Sunday, 29 January 2012

Northwards for a tick-fest

The safari doesn't mean the type of tick we got covered in along the nature trail we tried one morning in Florida a couple of years ago - thankfully...they were flippin 'orrible!
We started at the furthest north point of our day's safari where on the pool we had a Little Grebe (100), not much else there though so we set off for a look at the creeks. Unfortunately a geek with two dogs was on the marsh and there was absolutely nothing to be seen! The disappointed walk back to the Land Rover gave us a Teal, Redshank and Wigeon in the roadside creek but there was no sign of the Spotted Redshank that is regularly seen here. before we loaded up we had another look on the pool and were glad we did as there was a second Little Grebe but better was a male Goosander (101) at the back of the lake posed nicely an adjacent Shelduck.
Working our way southwards with the rising tide we stopped at the field by the car park and soon picked out the family of European White fronted Geese (102). Although a bit distant they were a little spooky when dog walkers, cyclists etc went past but stayed put for some record shots - more and better from our Extreme Photographer in due course -

Up at the top level of the car park we set the scope up on the top of the sea wall and scanned - lots and lots and lots of Shelducks and nearly as many Curlews. Quite a few Pink Footed Geese were out there too and working through them we eventually found the six pale bellied Brent Geese (103) a long way off. Nearer but still distant were two Ravens (104). it took some time to find a Little Egret (105) normally easy to find here. No passerines or raptors here either.
Next stop was the farmland feeding station which was devoid of birds at first, perhaps because it hadn't long been topped up. A long wait eventually gave us a good count of 42 Tree Sparrows (106). There were plenty of Chaffinches but little else until we spotted a cracking male Yellowhammer (107) in a distant tree.

 Eventually it snuck its way along the hedge before dropping onto the seed.

Traveling a mile or so down the lane we parked up at the field the Quail sing from in the summer and found a Little Owl that turned out to be an interesting lump of wood! A herd of Whooper Swans were across the field in front of us and as we watched them the best sighting of the day happened, the ring tail Hen Harrier (108) floated past! Superb views of the first raptor of the day and one of the rarest though it needn't be - a Kestrel was the second an only other raptor of the day a few minutes later. The last house in the village had the harrier as a garden tick!
Then we had a few minutes at the second farmland feeding station were there were plenty of Chaffinches. Our Extreme Photographer found the first Corn Buntings (109) of the year which were joined by a male and female Yellowhammer.
With the light awful we gave up on the farmland and headed for the coast. The target was the long staying Black Redstart but it didn't show, nor did the local flock of Twite. On the ferry slipway several Turnstones poked round on the rocks only feet from some kids throwing stones in the river. In the river but out of range, were two male and a female Eiders.
The 'sands' held more Oystercatchers than you could shake a muddy stick at along with a decent flock of Knot and several Redshanks. With the chilly wind we didn't give the multitude of gulls any serious time.
Not a bad few hours on a dull winter's Sunday afternoon with only a few dips.
Where to next? Cold weather on the move with lightish offshore winds could become interesting during next week both on land and at sea.
In the meantime let us know if repellant was needed for all the ticks in your outback.


Christian said...

I recognize that feeding station Dave! There have been a few sightings of that Hen Harrier over that side of the road, but sadly, not as yet by me!

I see a lot of those Little Lumps of wood myself!

Stuart Price said...

I got a couple of ticks when I lived in Bavaria (and some of them carry a dangerous disease but I was lucky).

One crawled up my leg up to my groin and the other into my sock to between my toes. The nasty itchy little b******s.