The Safari set of with our Extreme Photographer (minus camera on such a dull day) for a favourite wildlifing spot up north.
On arrival our EP picked up a Kingfisher flying past which we totally missed - darn it!!! On the water was a good selection of waterfowl including several gorgeous Pintails, half a dozen Goosanders and some fresh in Goldeneyes.
A walk up the causeway to the channel had us having one of the sightings of the day, we got back the Kingfisher (201). But better was a huge shoal of Rudd and Perch in the shallows by the bridge, perhaps shoaled up by the female Goosander fishing on the otherside.
A little further is a thicket of one of our fave plants, Tussock Sedge which reminds us an interesting tree found in parts of the Western Australian woodlands.
Also spotted by our Extreme Photographer, who was on a spotting roll all day, was a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the ground in the field over the dyke. It saw us coming and hopped up into a tree giving excellent views. Loads of Robins were seen and several Coal Tits were in the trees. Across in the fields were a couple of Redwings and a Fieldfare. Nothing unusual was seen from the hide, deffo no Otters or Bearded Tits :( A curlew flew past and we spotted a bizarre male Mallard x Pochard weirdo hybrid type thing.
Mammals were almost represented by a very frayed sapling left over from the deer rut.
Lichens, mosses and fungi abound - no idea what they are called.
Particular this wonderful stuff - didn't touch it to see if was slimy or not...looks like it might have been judging by those drippy drooly things.
One of the birds of the day was this cracking male Bullfinch, got this duff pic off but as we tried to edge closer it flew to the top of a tall Ash tree. Never got a decent pic of one yet!!!
Moving on to the hides at the other end we found six Little Egrets, how common are they now!!! By now the light was atrocious....
...but it was possible to tell that the seventh Little Egret that walked out of the reeds wasn't...at long long last it was our first ever BI Great White Egret (202). Big fanfare!!!
The nose and ears of a Red Deer hind was found by our Extreme Photographer, unfortunately it didn't show its self but turned back into the depths of the reeds. Two Water Rails did show well, one very close but briefly the other a little further away but was out in the open for about three or four minutes. 13 Snipe flew over but despite the excellent habitat only one was found on the ground...by guess who...
Hundreds of Teal but no sign of any American Green Winged Teal, one of which is supposed to be on site somewhere.
A juvenile Marsh Harrier gave a good fly past but was usurped by a 2nd year bird which almost came through the hide window!!! Hiding at the back of the pool was a tidy looking male Sparrowhawk.
Marsh Marigold and Flag Iris were in flower and we found another Snipe on the ground close by...still no Otters, Bitterns or Bearded Tits.
On the way back we found a couple of Marsh Tits, a Treecreeper and a Song Thrush, we'd had a Mistle Thrush earlier too.
At the feeding station a Nuthatch put in a very brief appearance moments after being predicted by you know who.
Then it was back to where we stated to watch the Starlings arrive.
As the Starlings began to arrive so did the Little Egrets, if you thought six was a lot what about the 60 or so that came in to roost? How many Starlings were there??? Conservatively 50,000 and they were still arriving in sizeable flocks as we left. A Peregrine buzzed them repeatedly in explosive style pulling several 'g's at times as it pulled up out of its stoops inches from the water. The Marsh Harriers also put in an appearance but the little male Sparrowhawk wasn't seen.
The Great White Egret came and landed in the water to the right of us...we thought the water was deep as the ducks around it were upending to feed but the water only came up to its ankles.
Then it went dark...but all wasn't over yet. On the way back to the Land Rover we heard a ping from a Bearded Tit (203) , two pings later and our EP had heard it too...what a great day!
Where to next? Hard to beat all that. Probably no safari tomorrow unless we get out onto Patch 1 in the afternoon.In the meantime let us know what was roosting in huge numbers in your outback.