Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Southside spectacular

The Safari met up with an old friend we don't see to often and had a stomp round the salt and fresh water marshes. If you like geese here were plenty! As usual almost all were Pink Footed Geese but we did come across a few European White Fronted Geese but couldn't find the Tundra Bean Goose we were told about. Ducks included more Wigeon and Teal than you could shake a stick at along with a tidy smattering of Pintail, Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall. As for Black Tailed Godwits and Lapwings just how many can you fit on a lagoon or two?
Raptors were represented by a scrappy looking Buzzard, a Peregrine and a Merlin were perched up on distant posts out on the far edge of the marsh. At least three Marsh Harriers wafted around the outer fringes of the marsh too.
A Kestrel perched up on a trackside bush and for a change allowed a very close approach. Pity it was a grey, grey day but at least the torrential drizzle had finished.
At long last we found our own Great White Egret, nearly a hundred miles away but its long neck and egg yolk yellow bill could easily been seen. As we passed the scope to I it walked down the nearest gully and all he saw was its head poking out like a periscope. Plenty of Little Egrets out there as well but we didn't see any Grey Herons - another sign of the changing ornithological times.
Then it was off to the freshwater marshes a little way inland. The afternoon was a bit brighter and the geese obliged by flying across the breaking clouds.

Below is one of the many Marsh Harriers on site, it's not long since these birds were rare enough in summer now we're trippin over them in winter too.
We couldn't find any of the six Bewick's Swans that had been reported but there were 1720 Whooper Swans to work through.

We decided to wait for the Barn Owl to put in an appearance and we were glad we did when one of the four Marsh Harriers decided to chase a Pheasant, it lost it in the long grass but must have seen it again, or something else as on it next stall and stoop the ringtail Hen Harrier popped up (206).
Where to next? Still a few days left to perhaps add another species to the year's list and plenty of time to enjoy being out and about in the wilds of the Fylde or maybe a little bit further afield.
In the meantime let us know what's changed beyond ornithological recognition in your outback.


Monika said...

It looks like you're poised to beat me by just a couple of species yet again! It's amazing how close we end up, though.

There was some excitement over here as everyone thought for a moment a whooper swan had shown up in our neck of the woods, but it turned out to be a Bewick's swan.

Your swan photo is impressive!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika

The swans are fed copious amounts of wheat every day just outside the hide window - these were waiting for the 3 o'clock wheelbarrow!