Friday, 6 May 2011

Plenty of cats and dogs

The Safari lay in bed before the alarm went off this morning listening to the rain bouncing off the roof tiles. Not good news for anyone wanting to come down for a blimp at the Iberian Chiffy.
We headed out onto Patch 1 togged up in waterproofs but did take the bins this time...just in case...
We needn’t have bothered it was pretty quite out there the heavy overnight rain had definitely put the dampers on things. At least the Blackbirds were happy that the ground is no longer baked bone dry and the worms should be easier to catch.
In the park we struggled to hear much at all with the hood up against the rain. A few half-hearted Blackbirds, a Wren or two and a Dunnock was all that were singing. Not even a Blackcap was heard. The ‘Ibe’ had been heard and seen(!) in the far corner yesterday (PK had crossed the river on his trip up north and got a Garden Warbler too – flippin’ cheek of it...we’ve not had one here yet this year) so we had a wander over that way where we had a ‘normal’ Chiffchaff, close but not the real deal. Standing round in the rain for quarter of an hour for no reward wasn’t much fun so we set off back to Base Camp, at the Butterfly Zone we met the first birder off the day on the prowl who, like us, hadn’t connected yet, we left him with instructions to put the news out if he struck lucky as we knew of at least a couple of people who were hoping to get down for a shuffy at some stage during the day. In the Butterfly Zone we just about heard a bit of scratchy song from the Whitethroat and another ‘normal’ Chiffchaff but not a sniff of the ‘Ibe’.
Out on Patch 2 the tide was well out and over the sea visibility was worse than awful! The beach held 38 Oystercatchers later joined by two more from over the other side of the railway line – breeding on a rooftop somewhere? – but not a lot else.
A scan of the sea gave us two Grey Seals one either side of the outfall pipe not far behind the gently lapping surf. Whilst watching these bobbing about like giant corks a tidy flock of nine Grey Plovers flew past going south – grey seemed to be the order of the day! A few Swallows tazzed north over the beach and three Sandwich Terns drifted sort of aimlessly past. Not the best of safaris but at least a little better than it first appeared.
By lunchtime there had been no improvement, if anything it was worse. Visibility was still very poor and the tide had covered the beach. Two Gannets easing their way north in the middle distance and a Great Crested Grebe were all we could find until three Turnstones raced past. Best was the Dunnock singing away from the works garden across the road behind us. On the way back we saw our first House Sparrow fledgling of the year sat on the raised planters all a quiver demanding yet more food from its parents.
After work we headed back to Patch 1 where MJ was already watching a Spotted Flycatcher (173, P1 55) which he kindly put us on to. What a great year Patch 1 is having!!! Immediately below the flycatcher was a Lesser Whitethroat rattling away while it skulked around trying unsuccessfully to remain invisible. With back up we took the bins and cameras to the patch of bushes the 'Ibe' was last seen in near the kids playground - always dodgy ground!!! A Goldcrest sang higher up the hill and a Moorhen 'prukked' from the pond. Eventually a flit was seen and after an interminable few minutes it showed very well and we were able to note the salient features and were even able to point it out to some of the teenagers who had come over to ask if we've seen 'The Bird' yet. Neither of us had a decent camera with us bit CR turned up with his monster lens and managed to get one pic from the very active little blighter, so don't go pinching it please. Shame about the vegetation in the way but it really is a lively little begger.

Where to next? The weekend promises a safari or two but to who knows where – could well be weather dependant. But before that there's the small matter of a couple of bottles of Peroni, bout time we celebrated in style!
In the meantime let us know who’s demanding in your outback


cliff said...

Dave - thanks for the heads up re. the Iberian Chaffy & Flycatcher, after you left I could only spare 30 mins which was just about the same period the rain held off. I wouldn't worry about anyone "pinching" my Chiffchaff photo, it's a shocker that deffo falls into record shot category. I didn't hang about to try for more 'cos of the proximity of the kids playground. Maurice tried to find the Spotted Flycatcher for me but no joy.
BTW - re your House Spuggies, I've been photo'ing newly fledged Sparrows in the garden for about a week now, I'll get some shots processed and onto my website tomorrow.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Will set Frank on anyone who dares try to knick your pics, Cliff - he'll lick em to death!
Didn't see the spot fly when I got back either but it was probably still about somewhere.



Zac Hinchcliffe said...

Hi Dave. As you are the finder, what are your opinions on the photo's I got of the 'second' bird on my blog. Do you think this is the bird you saw? I am intuiged as this would mean several other birds saw the bird, and also mean that I didnt just get a photo of a twig with a bird behind it! cheers Zac

Zac Hinchcliffe said...

Hi Dave. I'm away from My laptop at the minute due to no internet, but when I get home tonight, i'll have a gander at the other 10000000's of pics I took of the bird haha. Hopefully one pic will show the primary pattern which would aid ID. cheers Zac