The Safari was able to get an earlier session in at the new watch point. We got dropped off by Wifey on her way to work at the other end of the track and made our way down the line of the old ditch, noting a number of Blackbirds and a couple of Robins as we went. On the footy fields there was a decent flock of about 150 gulls, roughly 75% Black Heads, 25% Commons and just two Herring Gulls with them. We had to scan a couple of times to check for Mediterranean Gulls and as we did a Mistle Thrush flew high overhead SWwards calling. Nearing the 'sparrow pond' a Pied Wagtail went over, this time westwards.
Although it was earlier in the morning there didn't seem to be so much moving, well it is getting late in the season and there had been a good bit of overnight rain. Arriving at our watch-point we noticed that the Fine Leaved Water Dropwort flood held a flock of 20 Mallards, a Moorhen and a very dapper male Pied Wagtail.
With eyes to the skies we checked the distant tower for Peregrines and were fluky enough to see one swoop in to land out of the strong wind and therefore out of sight.
There was a good bit of construction noise from the industrial estate behind us on the other side of the railway line but it didn't really hamper hearing any bird calls. We soon picked up a Fieldfare then three Chaffinches going south. A lone Pink Footed Goose was hot on the heals of the Fieldfare calling like crazy, somehow it had gotten itself separated from the 400+ then 350+ flocks filling the sky away over the houses to the east. Three more Chaffinches went SE this time and then we caught a call we don't hear very often and located a flock of four Tree Sparrows going west over the horse field - had they kept on that line they'd have gone almost directly over Base Camp but at the reedbed they turned south. That sighting vindicates our thought processes - result. We stood for another 10 minutes or so with only a further five Pink Footed Geese going into the notebook so decided to have another check for the Peregrine. To do this the easiest way is to rest the bins solid on the bridge parapet. It was then that we noticed that only one side had any vegetation; mostly mosses with Spleenwort and Adders Tongue(?) ferns but a careful look at the pic shows there is Bracken(?) and some yellow lichens too. The other side has hardly any vegetation but much much more graffiti, obviously graffiti artists like the sun on their backs as the spray their nonsense.
|Big fern correctly ID'd as Hart's Tongue, not Adder's Tongue - cheers Dean|
The horse fields are currently home to a dozen mud splattered nags which are very used to people in their field and extremely approachable. This one was framed a bit better but grazed its way closer as we knelt no more than a couple of metres in front of it.
After successfully avoiding being trampled to death in the world's slowest stampede we had a look round the margins of a couple of the floods/ponds for any Snipe type thingies - none :( but we did find another pair of Moorhens and a few more Blackbirds.
Where there horses there's muck and where there's muck there's
brass Yellow Dung Flies, yes it's still plenty warm enough for these little chaps to be on the wing - lots of much smaller whitish flies flitting over the freshest piles too. A look here shows they have a much less ubiquitous distribution than we imagined, although looking at it it is fairly obvious that they are absent from the most intensively arable areas and found were stock are kept...duhhh simples...
Here she(?) is in all her hairy glory
Could that tiny round thing just in front of her front leg be a previously laid egg?
By now the bad hand was beginning to throb so it was time to head back to Base Camp and a nice cup of tea. Nothing made it into the notebook on the journey - the reedbed was silent.
Where to next? Not sure about tomorrow as it's back to hossy to see the consultant in the morning, with a bit of luck we might get out in the afternoon.
In the meantime let us know who's laying eggs on what in your outback.