The Safari spotted the Peregrine again this morning while Frank’s nose followed the trail of the overnight meanderings of the local Fox. He wasted so much time sniffing back and forth we didn’t get a chance to go round Magpie Wood and get a count.
On Patch 2 the wind was cruelly cold but at least it was blowing offshore and so was at our back. The Oystercatchers weren’t quite as numerous today but were more spread out so we got a fairly accurate, or at least more accurate than yesterday, count of 584 (including the leucistic one from a ferw weeks ago) with a least double that number beyond our southern boundary. Several Sanderlings and Redshanks poked about but it was good to see about a dozen Knot down by the outfall pipe again.
There were more gulls on the beach this morning but nothing to set the pulse racing...where’s our Glaucous Gull?
Out on the sea there were a few small flocks of Common Scoters but visibility was limited by thick low cloud. We didn’t see the eight Scaup that may or may not be still around, last seen on the 8th but we don’t think anyone other than us was out looking yesterday...don’t really blame them in the horrid conditions.
On the way home we once again stopped off at the big park with the intention of finding Redwing, Treecreeper and Nuthatch for the year. The lake was still mostly frozen and several of the Shoveler were asleep on the ice. They were too skittish to get anywhere near if they were awake. The forecast sunny spells didn't materialise and we spent the half hour walking around in a dull fine drizzle.
The park is over-run with feral Pigeons, not a bird we often photograph, indeed we tend to ignore them but this one sat still, fluffed up against the damp cold, as we approached.
Out on the ice there were a few hundred gulls, mostly Black Heads. No matter how often we scanned through them we a white winger just would come and join them. The only one that was in any way out of the ordinary was this rather dark 1st year...too much white on the tertials for a Lesser Black Back?
99.9% of the other 1st winter gulls looked more or less like this one - quite different and easy enough to ID as Herring Gulls. Larids, eh...don't yer just love em!
No we didn't find any Redwings, Treecreepers or Nuthatches - we think they see us coming and hide! We did see an Oystercatcher on the ice with the gulls which is an unusual record for the park and the Kestrel was in the tree above the feeding station again.
Where to next? Stayin close to the fire we think.
In the meantime let us know who photographs the ferals in your outback.
Peregrine calling from the tower at dusk on Patch 1 and lots of Blackbirds clucking ads they settled down to roost in the 'Iberian Chiffchaff zone' - now accepted by BBRC but only for 3 - 5th May last year, so if you saw it later than that they are saying what you saw was in fact an ordinary Chiffchaff.