Back at work it was our first watch over Patch 2 of the ‘summer’ and the tide was not long on the rise, there were dark clouds this side of the horizon and a hint of mizzle in the air. A couple of scans gave us nothing but a couple of Herring Gulls mooching about. Then we noticed a tern dart down towards the water but not really in a manner that would indicate feeding. Almost instantaneously a dark shape launched itself out of the trough and rose above the tern which then took evasive action. Skuas are worth the wait as this one’s flying display was stupendous, how agile are they for such a big bird easily matching, even out manoeuvring, the dodging tern. After a few seconds above the waves we were able to get enough on it for an ID – a dark morph Pomarine Skua (185; 58)...not a species we’ve seen too many of over the years and a welcome addition to Patch 2’s tally. After watching it disappear in to the on coming squall we had another couple of scans which gave us precisely nothing! What a fluky time to put the scope on the wall!!!
Mid-morning we were called to an unexpected but very welcome site visit. At this site we are developing the habitat for Water Voles. They have been suspected of being in the area for a long time but recent surveys by the Environment Agency have confirmed their presence –
now we just have to confirm the Grass Snakes too for which a bit of warmer weather wouldn’t go amiss – so new dykes, banks and ponds are going to be dug. Should help the invisible Grass Snakes and visible amphibians too. The existing pond on the site is almost dry and is going to be deepened in a series of ledges – gonna be a great little bit of habbo creation. Some nice patches of Ragged Robin were along the side of the Water Vole’s dyke.
The field on the other side has been over grazed for a few years but this year horses have been excluded and the Ox-eye Daisies have put on a bit of a spectacle – shame it’s earmarked for development, given the chance it's one of the best wildflower areas in town.
Patch 1 came up late trumps this evening with it's first Kestrel (59) of the year and a young Magpie succumbed to the guile and speed of our resident male Sparrowhawk.
Have a butchers at our pics from yesterday’s safari over to the South-side. The Safari isn't overly keen on Avocets but they are a welcome addition to the North-west's avifauna.
Redshanks were everywhere and severa chicks were noted.
anyone know the name of this Mirid Bug?
Marsh Orchids were numerous at our second site, but is Northern Marsh or Southern Marsh or a hybrid?
Two tonnes of prime habitat restorer!!! An Old English Longhorn bull.
The 1st winter Little Gull we embarrasingly overlooked and had to go back for when another birder wasn't too sure what it was and asked for confirmation using AB's scope...ouch!!!
An Ichneumeon Wasp on the inside of the hide window - survived the rampages of the moth eating Little Owl then...
A very dapper Chaffinch.
Good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits were seen, this is the best of a poor set of digiscoped pics.
Don't think we've ever seen Dunlin so close before...
Close enough to see their prey items they've gleaned from the bottom of the lagoon.
Where to next? More patchy stuff – will 1 or 2 bring home the bacon tomorrow?
In the meantime let us know whose regurgitating what in your outback.