The Safari was out early as usual and the frost sparkled on the pavement like the stars above the Western Australian desert or a myriad tiny diamonds scattered underfoot. Very little stirred apart from a few Robins. It wasn’t until we got back to base camp we heard the Song Thrush which sounded ever so close but it was still a bit too dark to locate it. It wasn’t in the big Sycamore tree nor in either of the smaller trees in the garden but it certainly wasn’t far away...have to listen out for it tomorrow and hope its singing from the same perch and we can have a better look for it.
Patch 2 was positively hopeless this morning. At sea several scans revealed very little except for a flock of five Great Crested Grebes. Yesterday’s record breaking flock of Knot was nowhere to been seen, although to be fair the area they were feeding in was under water, just one of their brethren was still present sharing the small patch of ooze with a Redshank.
Again the beach was 99% devoid of gulls...must need some wind to bring up a new wreck of tasty shellfish... watch this space later this week.
The mention of wrecked things brings us neatly onto the resolution of yesterday’s washed up fish mystery – D was able to get down to our southern border and found just one of the Rays that the fisherman had told us about. A male Thornback Ray with well developed claspers indicating breeding condition which D didn’t think they ought to be in until much later in the spring.
Last weekend her dog (another Labrador) was rooting around in the ‘rockpools’ at the base of the wall and sniffed out this rather large Greater Pipefish (Syngnathus acus) – the tape measure shows it to be 46cm long which isn’t far short of the maximum length for this species.
The gulls feed on these, generally much smaller ones than this individual, from time to time usually when the sea is quite calm and just behind the last breaker as it rolls on to the beach. We’ve never seen any, either alive or dead, trapped in the rockpools though. (Many thanks to D for the use of her pics)
The lunchtime session was even less productive with only three Great Crested Grebes and two Red Throated Divers to show for very cold fingers, ears, nose etc despite the insulative effects of woolly hat and gloves.
Where to next? More of the same with hopefully more to look at!
In the meantime let us know what’s disappeared into the void in your outback