Monday, 30 April 2012

No two days are ever the same

The Safari woke up to sunny sunshine and it was already a good bit warmer than yesterday afternoon. What a total contrast barely 12 hours later.
On the very short patch 1 walk we had a Willow Warbler singing from a garden on the other side of the road and on a variation of our drive in we had another Willow/Chiff in a garden whilst waiting for some traffic lights to change.
We hit the Prom just before R’ouzel Puddle – nothing in it today apart from about twice as much water and it was joined by several other potentially interesting migrant attracting puddles, wonder how temporary they’ll be and when they dry out will they leave a patch of gooey mud?
We went straight out with the scope and got some great views of 10 Gannets diving not too distantly as well as a similar number of Sandwich Terns, some of which were courtship feeding on the beach which is always good to see. Right down at the start of the wall there was a Wheatear flitting about (P2 #67). We later found out that earlier had been better with Little Tern, Little Gull, Manx Shearwaters etc and a FLOCK of five Little Egrets – WOW!!! Which were also seen at the northern end of this stretch of coast.
A shimmy down the slade a little later to see what the beach access was like gave us two ‘alba’ Wagtails overhead which annoyingly would drop below eye level and a flockette of Turnstones including this one in its full summer regalia.

Our group on the beach found most of the usual goodies, Edible Whelk, Pod Razors, Common Razors, Rayed Trough Shells, Banded Wedge Shells, a Tower Shell, lots of shed Green Shore Crab skins, a predated Thin Telin, Edible Mussels 

and a few Common Prawns
 ....look at the colours on those legs! 

Hornwrack and Sea Slug eggs aplenty with Spiral Wrack, Egg Wrack, Gutweed, Purple Laver, and Sea Lettuce representing the seaweeds. On small blob of seaweed had a tiny Beadlet Anemone attached which when placed in the tray opened its tentacles much to the delight of the children and adults present. At the very end of the session one family ventured a little further away and came back with a small Common Sand Star which we initially thought was dead and dried up but then showed a little sign of life by putting out a few of its tube-feet. 

We put it back in one of the pools and within a minute or so it was off at high speed to find a safe place to shelter until the tide came in. 
Then one of the children spotted something moving on the seaweed, at first we couldn’t see it but the boy was adamant and we followed his finger tip to a tiny beetle about 5-6mm long. It looked a bit Ladybird like but unlike any species we knew. A couple of pics for iSpot were taken and the ID came back from them very quickly before lunch was over...Sphaerium sp. A terrestrial beetle with a penchant for animal dung...almost definitely blown to the coast by the strong easterly winds recently...or is it another migrant moving along the coast.
Also while we were out we heard a Whimbrel (167, 68) call out along the tide line behind us.
A quick munch of our butties and we were out again ditching the nets and trays for the scope but not a lot was on the now fallen tide. Best was a Common Sandpiper (168, 69) feeding away down the far end of the wall near where the Wheatear had been earlier, a really good Patch 2 sighting.
Swallows were going through all morning but we didn’t get any House or Sand Martins and no Swifts for us yet either.
A strange sounding Chiffchaff going wee-chuu wee-chuu rather than chiff-chaff chiff-chaff; another Patch 2 year tick (70) and indeed a Patch 2 lifer!
Where to next? Tomorrow is the first day of Compost Awareness Week – at some point during the week we will be taking a tray of kitchen waste to the composter for the worms to feast on.
In the meantime let us know what's scuttering to shelter


Stuart Price said...

You should come to Japan-most of the stuff that oozes around rock pools or the sea bed is on the menu here........

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Much of it is edible here too Stu...but seldom found on the local menus although Pod Razors are supposed to be one of the tastiest things on the planet. Had lava bread once but won't be having it again!