Monday, 7 November 2011

Target hit, battle won; but the war still has 54 days to go

The Safari is all smiles - we've beaten our arch-rival year lister Monika to our mutual target of 200 species for the year. However the race is still on as there still the best part of eight weeks of 2011 left and we could quite easily get overtaken. How did we achieve this amazing feat? Our Extreme photographer (he's started working through his Aussie pics at last) took us out for a couple of hours to the nature reserve. On the way we stopped at a little wetland and had a mooch round, breaking the ice as we went and finding a couple of Meadow Pipits, a Reed Bunting, six Common Snipe and, at long last, a single Jack Snipe (200) that we almost trod on.
In glorious sunshine we walked down to the nature reserve noting a fair few Blackbirds in the scrubby areas. We had our first frost of the winter last night and many could have come to the coast from inland. Throughout the time we were there we saw small parties of Fieldfares in the air and on the move with singletons chacking away from every patch of scrub.
A look under the snake tin gave us nothing at all, not even a slug! From there we went down to the viewing platform where this Heron was stood waiting for a meal. Water Rails squealed and Moorhens bickered in the reedbeds but the Cetti's Warblers were silent.

Moving on down to where we saw the Long Eared Owls yesterday a thorough search of the bushes was totally unsuccessful, we tried a few other favoured locations from previous years but could find no sign of them. The grassland we were stood in had a nice fresh specimen of Shaggy Ink Cap

and this Rosa rugosa hip was on the same plant as yesterday's arty-farty leaves. You can see our reflection in it it's that shiny - we tried really hard to find an angle at which this wouldn't happen; does it make it a duff pic in the eyes of a perfectionist?
Just like yesterday there was no sign of the Short Eared Owl or any Kingfishers, well you gotta look! We did manage a Kestrel and a Red Admiral and hearing more Water Rails, including one well away from the main wet reedbed, but still the Cetti's Warblers maintained their silence.
We avoided the water as the light was against us and we had no scope between the pair of us but we could tell there were about 250 - 300 Teal; how long will it be before someone picks out a Green Winged Teal - the American version?
And talking of Americans just look what this little alien is upto at the feeding station - the bare faced cheek of it - or at least furry faced cheek of it!
It'll end in tears!
Where to next? Physio tomorrow morning for more pain and torture but the hand is starting to improve more quickly day by day now. Might be able to get out in the afternoon for an hour or so.
In the meantime let us know who the sneak thief is in your outback.


Stephen Dunstan said...

Kingfisher on Kincraig Lake this morning Dave.

Topshots photography said...

am going on the mere on wednesday, will see if i can find the long eared owls for you mate

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Glad to see you're back 'Twitcher'. Might be there on Sunday myself, but will the owls be?

Thanks Stephen - ask it to stick around until I'm driving again