Thursday, 19 April 2012

Flamin weather..nuff said!

The Safari spotted the Peregrine as we drove up the hill on the way to work this morning. Looked like the male at a glance from distance at 30mph.
The sea was a little rougher than yesterday, a day on which we missed two Harbour Porpoises although it seems they were sighted a good half hour after we’d had to go back in...still irks though!
We went straight out armed with the scope but as we crossed the road we heard the raucous calls of Sandwich Terns and then saw a decent sized flock above the wall, probably thirty or more. Another 20 were roosting on the beach until a plonker threw his dog’s ball directly at them. We didn’t get much else, a couple of Gannets, a couple of unIDd auks and a single Kittiwake.
Then it was off to the dunes to join a walk looking for Common Lizards. To say the weather wasn’t in our favour is probably the understatement of the year...if was fffff-freezing stood in the car park getting the low down on the scaly critters before we set off on the futile hunt. Only an hour or so earlier the sun had been out nicely warming the sand up but now thick dark clouds had rolled in and the northerly wind was very chilly indeed.
We went back at lunchtime as the sun had been out more on than off during the morning and the site is fairly sheltered from the northerly wind. No luck again but the invertebrates had woken up. We saw a few dozen St Mark’s-flies (Bibio marci) so called as they appear around St Mark’s Day, 25th April. They are very easy to ID with their dangly legs when flying. One pair was seen mating but most were clinging to the grass stems in a desperate attempt to catch some rays and warm up. The female is the one with the thicker abdomen and the smaller eyes.
One of the species of Drone Flies was also trying to get warm enough to move...Eristalis pertinax by way of the yellow tarsi on the front and middle legs.

On the way back to work we spied two seawatching stalwarts trying to gain shelter from the shelter-free shelter so we stopped for a quick natter. They hadn'rt had a great lot, just a few Gannets and auks along with a Sandwich Tern or two. While we were chatting they picked up a fairly close Guillemot sat on the water, four Cormorants in a raft miraculously appeared from nowhere and we spotted, without the aid of any optics, a pair of Eiders coming past. Apparently the male is always in the front...anyone agree/dispute/confirm/ever noticed this observation?
Mid afternoon, whilst driving the desk, we heard a loud gull commotion getting outside as fast as we could didn't produce anything of interest but it did stretch the legs!
Where to next? More Patch 2 tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's droning on and on and on in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

St. Marks Flies :-) That means the Spotted flycatchers wont be far away now Davo!

cliff said...

Nice macro shots Dave, that 1st Drone fly photo is a cracker. Good to see the St Marks flies are out, we could just do with it warming up a good few degrees now so a few more critters join them.