Thursday, 16 February 2012

Late finish = early start

The Safari has a late meeting this evening so was able to get out into the big park for a good hour and a half before going in to work this morning. It was the best part of the day with hazy sunshine and mild temperatures. Once we’d got to work the rain started.
Under the leafless canopy and down in the dell it was very sheltered and the birds were taking full advantage. Bird song filled the morning air all the usual suspects and our first singing Chaffinch of the year, along with Coal Tit, drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and loudly calling Nuthatch. Two Grey Squirrels threw themselves around the treetops with gay abandon. It would appear that introduced Eastern Grey Squirrels are a problem not only here but in parts of their ‘native land’ too. Above the same tree tops the somewhat unfamiliar shape of a flying Moorhen sped by dropping to land at one of the ponds on the adjacent golf course...a Moorhen doing 40+ mph with the wind behind it at 60 foot (20m) up in the air is not something you see every day!
Along the roadside are a couple of large conifer trees from them came a cacophony of bird calls, Great and Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Magpie and Nuthatch. We can only surmise they’d bumped into a roosting Tawny Owl but try as we might we couldn’t see it through the dense vegetation towards the top of the trees.
Several laps of the woodland dell gave us no Treecreepers, along with Goldcrest the only omissions from the morning’s list. We stopped at a couple of places and snapped away at the Snowdrops before crossing the main road into the big park proper.

In the park we had a pair of Mistle Thrushes as we walked round the end of the lake to have a look at the heronry on the small island. Most of the nests had a resident bird but few offered any photo opportunities. Still we had to have a try.

Further along the bank we came to the little feeding station we were at last week and arrived there at just about the same time as a small flock of Long Tailed Tits. Getting into position behind a nearby tree we were able to rest the camera tight on the trunk which made getting pics a bit easier in the shady conditions.

At the bridges we could see the Rangers ute parked up, he was talking to a colleague from his former job who had a lovely boy with her – a real Frank look-a-like called Hamish.
With time stating to run short we left the Ranger and headed round the other side of the lake and within a minute or so we were watching a Treecreeper (115) climbing up a large last!!! It was beginning to have the potential for this year’s bogey bird! We txtd the Ranger our good news only to hear back that he was just about to call us as he was watching two together not far from where we had been stood a few minutes earlier.
Then it was a race back to the Land Rover, but not without stopping at the lakeside where someone was throwing bread to the ducks and a large flock of Black Headed Gulls had gathered – always a chance of some BiF shots. But by the time we’d reached the spot the bread was gone and so were the gulls, the only bird within range was this preening Mallard so we fired off a 16 frame burst at him and this was the only one worth posting.

By the time we’d battled our way through the traffic taking the most circuitous route imaginable to get to work the rain had begun to come down quite heavily and put the mockers on a lunchtime safari onto the seawall...we weren’t too bothered as we’d already had an excellent morning’s wildlifing out in the field (or woods).
Where to next? Probably back to the normal partial Patch 1 and Patch 2 safaris tomorrow...but you never know.
In the meantime let us know if something is becoming the bogey man in your outback.

News in from yesterday is that the latrines are more likely to be Rat droppings –and we touched and sniffed some of them...eeeuuuugghhhh....’Oh no man’ we’re all going to DIEEEE !!! Female Water Voles use latrines as breeding territory markers and it’s a few weeks yet before the breeding season starts, but the bitten Soft Rush stems in particular look most likely to be signs of Water Voles which is good news. All will be confirmed on our next survey in April.


Warren Baker said...

got your Treecreeper at last then Davo :-)

Photo's are coming alomg nice :-)

cliff said...

Shot 2 of the LTT is a cracker Dave.

I had 45 mins at the park yesterday, I didn't see any Treecreepers, but did spot a female GS woody in the treetops.