Monday, 2 May 2011

Last day of freedom

The Safari was at the nature reserve yesterday arvo hoping to find some Black Terns there.

We didn't find any but the first species heard as we got through the gate was a Cetti's Warbler another was heard and a third was reported to us by another birder. Two Swifts went over, and there were a few more odding and sodding throughout our visit, as did a few Swallows and eventually three House Martins which seem to be thin in the air so far this year.

Best bird was probably the 2CY Common Gull that flew through, quite a find here in May. The other gulls all went up but it took us a while to find the culprit - not a White Stork this time but a very very high Peregrine soaring coastwards. Other raptors were represented by Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard.

butterflies were lively but unspectacular just the usual Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Green Veined White, no Orange Tips today.

The main 'event' of the safari was the honey scent of the Hawthorn blossom and the sweet fragrance of the Rosa rugosa flowers, heavenly stood in the sun out of the wind eyes shut nose open.

Several Meadow Buttercups were about to flower which got us to thinking...we haven't noticed any Creeping Buttercups yet which are usually out earlier...something to do with the very dry April perhaps, probably the warmest on record.

This morning we had to give sea-watching a miss and do a breeding bird survey along our part of the North Blackpool Pond Trail.

Not a lot to report, many of the residents have gone quiet. A Garden Warbler near the Community Orchard has be pick of the bunch although a stonking Wheatear sat on the roof of one of the bungalows was a complete surprise. In the horse paddocks a pair of Pied Wagtails hunted for flies around the you-know-what.

In the Bee Orchid zone we came across our first specimen of Bulbous Buttercup flowering this year (note the reflexed sepals clasping the stem).

Later we had a safari just out of the Fylde on the hunt for a couple of target species. The first site is a bit of Ancient woodland in a steep sided valley. Here we soon found a pair of Coal Tits, several Blue and Great Tits and a couple of Robins twittering away, a single Wren was heard singing too. High up in the canopy of a large a tree, but at eye level we watched a Goldcrest bustling about and giving short bursts of song. Eventually we found Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and a pair of Dunnocks. Over the fell side on the other side of the valley a Curlew towered and burbled away - what a great sound that is. Next door is a Scout camp and there was some serious noise coming from there in the form of a varying number of green bottles hanging on the wall, and more interesting to Frank the smell of breakfast cooking. we couldn't find the target bird here though, Redstart. The Bluebells were spectacular though.

After a second walk round and still no Redstart we set off to another site nearby. Here we had a pair of Long Tailed Tits as we got Frank out of the car. Willow Warblers were singing from everywhere, very noticable here as we didn't jot any into the notebook at our first site.

it wasn't long before we found our target species here, Tree Pipits (169). We watched as they climbed up and then parachuted down in their song flight, finishing their song with a very Guinea Pig-like four squeaks at the end. Far better to sit in the sun and watch and listen rather than just get a 'sprrrzz' as a migrant goes overhead along the coast somewhere.

Also here were Chiffchaffs, Blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and a singing Song Thush somewhere in the forest.

The pond was searched for Palmate Newts and odonata but we found neither.

At an area of regrowing clear fell we went off-piste and cautiously turned a few stones and lumps of wood over. not sure if Adders are found at this site but if they are then this patch of habbo looks the business for them - needless to say we ddin't find any, jsut a Frog. In amongst the old brash and sawn stumps clumps of Cotton Grass were in flower.

Scanning the ridge line of the higher fells to the east no raptors or Dotterels could be seen flying around - woulda been summat to ID a Dotterel at that range!
Back at Base Camp we sat in the garden watching invisible raptors soaring over...come on you Honey Buzzards...with our Extreme Photographer who is fresh back from his six month tour of Aus. In due course we may be able to tell you about some of his adventures and show you some of his pics.
Where to next? Wonder what the patches will produce this week, some good sea birds at Patch 2 and have the Whitethroats returned to Patch 1 yet, several on the NBPT survey this morning so they're not too far away.
In the meantime let us know what's parachuting into your outback.

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