Monday, 13 June 2011


The Safari has been looking at a bid being worked on by the BEAT Naturewatch group and partners for extra habitat and access works around the nature reserve and its environs. As with all funding these days you don’t just get the money to do the work you have to justify it by encouraging people from all walks of life to join in and the nearer your project is to ‘deprived’ areas so much the better. Well we should be OK as much of Blackpool regularly finds itself in the top 10 of the most deprived areas in the whole country and a trip through the town centre at any time of day or night will confirm can you stomach Tennant’s Super at 8 o’clock in the morning? Although it has to be said that the imbibers of such strange liquor are probably about to turn in for the day after a long night of doing very little.
But are they deprived or just depraved?

Within half an hour’s walk from the deprivation of the town centre in the last few days we have seen a pod of Bottle Nosed Dolphins fishing, watched a Barn Owl hunting voles for its young whilst listening to the evening chorus with hardly a man-made sound to be heard, found two endangered Great Crested Newts and marvelled at the wing-beat free flight of Manx Shearwaters, all that is but a mere snippet of the wonderful wildlife available on tap in our town at any one time. Sorry but that smacks of privileged rather than deprived!
This morning Patch 1 in the heavy rain only gave us the now regular(?) Great Spotted Woodpecker and the Sparrowhawk’s tail, although driving up the hill on the way to work later we noticed that the Peregrine was once again on its ledge on the tower – another privilege!
Patch 2 before work was well worth the drizzly visit. No sooner had we put the scope on the wall and peered through the eyepiece than we found a pale phase Pomarine Skua arching its way through the substantial waves – now seen two (+ one 'probable' ) of these this year almost doubling our lifetime tally!!! More was to come though; whilst watching the Pom track southwards we spotted a Fulmar (P2 # 60) coming towards us much closer in - superb views. This was a good find for Patch 2, we’re fairly sure it was a patch tick! A handful of Gannets completed the morning’s sightings.
At lunchtime a similar thing happened, we put the scope on the wall and no sooner started to take a look and found another Fulmar – how weird was that! Don’t think we’ve ever had two in a day from anywhere along this coast not even during Leach’s Petrel autumn gales! In the distance a few Manx Shearwaters and Gannets mooched about – no matter how well Gannets can fly, and they are pretty majestic, their efforts are paltry when compared to the Manxies; they are an order of magnitude better – we watched one for over a couple of miles or more and not once did it need a wing beat – just flipping from side to side using the updraughts from the waves to tirelessly cruise along at a cracking pace - - awesome. More were seen close in making their way south, could have been a big cruising circle involving some of the same birds but definitely we were privileged to witness them pass by so close!

Out by the marker buoy a dark raincloud meant the thirty or so Gannets stood out brilliant white while, again nearer in, a younger darker bird cruised past through the troughs giving excellent views. We were only out about twenty spirit lifting minutes but definitely felt privileged rather than deprived. Just need to find a way of encouraging all those ‘others’ into getting involved with the wonders of the natural world on their doorstep...well it does give a better high than drugs... and costs a lot less (our cheapo scope only cost the same as a few heroin fixes)...maybe that’s the way to sell it to em...

Patch 1 also gave us a patch 'lifer'. An old tent has been lying under the hedge for a couple of years. We often lift it up to see if there any amphibians under it but this evening was better - a Short Tailed Field Vole - didn't know there were any left on this isolated field. well wadda yer know there is!

A search for butterflies in the afternoon sunshine didn't give us anything other than Speckled Woods. The Sparrowhawks may have fledged as there was some anxious calling going on near the empty nest.

Where to next? The youngsters hv txtd wnting to meet up on the prom early 2moz - can't say we blame them!

In the meantime let us know what privileges have come your way from your outback.

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