The Safari didn’t get far on this morning’s Patch 1 walk, Frank spent most of his time upside-down point blank refusing to go any further – he really is becoming a lazy and very defiant dog! We did see something a little out of the ordinary though. As we were waiting for him to finish YET another frutching-about-back-rub (is there no end to them???!!! – it’s all a ploy to go no further and head back to Base Camp for his breakfast sooner) on the grass verge a Song Thrush appeared on the top of the hedge only a few feet from us which was very nice to see. Once again it was the Dunnocks whose voices were most noticeable in the darkness.
By the time we set off for work the rain had started and it was still very gloomy. We did risk a quick shuffy at Patch 2 after a particularly heavy downpour had passed over and were lucky enough to have a few minutes watch without getting wet.
In the distance there was a very shimmery wobbly heat haze, more reminiscent of July then February and in general the low grey cloud meant visibility was poor and the choppy sea driven by a stiffening wind made counting the Common Scoters a no-no.
With nothing else about we were seconds away from giving up and heading back over the road for a warming cuppa when we saw a huge flock of scoters lift off the sea and head south. We couldn’t make out anything that had made them do this and it was soon obvious there were far more out there than we first imagined – they just kept coming and coming and coming...counting in ‘50s’ as they past we got to an estimated 2500 before they started to dwindle to a trickle. In all that time only a couple of small flocks were seen to go northwards. Wonder what the ‘signal’ was to make them all move like that? An exodus to where were and what were were they going to do when they got there? A Grey Plover flew past close in over the top of a small flock of Common Scoters which didn’t seem the least bit interested in moving off to join the massed ranks.
The rain started so back it was for that warming cuppa but it was deffo well worth staying out for those few extra minutes to witness a real (if distant) wildlife spectacle.
In other news our Year List Challenge ‘arch-rival’, Monika , is currently on a trip down the west coast of the USA stopping at San Luis Obispo, between ‘Frisco’ and LA. She’s only just got off the train and already raced ahead in the challenge from the comfort of the carriage! Wonder if she’ll visit our own personal wildlife refuge while she’s in that part of the world. Whether she does or she doesn’t this year’s challenge looks like it’s going to be an interesting one as we may have a trip or two up our sleeve for later in the year when we might be able to play catch-up....if not we think the technical expression is “we’re stuffed!”
Where to next? More of the wet and windy same.
In the meantime let us know if anything is on an exodus from your outback