The Safari’s mystery gull turned out to be a Herring Gull due to the wide white trailing edge to the secondaries and broken tail-band – really shoulda known that! Looks very dark on the mantle for a bog-standard argenteus but from the little we can see the head looks too clean for an argentatus at this time of year. It’s hard this gulling – you think you know something and then you find out you didn’t at all!!! Maybe Wifey will let us join this gulling event at Moore next month although we are in the planning stages of going there with our birding chums from that part of the world anyway.
Patch 1 was Dunnock city this morning – has there been an influx or have all the shy and retiring males come out of vocal hibernation? They seemed to be everywhere even to the extent that they were out –singing the local Robins.
A wander round Magpie Wood gave us a reasonable count of 46. There must be another roost nearby cos when we were in the park the other evening we counted at least 60 moving through the leafless trees making their way towards Magpie Wood – unless there are far more in there than we can tell at that time of the morning.
The tide was rising rapidly on Patch 2 and only one small sandbank was left uncovered by the time we reached the wall. 146 Oystercatchers were roosting on it but their time was nearly up! It wasn’t long before they had to abandon ship and join the couple of thousand others over our southern boundary where the there is no sea wall and the tide doesn’t reach so far up the beach although today’s tide is quite a big one so they will be forced to find somewhere else if they are to avoid the lunchtime doggy disturbance. Wilful or reckless disturbance of birds on an SSSI/SPA/Ramsar Site should be an offense but you’d never get the doggy people to change their ways unless a few dozen of them ended up in prison for few years each. “Little poochy is only ‘playing’ with them he’d never harm them”
Out at sea visibility was once again very poor due to low cloud. Close inshore there were only a couple of hundred Common Scoters that we could see in the choppy conditions. Besides a handful of Cormorants heading towards the estuary there was nothing else about.
At lunchtime the sun was out but that just made everything beyond the near-middle distance very hazy. The same few scoters were close in but further out we could make out the numerous white spots of gulls at a shoal of fish. We couldn’t see any mammals with them. The only excitement occurred when a Red Throated Diver flew past the feeding frenzy.
We had a look for the Sea Slaters but they were in hiding well out of sight.
Back at Base Camp the nights are drawing out enough to be able to have a bit of a mooch so we looked for some subjects to try the new lens on. Had to raid the compost heap for this Brandling.
In the absence of anything else we found a tiny piece of grit on the bench amongst the Pleurococcus, the thin green film that coats your wooden garden furniture. The piece of grit is about the size of a pin-head.
Gonna be fun when the inverts wake up...hopefully we won't be on 1/30th sec by then either.
Where to next? Really hoping for more visibility on Patch 2 but got a feeling it's gonna be windy!
In the meantime let us know what's slithering around your outback.