The Safari was allowed a short session over lunchtime at the nature reserve on a lovely autumn afternoon which was better than most of the summer days we had.
Approaching the reserve we saw this Willow tree's twigs catching the low sunshine.
Inside the reserve there are a great many apple trees, some are old fashioned Crab Apples like these small yellow ones.Others are more typical fruits.
Many have now fallen to the ground. The thrushes prefer to feed on them whilst they are still on the tree where it is safer. But if the weather turns bad thousands may well descend on these windfalls. Today we saws plenty of Blackbirds but just one each of Redwing and Song Thrush and we only heard a single Fieldfare.
Round at the kiddies duck feeding area there was a kiddie and her mum feeding the ducks. Of course the gulls are never likely to pass up a freeby of the food variety and in they came giving us the opportunity to try some BiF shots...well after a fashion...
If the Black Headed Gulls are unlikely to pass up a free bread sandwich neither are the local Coots...no colour ringed birds seen today.
At the Fylde Bird Club hide there is a goalpost for stuff to perform on. Today was the turn of a Lesser Black Backed Gull a species we've not seen sat on there before! Also here were two Cetti's Warblers duetting with each other, one to the right and one to the left but try as we might we couldn't see either of them.
Not long after arriving we heard a group of Whooper Swans calling. Being out of practice at fieldwork we didn't twig they were coming our way from behind. By the time we got the camera pointed in the right direction it was too late as they'd passed over and headed directly in to the sun...
Then it happened again! We were watching a Buzzard hiding in the hedge trying to get closer to the big flock of Feral and Woodpigeons feeding in the field. We heard them behind us but instead of turning round to get them close up against the bright blue sky, no we did nothing until they'd passed us and were going further away...dohh eeejit.
Out towards the Buzzard we spotted a Common Darter flying out over the ditch.
Also present today was a good selection of waterfowl including our first Goldeneyes of the season, two males, a female Pintail, scace here, over ten Wigeon, 15+ Pochards, 20+ Shovelers, a dozen or so Gadwall and about 250 Teal. A single Snipe was the only wader seen but the reedbeds were alive with Water Rails, not sure how many but they seemed to be here there and everywhere. On the water there were plenty of gulls; pick of the bunch were an 'argentatus' type Herring Gull with lots of white in the wing tip but not looking quite dark enough on the mantle, and a 1st winter Great Black Backed Gull which was almost as big as, the far too many, Canada Geese. 30 or more Common Gulls were good to see.
The pigeon flock was harassed by a large female Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel hovered over the paddock. The feeding station gave us a female Great Spotted Woodpecker but a few yards further on we saw two land together in a tall Poplar tree.
The most interesting but unconfirmed sighting was of a probable Raven that flew west but was picked up late and almost immediately lost behind the trees.Not a bad safari considering we weren't expecting to be able to get out today.
Where to next? Tomorrow is another day and we should be able to manage an hour or so somewhere if the swelling and throb levels aren't too high after today's exertions.
In the meantime let us know what wasn't sneaking round the back in your outback.