Monday, 3 September 2012

Still a bit on the frustrating side

The Safari was out early doors with Frank and enjoyed a glorious sunrise over the fells to the east. We heard the terrestrial ‘holy trinity’; a couple of (new in?) Robins ticking from garden cover, a Dunnock doing that autumn peeeep call and a Wren was singing, first we’ve heard (or at least noticed) for some time. No Peregrines were noted on the tower as we drove up the hill.
The sea looked inviting in the glow of early morning sunshine, hardly a white horse to be seen.
Once out on the wall the sea was still inviting but was also almost devoid of life! A few small flocks of Common Scoters and Cormorants went on their merry ways but other than those it was quiet; not even a Sandwich Tern...and we forgot to check the beach for any roosting there although a jogger was making his way along the water’s edge from north to south a way down and if there were any he’d already have disturbed them and if he hadn’t he would do shortly – that said we didn’t see any over the sea at all! The tide was well out and we heard a Whimbrel call from the beach to the north of us and there were a good number of gulls which remained ignored for the most part, a quick scan didn’t give us any returning Common Gulls.
Nothing was heard in the passage migrant line overhead. All in all a pretty poor do.
Lunchtime was sort of eagerly awaited with the realisation it wasn’t going to be much better...still the sun shone and it was very pleasant out there.
A Grey Seal was soon found at some distance which was at least an improvement on this morning’s session.
In the far distance we started to note a rather spread out flock of Common Scoters of some size. We resolved to get some kind of count which proved tricky in the swell. The flock went on for literally miles although it didn’t appear to be too deep, more a long line than a big circular blob. We got to around 1000 when they tailed off over the horizon a little to our south. They probably didn’t reach much further as they aren’t seen on the ferry surveythat runs quite close.  
Altogether there could have been at least 3000 and possibility as many as 6000 or even one or two more.
At last Sandwich Terns started to appear. One at first, then another couple followed by a few more singles. They didn’t do much fishing and there weren’t any skuas in attendance; not long now before they disappear to West Africa - well out of range of our scope.
A Great Crested Grebe fluttered through the field of view on yet another futile cetacean scan – they do look horribly incongruous out at sea seeming to be far to fragile for such an extreme environment; at least Red Throated Divers (starting to reappear in small numbers now) have fairly powerful wingbeats and big paddle like feet and look as though they belong better at sea.
Again nothing overhead, but that’s not really unexpected at lunchtime.
A brief sortee in to the wilderness in the garden gave us a nice selection of inverts.
An Opilione waiting for an unwary hoverfly

Helophilus trivittatus again

Eristalis arbustorum

Eristalis arbustorum - same individual as above face on
Garden Cross spider

Same pic cropped
 Where to next? More of the steady same probably.
In the meantime let us know what's lurking with evil intent in your outback

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