for firewood from the numpty with the fence wasn’t productive although he has crushed even more vegetation and taken down a fair bit of one of the park’s Elm trees – just hope there weren’t any White Letter Hairstreak eggs on it waiting to hatch. Further down the hill in the wet bottom corner there was another Blackcap singing. That was all the excitement we were able to muster from Patch 1 this morning. Our pre work Patch 2 safari wasn’t much better although this was the first morning of the year we didn’t have a hat and gloves and waterproof coat on, maybe not taking the hat was a bad idea, it wasn’t cold but it wasn’t that warm either. The slight easterly breeze made the rising tide flat calm but there was a haze from about half way out. Not much was moving, a group of two female and four male Common Scoters was just behind the dribble of surf and four Sandwich Terns flew over their heads. Away on the edge of visibility we found three Red Throated Divers and another two flew past them. Possibly the best sighting of the morning was an adult Common Gull with a 2CY youngster heading south towards the river mouth. On the beach the only action was provided by 21 Oystercatchers but several hundred more were further down to the south. Overhead we heard the grand total of two ‘alba’ Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit – big wow!!! The lunchtime session was just a bit better. As soon as we put the scope on the wall we found a distant Red Throated Diver almost in the haze but instantaneously a black shape rolled a few hundred metres beyond it – a Harbour Porpoise, then another to the right. Sorted but were there any more? A scan towards the river mouth gave us a Grey Seal but no more porpoises. Only one of the Common Scoters remained, a male. We scanned back to the porpoises but couldn’t relocate them nor the diver. Scanning back and forth several times we remained unsuccessful, they can’t have gone far. Whilst searching for them a large fish leapt clear of the water, judging its size against the nearby Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls it must have been touching a metre long – species??? At a guess according to the Ranger who used to do a bit of fishing down this end from what we saw it was possibly a Mullet. A check of the area gave no hint as to why it had jumped but we did get a Little Gull going past. Following that to see if there were any others the porpoises popped up again in the distance, they’d hardly moved!!! We watched them for several more minutes and noticed that they surfaced a few times in quick succession before disappearing beneath the wavelets for minutes on end...we never did see the Red Throated Diver again though. After work we popped along the coast to where we'd been told there were little bees resting on the sand at this site by a colleague when we told him we were going on the training course the other day. We just had to find out... When we got there disaster had struck, some one had 'tidied' up the dune edge with a dirty great JCB burying all the vertical south facing slopes.
The top right of the pic below looks as though it was a length of about 10m long of suitable habitat.
We saw one bee briefly which could possibly have been a Vernal Mining Bee although there is no Creeping Willow at this site. The VMBs might be able to use Dandelions according to Dr Carl Clee but we'll probably never know now, certainly not from this site. We did see a couple of burrows that might have been from VMBs. No wonder perfectly happy creatures wend up on the Red Data List through no fault of their own. This site is part of a County Biological Heritage Site so why someone with a digger was shifting sand on it beggers belief!!! Where to next? A big tide tomorrow so there could be a nip down to the estuary for a look-see
In the meantime let us know when the improvement occured in your outback...or didn't!