The Safari spent a couple of hours in the very convivial company of CR down on the nature reserve this morning, passing the time with tales of yesteryear and listening to the shutter clicking on his camera while ours stayed notably quiet due to lack of close enough subjects in the grotty light.
Not a great lot was happening but there had been a recent arrival of Goldeneyes with two males and two females now present. Gadwall came in at 10 and there were more Shoveler than in recent visits. Pochard appeared to be down and very few Tufted Ducks were seen, we only heard a single Wigeon. Careful scans through the three hundred or so Teal didn't have the desired effect of locating a Green Winged Teal, everyone else seems to find them so why can't we have one here?
The mere is currently swamped with a feral flock of Canada Geese containing a few decidedly iffy looking hybrid yuk things. We heard just one Pink Footed Goose fly over but never saw whether or not it was a lost lone bird or part of a small skein.
Pity about the tips of those two stray leaves in the pic above, without them the geese would have been nicely framed.
Mallard numbers seem to be low but many can be hiding in the reeds during the day making accurate counts very difficult.
Birds of prey were represented by a distant pair of Kestrels hunting over their favoured grassland on the far side of the lake. One was mobbed briefly by what looked like a Redwing that came from nowhere then realised it was on its own and turned and fled back to the safety of that nowhere. Also from nowhere, a different and high altitude nowhere, a Blackbird dropped into one of the still well berried Hawthorn bushes on the island, must come down from about 500 feet up!
Passerines generally were in short supply although we didn't go over to the scrubby areas on the far side. A flock of somewhere around the 30 mark of Linnets sat briefly on the wires over the field to the east as we arrived and three Cetti's Warblers were heard with a fourth being reported by another birder. Other than that it was just a couple of Blue Tits, a Wren and a small flock of Long Tailed Tits passing behind us outside the hide.
There were loads of gulls, probably a couple of thousand when we first pulled up and they were airborne after being disturbed by an unseen predator, Heron/Sparrowhawk or something. As they settled back down we looked through them but nothing really smacked us in the eye as being a bit different. Really need to get the scope activated again...and the reeds in front of the little tin hide need dropping so that the laridophiles can get a proper look at the flock.
The only one of any interest was this hooded Herring Gull, just a bit well marked, couldn't really turn it into anything else. That eye looks seriously evil though...not sure if C was able to get a better pic...hope so as it was just a bit too distant for our point n shoot jobby.
At the entrance to the Fylde Bird Club hide we found this interesting fungus, Oyster Fungus?
With time running out we had a last quick shuffy down at the east end again where we bemoaned the lack of Water Rails, not a single one heard all morning and then one squealed right beside us so there were still some around after all! Not being able to top that we called it a day and went our separate ways.
Not a bad couple of hours with the relaxing sounds of pleeping Teal, quacking Mallards, whistling Wigeon and the splashing of bathing gulls being able to drown out almost all Human noise pollution for a very refreshing change.
Where to next? The weekend returns so we should be able to get out and about somewhere. Then next week is likely to be our final week on sick leave so we'll have to make full use of that and get as much strength back in the old hand as we can...most of the movement has returned but strength is still very much lacking and there is a lot of nerve damage to be repaired; if it will repair...could end up with a 'fuzzy' finger for the rest of our life and we've nearly cut it off by accident once already!!!
In the meantime let us know what's doing the quacking and whistling in your outback.