Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bait ball…but distant

The Safari heard a weird call sort of a cough and a grunt, quite loud, from something unknown as we left Base Camp this morning, a bit like someone clearing their throat. Looking up all we saw was the glare from the street light – a mystery we first though of Woodcock but it was nothing like any Woodcock we’ve heard before. Any one any ideas what we could try listening to on Xeno-canto.
Patch 2 only held 45 Oystercatchers and a few gulls both of which increased gradually as the tide fell. Looking beyond our southern border the light was superb but the decent number of gulls in the gentle surf didn’t include the nature reserve’s Iceland Gull – we have still no idea where that lives when it’s not at the reserve.
Not much was out to sea other than the usual Common Scoters. Scanning along the horizon we found a gaggle of gulls swooping and diving over what was probably a bait ball. Unfortunately the sea was far too choppy to be able to tell if any cetaceans were about. There’s a chance there might have been a decent sized pod of Bottle Nosed Dolphins was filmed not far away off the Isle of Man only a couple of days ago.   
Lucky guys...Hopefully we’ll bump in to them when we do our cetacean ferry survey at the end of next month (might do this one later in the year if we get the chance)
A couple of Red Throated Divers provided the only other interest as we strained our eyes down the scope for the hint of a dark back jumping above the white horses.
Little had changed by lunchtime. The tide had retreated further and left a couple of strandlines which a reasonable number of gulls and Oystercatchers rummaged through – nothing outstanding in their midst this time; not really enough gulls to pull in one of the influx of white-wingers.
The sea was still pretty choppy but with the good light we estimated well over 1000 Common Scoters, with just two Red Throated Divers and a single Great Crested Grebe seen over the water. There was no sign of the bait ball and nothing other than scoters was moving out towards the horizon.
Where to next? A day’s meeting out of town tomorrow with perhaps the opportunity to go stargazing t work in the evening as part of the BBC’s Stargazing LIVE events  - weather permitting of the mo it looks like it’s gonna be more like cloudgazing than stargazing but there’s a chance Saturday night might be OK if Friday is a washout – indoor activities will be available in case of rain....and on Saturday too,,,just in case...
In the meantime let us know what you’ve been gazing at in your outback.
Enjoy a bit of Stargazer from a long time ago....was at the Liverpool gig of this tour..on crutches with an iffy foot after a bit of a to-do with a steam roller
 You might as well have the next track off the Rainbow Rising LP - all side 2...remember sides?

RIP Ronnie & Cozy - much missed
And while we're on the subject

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