Saturday, 1 October 2011

Quantity over quality

The Safari was out at Chat Alley for first light and gave it two whole English hours vis migging. A good number of Meadow Pipits were on the move after the first half hour but nott really a lot else.

Here's the tally:-

Pink Footed Goose - 1 (might have been grounded on the beach) + 7.

Meadow Pipit - at least 374, many of the early ones were heard only bbut later everywhere we looked there were small groups flying past. At the very end the only one we saw land was only six feet away...and no camera!!

34 'alba' Wagtails - all those seen were Pieds apart from one White, at the boating pool again.

Three Wheatears along the walk out were added to at Pipit Slab by two more feeding on the patches of weeds growing out of the cracks in the rocks.

The only 'different' bird was a Chaffinch heard to 'chhupp' with a small group of Meadow Pipits overhead.

At sea a total of 12 Eiders were counted and of the 20 or so uncounted Cormorants one still had its white thigh patches.

A Great Black Backed Gull wrung the last vestiges of life out of a Lesser Spotted Catshark, several others had succumbed to the anglers during the night lying dead on the beach but one was still very much alive and kicking in a pool at the base of the wall - a long wait for the tide to come back in though!

So with so many Meadow Pipits in the air we sort of hoped there would be a few more species recorded.

Back at Base Camp there was the first Wren in the garden for a while and a Jackdaw on the garage roof was probably a first grounded record.

A quick spin up the hill gave us a Peregrine on the tower and a Goldcrest in a neighbour's garden.

Once chores were done we invited one of the young uns round and it was twitching time. The Land Rover was pointed off up the motorway to the north. On route we had a chance encounter with one of our bezzy non-birding mates, and his mad mutt Frank's mate Benny, who lives out that way.

On the marsh a Raven called and we discovered that we'd arrived just minutes too late as the two Pectoral Sandpipers had minutes earlier headed off down river. The Buff Breasted Sandpiper (197), on the other hand, was still on the mud-flats and showing well only 80 yards away.

Spot the young-un.

What a beauty, shame our digi-scoping effort doesn't do the speckly little fella justice - a really really really nice bird.
A little way down the estuary we had a look at the waders which the Pectoral Sandpipers had been associating with. Ringed Plovers, Lapwings, a single Dunlin, two Little Stints and three Curlew Sandpipers (198)...bogey bird successsfully negotiated.
A Marsh Tit called in the car park area and in the pools we found a few Sand Gobies.
We hoped the Pecs would reappear but when we saw the Kent Bore come up the river it was time to get off the marsh so we headed back to try for the Bearded Tits at the big reserve.
At the reserve we didn't get sight nor sound of the Beardies but did hear a Red Deer bellow. More Marsh Tits were heard and one seen. A Marsh Harrier still quatered the reedbeds.
Moving down to another hide a Cetti's Warbler was giving a strange subdued sub-song, the first we've heard in the part of the reserve. Another Marsh Harrier wafted over the top of the reeds upsetting the Teal of which there were plenty. Amongst the Teal were a couple of Black Tailed Godwits.

Drake Teal just beginning to colour up.

Those new feathers must be itchy as they come through as lots of birds were bathing and preening.

The females are almost as nicely marked as the Buff Breasted Sandpiper, the water was very clear but we couldn't quite see what they were dabbling for.

King of the hill was this cracking Red Deer stag.

He spent most of his time crashed out in the heat looking for all the world like a giant Frank with exotic headgear.

The journey provided interesting road-kill. No Hedgehogs - which makes you wonder what's happening to their population surely they haven't evolved to avoid wheels in the last two or three years - a Polecat (hybrid?) was pick of the bunch. A single Fox was easily beaten into a sad second place by a Badger - didn't think there were any in that part of the county.

A good day ou in the very warm autumn sunshine!

Where to next? If we can drag ourselves out of our pit early enough we'll do another vis mig session. And then another Yank is possible ,if it's still about, and the rest of our ;ast day of freedom we'll probably spend on our local nature reserve.
In the meantime let us know who's bellowing in your outback.


Stephen Dunstan said...

So you were on the cliffs, saw your landie but not you when doing Gynn Gardens.

Surprised you didn't see the flock of c20 finches which went over, not sure what they were.


Monika said...

You're back in the lead again!

Impressive stag - we don't see bucks with that many points around here very often.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

It's neck and neck all the way down the home straight Monika!
I've still got a potential 10 - 15 more available depending on how lucky I am, how about you?



cliff said...

Love the Deer photos Dave, I talked the missus into a trip to L. Moss recently after convincing her we were likely to see deer - but sadly we didn't, so she won't be so easily convinced next time. Very envious of the sightings & photos Dave.

Good luck for tomoz.