Sunday, 4 September 2011

That's autumn off the mark then - it's official

The Safari ventured out into the heavy drizzle yesterday afternoon in the hope of some migrants along Chat Alley. We soon found a passing Pied Wagtail and the weather looked like it might brighten up in a bit.

It didn't, the drizzle stopped then started again with a vengeance but it helped keep birds static rather than continuing their southwards march. We got in to some Wheatears fairly soon. Also up on the cliffs was this unknown seaside succulent plant, Orache sp?, showing a nice bit of autumn colour...we probably ought to know it.

Not so nice a find was this abomination discarded well within reachof an average eight year old. Not entirely sure what the black thing its's stuck into is, looks like it might have been a living thing at some time.

Far more appealing was this Herring Gull

which hopped down onto a slightly lower ledge and gave us the eye

Not much further on we came across this recently fledged Lesser Black Backed Gull, it's mastery of flight needed some further development

and in it's rather vulnerable spending too much time on the ground state ma n da were dive bombing anyone and anything that came too close...a small dog bore the brunt of a concerted attack which was chased for much further than humans were.

Wheatears were order of the day, we got a finally tally on the outward leg of 19; but no Whinchats. On the way back we took the lower walk and were agin subjected to being 'moved along' by the gulls. By carefully watching and staying well out from the base of the cliffs we counted 24 Wheatears (and no Whinchats) on the return leg and don't think we double counted any. Might have even missed a few as up on the top of the cliff there were odd ones perched on the fence behind the Illuminations tableaux.

At the boating pool/kart track we found a flurry of grounded 'Alba' Wagtails, at least one was a full blown White Wagtail, our first of the year! Also there were three Swallows sat on the wall trying to shelter from the rain.

Not a bad safari down Chat Alley and there was even a Wheatear on Pipit Slab!
Later tha night a quick shorthened trip round Patch 1 gave us a roosting Peregrine which was still there this morning.

Also noticeable this morning were good numbers of uncounted 'ticking' Robins and 'chacking' Blackbirds. A Chiffchaff was heard on the edge of the park then at the top by the road we met up with a mixed flock of tits which had at least three Goldcrests and at least one more Chiffchaff...that's it then; if there's hoards of Wheatears and then early morning Goldcrests it must be autumn!
Later we enjoyed a very summery day on the nature reserve which was alive with dragonflies and butterflies, Small Tortoiseshells being refreshingly numerous after a run of poor years. Whilst listening to a Cetti's Warbler calling we watched three Brown Hawkers fly past in 'tandem', not long after four flew past in tandem, which we somehow missed'. Migrant hawkers were much in evidence and we saw what was either a Common or Southern Hawker neither of which are numerous here. Common Darters disappointed though - usually they are top of the dragon charts but only two were seen this arvo.

In the end we heard short snatches of song from two Cetti's Warblers ( a third was also heard by others) and two Chiffchaffs. Heard a Blackcap and watched a Sparrowhawk drift south at height being mobbed by about 30 or so Swallows and House Martins. Over the far fields a Buzzard soared and a Kestrel hovered.

As we were leaving AB's mum turned up to give him a lift home and he wanted to show her some Hawkmmoth caterpillars found on the afternoon's Junior Rangers walk, so we tagged along in the hope of a pic as none we'd taken earlier were any good.

It's on the underside of a White Poplar leaf which could be a give away to its identity as a Poplar Hawkmoth.

Here the leaf is being expertly wrangled into position by AB's mum for a side shot.

Where to next? OHHHHHH CRIKEYYYYYYY...just got a txt from AB about a MARBLED DUCK not far away!!! Do we ignore it as a deffo escape or go and get it as a banker just in case??????

In the meantime let us know what you do with dubious waterfowl in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Wheatears galore Dave :-) You had some good sightings today despite the rain!