The Safari isn’t referring to Broadway New York but Broadway Fleetwood a few miles up the road. For older readers (or younger readers with a penchant for a certain ‘old fashioned’ genre) there is a somewhat obtuse musical reference in there somewhere. ♫♪♫
Anyway enough of the waffle and on with the wildlife news, some of which is good! We got around half of Patch 1 this morning well before any hint of glow from the sun in the eastern sky but we could see the Peregrine sat on its ledge. Walking slowly past Magpie Wood we counted roughly 50+ of the roosting incumbents – they were a bit jumpy and kept flitting about in the process of waking up as we walked past doing our best not to disturb them. A Robin sang from what’s left of the understorey and was answered by another in the shrubbery across the road and a third sang from the Golden Triangle across the green. Although it was still well before dawn the Peregrine had left its roost by the time we got back round there. The walk back to Base Camp gave us a Blackbird in almost full song, which was very uplifting to hear, and several more Robins ticking away in various gardens.
On arrival at work we shut the Land Rover door locked up, turned round and immediately saw a little bird flit off the path in front of us. It disappeared into the darkness but within a couple of seconds we heard the flat little warble of a Dunnock (P2 № 14) coming from the hedge a few yards to our right...another Patch 2 tick...and, like the Blackbird, very uplifting to hear the song after all the minging weather we’ve had to endure this week...unfortunately it’s due back later today just in time for the weekend...not good :-(
We got onto the sea wall just as the sun crept over the rooftops behind us and immediately saw a Shag (67) flying north not far out. An auspicious start to the session. Common Scoters flew hither and thither no doubt relishing the calmer conditions, so calm in fact that there were only a very few white horses. A flight of Cormorants came by, the bird looked small and leucistic until we got on them properly and realised that six Cormorants were being led by a male Eider (68). (NB we made a misleading right information/wrong box booboo on the FBC sightings website). More Cormorants were seen totalling 37 in all. A Great Crested Grebe (69) must have been fishing close to the wall as it flew out a hundred yards or so not far to our left.
Three small ducks hurtling southwards at close range were Teal (P2 № 18), an annual but not a regular sighting from the wall.
The only ‘half-decent’ gull this morning was a Great Black Back, no sign of any Kittiwakes or Little Gulls in the much more benign conditions.
By lunchtime the sea had left a bit of beach and hundreds of gulls were thronging along the strandline picking through the remains of the millions of shellfish. Further to the south just over the Patch’s border we shudder to think just how many more gulls there were and Oystercatchers too must have numbered well over 2000. The light wasn’t too good for looking at the gulls and they mostly had their backs to us and were constantly being disturbed by the resident mutt owners but one of the nearest to us was a fine adult Mediterranean Gull (P2 № 19), a species not often seen here. Also found in the throng was a BTO type ringed Black Headed Gull but too far away to read and we did pick out one ‘argentatus’ Herring Gull.
From the bottom of the opposite side of the wall we heard the calls of Turnstones (70) as nine flew out and along the beach into view below us. There were no other waders apart from a lone Redshank.
Out at sea conditions were still fairly calm although squalls out in the distance were heading slowly our way. Above one small flock of resting Common Scoters a Red Throated Diver (71) flew southwards.
While we were scanning the waves for other goodies – the earlier Great Crested Grebe was still there - the familiar ‘chi’zick’ of a Pied Wagtail (72) was heard from above and behind us. Looking round we didn’t see it but did spot the massed ranks of Starlings (P2 № 23) sitting on the tram wires whose calls our brain must not have registered.
Looking northwards the light across the beach was superb for grilling the gulls. We checked back and forth several times eventually coming across a fine and dandy adult Yellow Legged Gull (73) but nothing else of note, no larger white-wingers, certainly no long billed, long legged and very white headed first year birds or any yellow legged, pale mantled, heavy billed Common Gulls.
Can’t complain though as it was very pleasant to be able to stand up without being battered about for a change and stay dry! The birds provided some excellent entertainment too – all in all two very good short safaris.
As we left work we had two Robins (P2 № 25) in the car park and two Pied Wagtails flew over, one landed angd gave a short burst of song - very nice way to end the day.
But again no pics :-( so here's an old one from the big park, a little more black on the hood than today's bird
Where to next? Fame and fortune beckon on BBC Radio Lancashire tomorrow lunchtime – listen if you think your ears can stand it...
In the meantime let us know what surprised you with song this morning in your outback