Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cry freedom!!!

The Safari was at last able to play the 'get out of jail free card' today. As Wifey hit the shops with mother-in-law we were dropped off at the nature reserve with Frank for an hour or so...bliss, but it was a bit too much as there is a trickle of blood coming from one of the many stitch lines as we type.
So what did we see? Other than Frank diving into every mud filled  puddle, think he was glad to be out too, not a great lot but it was a beautiful day, rather too mild and sunny if anything.
Our first thought was to see if we could find any Jack Snipe that may have come in on the south easterlies, it's a bit early as some frost, that we haven't had yet, is usually needed before any are seen.
On the way we spotted a flock of 16 Long Tailed Tits flitting from tree to tree along the waters edge. With them were a couple of Great Tits and a Blue Tit, but nothing more interesting.
Over the bridge we had a quick look down the dyke for a Kingfisher, didn't really expect to see one and the dyke gad recently been cleared for the winter so bankside vegetation was lacking.
Within a few yards we heard a Cetti's Warbler singing. Sitting on the nearby form we watched the reed edge for any sign of a flit - none seen but a second soon answered it from a little way to the right. Between them a Water Rail squealed. Behind us in the field across the dyke  was a skein of at least a coupla hundred Pink Footed Geese, with them were between 20 and 30 swans we'd seen from the car on the way down but from the bench they were out of sight so we don't know if they were Whoopers or just the local gang of Mutes. The warmth brought out a few butterflies, all Red Admirals all going south and a Migrant Hawker dragonfly.
Short peeks in two likely Jack Snipe spots none were found but at the first there were more Migrant Hawkers and a pair of Common Darters were in tandem. 
Leaving the reserve we wandered round to the Long Eared Owls' favourite bushes. We stood and scanned and walked a few more places and stood and scanned again but like the Jack Snipe we really need a frost, this time not to bring them in but to drop the leaves so that they can be seen.
Not sure what has happened to the hedge, perhaps it has been cut to enable easier viewing, if not it ought to have been trimmed vertically or above the top rail at an angle rather than having its top ripped off...after all it is inside the reserve. Nearby we noticed a hole had been cut in the wire so that the dog walkers could take a short cut right past the owls...what's with dog walkers; why do they think they can take their mutts absolutely anywhere - especially where they're not wanted?
There wasn't much along the rest of the track with it being mid-afternoon. The feeding station was busyish with  the usual feederphile species; two Rabbits fed on spilt seeds alongside four female Pheasants.
Wifey was now ready to pick us up so we didn't get a chance to have look on the water, a shame as there were a fair few gulls present. Looked almost tropical in the afternoon sunshine...those reeds have really taken a hammering from the 40,000 roosting Starlings - should make spotting any Bitterns or Otters later in the year a bit easier though.
Central section of mere
Western end of mere
Where to next? Weather permitting we might get a short walk along the nearest stretch of the Pond Trail in the morning.
In the meantime let us know what you hope the frost will bring down.


Christian said...

Get out of jail free card! Hilarious stuff. Regarding the LEOs: I just don't think the dog walkers have ever really had the pleasure of seeing them, perhaps if they had, then they might have some respect for the lovely creature.

Warren Baker said...

Take it easy Davo, or you'll be holed up forever :-)

I agree with you about needing some frost, Ive put a frosty photo on my blog today to remind us what it looks like!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Christian, most of them don't give a monkey's cuss, some even throw things at them or send the dogs in under the bushes to deliberately try to disturb them :(

Warren - frost looks a week or more away having just seen the Countryfile forecast


Christian said...

I can't believe you've told me that! These people should be locked up. I'm no Frank Bruno frame, but I think I'd struggle to hold myself back if I saw that. Idiots (I want to use a stronger word but I won't on such a lovely blog!)

Anonymous said...

Are the starlings still displaying? I missed them last year but would like to come and try again this weekend- will it be worth it? A bit earlier than last time.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Chramm, only 150,000 on evening of 31st Oct - that's a lot for the reserve!

Thanks for stoppin by