Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Dashed out between rain storms

The Safari left Base Camp for Patch 1 without a coat in sunshine this morning, 100 yards later we were dripping wet! We’d dashed out between heavy showers and ended up slap bang in the middle of one. We spent most of our time out on the patch sheltering under the dense canopy of a large Sycamore tree waiting for the lashing rain to subside enough for a sprint back to Base Camp. Nothing of note was noted! We do desperately need the rain though, the recently planted trees along the main road are really struggling and we are now expecting heavy losses. They have endured drought, horrendous winds and a couple of days of blistering sunshine – they need a serious amount of rain to help them through the next few weeks; it’s not often we ask for a cool wet summer!!!!
The showers were still rattling against the windows at work and we were giving up hope of getting over the road to Patch 2. However a brief sunny interlude had us grabbing the scope from the draw and making a dash for it. Worth the risk too...A Grey Seal was bottling away to the south and another much closer out in front of us. Whilst scanning for more we came across a tern jinking and diving about in the middle distance, a Little Tern, a really good find as they are infrequent off this stretch of coast. Way out towards the horizon the much more familiar form of a Gannet cruised northwards with no sign of any fishing behaviour.
The tide was low and there were a good many gulls on the beach, almost all Herrings with a handful of Lesser Black Backs and Black Heads thrown in for good measure. Further down the beach a Great Black Backed Gull menacingly stalked the shallows but just by the outfall pipe we found the gull of the day, an adult Common Gull which can be hard to come by in June.
By lunchtime the beach was full of fishermen and nothing else. Several concerted scans of the sea gave us nothing but a lone male Common Scoter.
Then news came in from the Rangers that a Barn Owl was out and about hunting. Not got Barny on the Year List Challenge yet so a safari over there in the near future is deffo one the cards. Other owly news is that the nearby(ish) local Eagle Owls are enjoying a good season so we’ll have to nip up to have a look at them too...always a good hike up the valley with the potential to see plenty of other interesting stuff too.

No chance to get to the Water Vole site for some pics of the works today - should be able to manage half an hour tomorrow.
Where to next? Might get two proper patch safaris in tomorrow :)
In the meantime let us know what’s drifting along the hazy horizon in your outback.

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