The Safari stepped out onto a chilly world this morning. Carefully noting the Robins for a change we counted eight on our shortened version of Patch 1; when oh when will it be dry enough to get round the whole of the patch - a coupla three more good frosts should dry it up a bit! Surprisingly the Golden Triangle’s Song Thrush was more of a Silent Thrush than a Song Thrush today but another (was it him?) was singing further away across the nearby offices’ car-park. The now usual one was in full song and extremely loud from behind the houses at the entrance to the park. An unknown number of Magpies were roosting in Magpie Wood, the light was awful and it was difficult to see them. No sleepy Peregrines were seen this morning; the wind coming from the east probably had them round the other side of the tower.
Back at Base Camp an unseen Blackbird was giving it plenty from a neighbouring garden and further down the hill, somewhere towards CR’s place, a Mistle Thrush was in song too – a three thrush morning at last! Also at last was a singing but unseen Dunnock (P1 #24) in a garden on the other side of the main road – a long time coming for a Patch 1 year tick!
Pre Patch 2 sunrise through the oblong window
At Patch 2 the tide was well out but there was little on the beach. The gulls were checked but no ‘odd-balls’ were found. A few Oystercatchers fed on tide-line shells and we counted eight Knots down by the outfall pipe which was more or less devoid of birds as we could see one of the Mussel pickers working there. But on closer inspection ‘he’ turned out to be one of the weirdest sights we’ve seen on the beach in a long time if ever – a young lady immaculately dressed for work on a Monday morning – what we thought was a yellow hi –vis jacket was the low early morning sun catching her bright white coat and her wellies were high heeled full length boots – not the attire you’d expect to find someone wearing 500 yards down the beach in subzero temperatures at daybreak.
A few uncounted Redshanks an ‘normal’ gulls worked their way through the nearest runnel which sported a rather snazzy looking delta – a perfect example of the real thing in miniature – any geography teachers out are welcome to the original pic if they so wish.
The gull pics were playing with the settings on the new camera- they were along way off even for a 30x 720mm equivalent lens!
A peculiar yellowy haze hung over the sea making the visibility poor. Common Scoters were well down in number and we could only find a single Great Crested Grebe and two Red Throated Divers. A few Cormorants fished just off shore but really we were hoping for a mammal, either a Grey Seal or a Harbour Porpoise (or something else!) in the flat calm conditions.
We didn’t see any mammals at lunchtime either, excluding hominids and canids that is, but the Common Scoters were back with a vengeance, over 1000 of them! A good count of 15 Great Crested Grebes easily outnumbered just three Red Throated Divers. Three distant gulls coming towards us from way out to sea, in sort of a line astern formation, turned out to be an 1st winter Herring Gull, an adult Common Gull and – YES - a 1st winter Little Gull (110, P2 #36). As they neared the coast the most interesting of the three turned and headed north soon disappearing in to the haze while the far commoner two came in and landed on the beach a few hundred yards to our right :-(
Our mystery fungus has been identified by those clever iSpot people as a Velvet Shank – another ‘first’ for the Fylde!
As for lists of new stuff we found this . How many species are on your ‘everything except bacteria’ list??? We’re off to do some counting...might be gone a while...
Where to next? More of the same but we don't want to be moaning about the visibility again
In the meantime let us know who's looking decidedly out of place in your outback.