Thursday, 18 August 2011

Captain calling crazee crew

The Safari didn’t get very far on Patch 1 this morning, just far enough to witness another spectacular dawn.
We were back on Great Crested Newt mitigation duties and again didn’t find a single amphibian. The overnight spiders had been busy weaving their webs over the very dewy grass foretelling of a decent day ahead. It went cold last night, well down into single figures for the first time in ages and this morning had a distinctly autumnal feel about it. Other than the spiders’ webs only a few Brown Lipped Banded Snails were up and about. Overhead a small number of House Martins chittered.
Out on Patch 2 the sea was flat calm and the light superb but only a few Sandwich and Common Terns blogged about.
Later it was all excitement. The rising tide had brought a horizon’s worth of Common Scoters into view, not as many as last week but still about 3000 and several smaller flocks much closer in. Two Grey seals were also found.
As we scanned we’d spotted three youths in a large inflatable about 500 yards off shore. They seemed to be anchored and looked like they’d been swimming, they were enjoying a bit of lunch, pop and crisps, and were in good spirits. Then the Coastguard turned up and asked for a look through our scope. As they had no outboard he scrambled the local lifeboat.... minutes later the lads heard it coming and we could lip read them say ‘where’s that going?’ – then as it slowed they twigged it was coming to them and they burst out laughing. Before long their boat was tied alongside and they were on board being taken to the beach to the south probably for a stern ticking off.
Mid-afternoon was pond-dipping time. A small group of very enthusiastic youngsters grabbed the nets and filled the trays with 3-Spined Sticklebacks (these will have to be removed at the end of the season as they eat everything else in the pond!). A couple of the males were still in their red breeding finery. Last time out we thought we’d found a fourth species of snail to go with the Greater Pond Snail, the Wandering Snail and the Keeled Ramshorn....but our fourth was identified as a juvenile Greater Pond Snail. Well today the snail jackpot was hit when one of the boys, only a few minutes into the session, came up with a decent sized specimen of a Common Ramshorn in his net...result...and more intriguingly how long has that been hiding in there? It was good to see the Common Darter nymph again looking bigger and chunkier now. Never seen an adult here, dragonflies of any species are rare visitors to the gardens here.
During the ensuing watery mayhem a Sparrowhawk caused severe consternation amongst the Starlings, Feral Pigeons and gulls on the field behind us – another rare visitor to our grounds.

Where to next? More patchy stuff.

In the meantime let us know whose adrift in your outback.

No comments: