Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Not happy at all!!!

The Safari was woken a little before 05.00 by a certain dog who's body clock hasn't yet quite sussed out BST is long gone...we weren't amused!
The drive to work wasn't punctuated by any Starlings leaving the pier roost - are they there yet? And the sea was dire, not windy enough/or too windy and from the wrong direction so just a few Common Scoters were seen.
Then we learned that an old friend had died a very well respected naturalist who played a major part in the nature reserve actually becoming a nature reserve.
To cap a bad day we had the Young Uns in to help with the wildlife garden. AB turned up early and as we went to get the tools out for some reason we walked round the back of the shed and he said, quite casually "oh look there's a Blue Tit" to which we said WWWHHHERRREERRREE????? They are almost as rare here as on Shetland and Fair Isle We didn't see it and a quick scout round the places our generous spirited public put feeders up in the bushes at lunchtime proved fruitless too....will it be there in the morning? A check of our records back at Base Camp showed now records in 2010 or 2011  so it's the first for at least three years! Have to qualify that statement by saying we don't look that hard in the gardens too often though tending to prefer the over-excitement that is the seawall.
We will be buying some fatballs - just in case it wasn't a migrant and sticks around.
We'd finished our wildflower meadowing and were packing away the tools when the rain changing from just spitting to heavier than you like when a Mistle Thrush was seen on the lawn - didn't see it earlier when we were tit hunting so it probably dropped in with the onset of the heavy rain...another possible migrant for the day.
The only things of note we found whilst working were a huge Garden Cross Spider, which we put to one side for  a pic later and promptly forgot about, and this large caterpillar - offers anyone?

We had a brief look for the Bramblings on the North Blackpool Pond Trail with JS before dropping him home but again had no joy. Two Goldcrests and a fair few Blackbirds with three Grey Squirrels leathering in to the Hawthorn berries was good though despite the persistent heavy rain - needs a bag of seed scattering under the bushes and along the edge of the path to tempt them in to the photogtraphable open.
Where to next? More of the wet and windy Patch 2 same.
In the meantime let us know who's curled up and trying to sleep before being rudely disturbed in your outback

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A most unpleasant day

The Safari wasn't impressed with the lashing rain this morning. 
We were lucky to have a break in the heavy showers at the right time and we got out for a blustery watch for a few minutes. The sea was rough and the Common Scoters were tazzing about all over the shop. We watched, waited and hoped but there was no sign of anything ducky different. No grebes or divers today either, a Red Necked Grebe was seen off the South-side's coast yesterday - that would have been nice to find on our stretch of coast.
Eventually a flock of gulls was seen in the distance out towards the windfarms. There was a lot of them and they were heading in our direction. Eventually 28 Kittiwakes were counted as they veered off to the south. Not many minutes later two adult Gannets went south out on the horizon.
That was it for the morning session. The tide was on the ebb at lunchtime but is was still pretty rough. Nothing other than a few Common Gulls and the usual Common Scoters were seen.
We'd decided to take the Prom on the way home to see if there were any Starlings starting to build up on the pier but it was so stupidly busy we jinked off down the back streets long before we got anywhere near the piers. On this route only one small flock of about 50 was seen heading pierwards when we were almost back at Base Camp.
Where to next? More of the wet and windy same tomorrow but we do have the Young Uns coming to do a bit of late season gardening and therefore anything could be found. If all goes well we might get an hour or so on the rather soggy nature reserve in the afternoon.
In the meantime let us know if you braved the elements in your outback.

Monday, 29 October 2012

A little big news; or should that be a big little news

The Safari wasn’t able to get out yesterday; too much rain and too many children to keep entertained not that we minded the later always lovely to see the little ones.  
This morning we heard a Chiffchaff calling from the back garden at Base Camp (that was before the little ones got up – not a lot of chance of hearing much after that :-) ) - is it the same one that’s been hanging around on the opposite side of the road, does it have a feeding circuit or is it a totally new one? A Blackbird was singing quite strongly too.
Being later than normal into work we didn’t get a chance to have a look over the wall but we did need to get some milk from the local shop and the walk across the gardens gave us our first sighting and only the third record of a Wren here this year – where have they been???
A flock of 17 Greenfinches feeding on the juicy red hips of the Rosa rugosa bushes was nice to see.
At lunchtime the sun was nearly warm and there wasn’t much breeze – it was actually pleasant and a big change from yesterday’s totally windy washout. The light was crystal clear, no haze what-so-ever and the sea almost flat with barely a white horse to be seen. Having said that we didn’t see much! Plenty of Common Scoters as is the norm now and not a lot else. A handful of distant Red Throated Divers flew past, all heading south as did three auks sp and three Shelducks.
We were thinking it wasn’t that interesting out there when we caught sight of a juvenile Herring Gull fluttering around on the surface. At first we thought is was plunge-diving for surface feeding fish but on closer examination it never rose out of the water. We’d a feeling it was trapped in some litter, a floating piece of lost fishing net perhaps.
As we were watching it’s struggles to break free a Little Gull flew past, wasn’t really expecting one of those today! We followed that northwards until we lost it against the sea. Going back to the struggling gull a few minutes later to discover it was still there but its flapping had attracted another young gull and we hoped the same tangly fate wasn’t going to befall that one too. Again a Little Gull came past this time from the north but much more distant. Same or different?
Unfortunately we ran out of time as with the conditions as they were we would have liked to stayed out a lot longer, but would we have found anything more exciting if we had? S’pose we’ll never know.
Where to next? Now the hour has gone back it’s Patch 2 or bust until the weekend’s safaris for a few months.
In the meantime let us know what drifted elegantly through your outback.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Marked out at the moss

The Safari went oop north with marine biologist DB on a terrestrial wetland jaunt this morning. We arrived shortly after first light - would have got there earlier if it wasn't for slowies on the that early hour...aaaarrgghhh. Lookin good at that hour though!

We headed for the Red Deer zone but found a Great White Egret instead.
And a far more usual Grey Heron

 A bonus Kingfisher dropped in briefly
Before too long a late lingering Marsh Harrier out the wind up the Teal and other ducks on the water
First shot was a bit duff, the second attempt was worse!
 The Teal quickly settled back down

And the Kingfisher returned, a little further away this time but nicely silhouetted against the sky

This is a bum shot is of a mystery bird - anyone going to have a guess? Yes, we do know what it is
After listening to a good talk by Mark Avery we went back out and found this young buck - we'd seen two stags and a hind earlier but unphotographable as they were hiding under the trees
A Robin kept us entertained while we waited for the Bearded Tits which we only saw briefly but thoroughly enjoyed - a lifer for DB, as were the day's numerous Jays.
None of the dozen or more Snipe could be turned into a Jack Snipe
With frost on the ground and frozen ice in the shallows we didn't expect to see a Common Darter
After a quick chat to fellow blogger JA we headed off on a twitch on the way back to Base Camp
We were successful with the Lesser Yellowlegs (W 273, BI 187) but dipped the Wood Sandpiper that had been with it all morning
While we were being lectured by MA DB, who hadn't gone to the talk, saw an Otter...we are not amused!!!
Where to next? Family day tomorrow but we might get out somewhere with the kiddies.
In the meantime let us know if the Fieldfares have arrived en masse in your outback - we saw 5-600 early on this morning in several large flocks.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Missed out big style

The Safari learnt early this morning that there was a big passage of Fieldfares going on today. Reports came in by phone, txt and on the tinterweb.
There was a definite change in the weather the wind had turned much more northerly and the temperature had plummeted, so much so that the old ears were stinging when we got back indoors after taking Frank sign/sound of pre-dawn Fieldfares at 06.00, no sign of anything even the local Robins and Blackbirds seemed to have been chilled in to silence.
It was uncomfortably cold on the wall which serves us right for not dressing for the weather and so we didn’t give it long. Long enough to see that there wasn’t much about and what there was wasn’t easy to see as the ‘heat’ haze coming off the water made everything look very wobbly. A few distant Common Scoters and a single Red Throated Diver were all we could muster in our five minutes of pain. A couple of Pied Wagtails hopped around on the Promenade and a Grey Wagtail flew over but no Fieldfares, at this point we didn’t know they were on the move.
By lunchtime we’d heard of a few thousand from all points far and wide and now was our chance to find one on Patch 2...not the easiest of patch ticks here. The wind was still whistling under our coat and up our back so again we didn’t stay out too long. Just long enough to see no improvement on the sea – the few scoters were still about but the diver had been replaced by a Great Crested Grebe.
Below us on the quickly growing beach were six Sanderlings zipping to and fro and a Redshank making its way through the wavelets much more sedately.
Zipping Sanderlings
Sedate Redshank
Still not a sniff of any winter thrushes though.
An Oystercatcher probing for worms among the more expected Starlings and feral Pigeons looked a little surreal.

Surreal Oystercatcher
Where to next? Another bigger safari tomorrow with hopefully some good photo-opportunities, a twitch and a chance to listen to a certain MA describing his 25 years in conservation...not quite as many as we’ve done but he’s probably achieved a lot more with them! We took the book to Australia for bed-time reading but never got round to finishing it....what we did read was pretty good.
In the meantime let us know if any of those thousands of Fieldfares ventured into your outback.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Picking up where we left off

The Safari had a good count of over 980 Common Scoters moving south this morning with more still coming when we had to leave and we didn't count the ones on the water so well over 1000 present today. A flock of 10 Great Crested Grebes sat together was good too see along with a single and another going south. Also going south were several auks sp, a Guillemot and three Razorbills. Red Throated Divers were good too with a couple nicely close enough for a good study and two more heading south - do the birds know something we should know? A Goldcrest was in the bushes by the car park when we arrived at work, a rarity in itself but we're quite sure yesterday's 'mystery' bird wasn't 'just' a Goldcrest.
Later we joined the beach clean and was very pleased to see such a big turn out. As we walked up the Prom the beach looked nice and clean as the tide ebbed off the wall (passing the Police dissuading a potential suicider out on the way) but at the end of the hour the group had collected 40kgs of rubbish, mostly small pieces although a lost/discarded sopping beach towel helped push the kilogramage up a bit.
Still that 40kgs of rubbish that won't be veing washed back out to sea. Well done everybody and shame on those who dropped it in the first place!!!

At the death a Peregrine flew over us and headed straight out to sea until it was too far away to be seen!
Whilst waiting for the tram back to the office this Starling landed close by and sang as he walked about looking for litter to break in to.

After lunch we had a group of tiny tots on our usual beach looking at the shells and other great stuff to be found there. 
Off shore a trawler was working, not sure which one as it doesn't seem to have a transponder. It's very close in! You can just make out a small flock of Common Scoters in front of its bow.

The youngsters did sterling work despite their very few years bringing back all sorts of good stuff. The best of which was this enormous Edible Whelk and the small but bright red Queen Scallop.

They also found two of the biggest  Beadlet Anemones we've ever seen, not jsut here but anywhere on our travels! Common Prawns and Brown Shrimps were netted and just a solitary Sand Goby although it has to be said they need more practice with their netting technique - must be hard when you're not as tall as the net handle!
Most of the usual suspects were found, Common Ottter Shells, Pod Razors, Common Razors, Common Cockles, Edible Mussels, Rayed Trough Shells, Banded Wedge Shells, Thin Tellins, plenty of live Periwinkles and a lone Tower Shell, a nice mix for their first beachy adventure
Where to next? A weather change is apparently due but how will it affect Patch 2?
In the meantime let us know what the tide washed in in your outback.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Did we miss out?

The Safari had a mixed day today. Patch two early doors wasn't much cop - very dull but surprisingly crystal clear if that makes sense. Only the usual Common Scoters and a couple of Great Crested Grebes were visible on the water. Overhead single 'alba' and Grey Wagtails went past.
Of greatest note was how madly mild it was, at 06.00 we'd been out with Frank without a jacket as the outside thermometer was showing 13.9C...our average daily maximum for October  here is 14C!
We had a job to do for a local school which involved being outside, we had a redundant compost bin to dismantle and load up for removal to the school at the close of play.
That required the Land Rover being brought round to where we were working. We got out and shut the door - as it banged shut we saw a tiny green bird shoot across from the nearby scrub to the boundary hedge...thing is what caught our attention was the contrasting yellowy rump. Wow that looked interesting!!! Immediately we dashed the 10 yards to the hedge and had a few walks up and down both the inside and outside paths to no avail. A few Dunnocks and a Blackbird but nothing smaller or greener.
We did our demolition job and then had to go back inside but come lunchtime we were out again with camera and bis this time but again to no avail.
We then went to the wall without the scope so there was the opportunity to get some pics of the Starlings taking the tiny flies off the wall only today they weren't. So we had a quick look on the beach instead and snapped away at a few gulls.

On the lower seaweedy slopes of the wall we had four Meadow Pipits, no Buff Bellied Pipits, no Olive Backed Pipits, three Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail and a two Grey Wagtails all in a little bit of a flockette and most unusual of all a Magpie, rarely see them on Patch 2 at all but to see one poking around in the seaweed making its way steadily southwards along the wall was a bit of a surprise.
In the afternoon Young Un AB arrived to give the hedges a good going over and we joined him for a few minutes. Again no joy although after we'd had to go back inside he did have a Robin that we'd not come across there earlier in the day. His best find however wasn't a bird but this Angle Shades roosting up - no is this a migrant or not? We don't do enough mothing here to know if they are resident or not. Really ropey light conditions led to a pretty poor pic.
So what was the mystery bird? This pic drawn at lunchtime is sort of a cross betweeen what we saw and an oven-ready chicken in flight. Note that we didn't see any head pattern, don't think we saw it's head as it darted away from us and we probably didn't see any wing bars the wings were just a blurry blur but that yellow rump stood out a mile!
The colours here aren't quite accurate as we were limited by what coloured pencils still had points in the box of crayons the cafe's have for the visiting children.
Answers on a virtual postcard please.
Where to next? We've got two large groups of very small children exploring the beach tomorrow - wonder what they'll find.
In the meantime let us know what's disappearing in to the hedgerows in your outback.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Safari only noted three notable things to note down in the notebook today. A very grey and gloomy day all round. 
On the flat calm sea there were probably over 300 Common Scoters in the distance and close by three Great Crested Grebes flew north while a fourth just sat still. Not too far away and also sitting still was a Red Throated Diver. These weren't the notables though.
They were a juvenile/1st winter Herring Gull being very inquisitive with a Edible Whelk eventually it extricated a Hermit Crab from the curly innards of the shell, involving a lot of footwork along with the standard beakwork - never seen that before - interesting stuff!
The second notable note was a Pied Wagtail way way out on the beach catching flies on the edge of a runnel and the third also involved flies...the local Starlings were on the wall only a few feet from us pecking hundreds of tiny flies off the top of the wall - annoyingly we'd decoded the light was too grotty for pics and these Starlings were the absolute tops we could have filled our boots or at least the SD card.
Overhead we had a few Grey Wagtails and Pied Wagtails but nothing else. Last night we heard Redwings going over but there may be more tonight as 21,100 YES 21 THOUSAND!!!) were counted at Spurn yesterday - Holy sh*t!!!
We've put the link to Spurn BO on the side bar so you can keep up to date with the comings and goings there (they also had a Stormy yesterday - lucky so n sos) and decide if you want to give up birding or not! Have to say everyday isn't like that though as the Young Uns found out on Saturday when it was fairly quiet. We've had a few quiet days there too over the years but we have also had some crackers like Goldcrests landing on us at dawn and a Buzzard landing on the beach and being washed up to terra-firma by the incoming waves before walking somewhat bedraggled into the dunes.
All good stuff.
Where to next? More gloomy Patch 2 probably.
In the meantime let us know if it was light enough to see anything in your outback.In the meanmeantime we wouldn't mind a crack at this little jaunt in the Land Rover!

Monday, 22 October 2012

One for Blackpool Nature but certainly not Blackpool nature

The Safari was asked for a pic of Rodney by our mate PL when we met up with him at the end of last week.
Rodney is a juvenile Bob Tailed Skink who was born, these are live bearers, when his mum was brought in to Maroo requiring some expert care and attention. His species was named by the chap Gray Whales are named after!
He's a captive animal, in fact he's a bit of a star as he is allowed to be used as an educational model and has been known to encourage wary school children to stroke him and discover he feels quite nice and not at all slimy as they expected.

Where did the sunshine go?

The Safari was hoping to try to get some pics of Jupiter and its moons this morning. The plan was to take Frank out and leave the camera outside to cool down – someone told us that observing the heavens is best done through optics that are at the ambient temperature – so that by the time he’d had his walk we’d be ready to fire off a few shots. Someone didn’t tell the clouds – plenty of them and smack bang in the way!
By the time we’d got to work those same clouds were still about and had thickened and dropped so that Patch 2 visibility was poor. We easily made out two fairly close Great Crested Grebes and the two male Eiders that flew past didn’t cause any ID problems either but at range all the Common Scoters were just dark dots in a blanket of grey. Even in flight we think we’d have struggled to find any Velvet Scoters amongst the 300 or so them, or anything else for that matter.
Overhead we head a couple of ‘alba’ Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and a few Meadow Pipits. Not the best of mornings, surely the lunchtime session would be better.
Lunchtime came round quickly and we scoffed our butties before grabbing the scope and heading off over the road. Needn’t have bothered. The tide was a long way out but there was little other than a few gulls and six Redshanks on the beach, six is the top count here so far this autumn. The sea was still and flat and still very, very grey.  Nothing moved apart from a few distant Common Scoters, there were no divers, seals or cetaceans and even the morning’s Great Crested Grebes had done a bunk.
Seeing a fairly close flock of Common Scoters and having a friend who’d like to get some pics off them we went back inside and swapped the scope for the camera and our shoes for wellies and wandered down to the tide line.
It didn’t take us long to do the swapping and the wandering but by the time we got to the water’s edge the scoters had drifted further offshore and were now about 250 – 300 yards far for sensible photography. Well we we’d brought the kit out so we might as well have a bash. We fired off a blast of shots and immediately deleted them as U/S. After a few minutes we saw a flock of scoters swirling round in the middle distance and they looked to be coming nearer – as luck would have it they did come nearer and joined the ones we’d been watching.
This dreadful pic is by far the best we could manage. 

They were really to far away to have been worth bothering with.

The walk back up the beach gave us little in the way of interesting flotsam and jetsam other than we could tell it had been a nice weekend weather wise from the amount of plastic bottles and other ‘land’ litter that had been washed up – earlier we’d seen a fair bit of litter still floating around offshore – nightmare. There is a beach-clean being organised by the Sealife Centre later in the week which we’ll be joining.
Almost back at the slade a few gulls were poking around in a bit of a runnel so we took the opportunity to get some pics if only to add it bit of colour (grey) to this post.

At Base Camp Wifey came home and said "have you seen this moth on the wall?" We hadn't - a nice Common Marbled Carpet and show how  bad a mothing year it's been our first!
Flash was needed for the pic
Where to next? will it be less grey tomorrow?
In the meantime let us know what wasn't worth bothering with in your outback

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Not a bad vis mig session considering

The Safari went to bed last night dreaming of all the goodies we hoped to see/hear going over this morning; species like Siskin, Crossbill, Bullfinch (well they go over Heysham to the north of us so where do they end up?), Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting,Tree Sparrow, Jay, Fieldfare, Ring Ouzel and anything else a little out of the ordinary.
Plans were thwarted when Frank got us up this morning an opening the door we looked up and saw a lorra lorra stars; Venus was still blazing away and in the west Jupiter and it's three close moons clustered at '10 o'clock' and poor old Ganymede stood out in the cold on its own - clear skies...darn it!!!
The walk to the watch point gave us a more ticking Robins and Blackbirds clucking away than yesterday morning. At the watch point as a chill mist hung in the lowest parts of the fields we heard a Skylark and a Snipe in the darkness long before any hint of the sun appeared on the eastern horizon.
The sun started to come up and the birding was hard going, our fears about the clear skies were beginning to ring true and we took to photographing the sunrise. Venus is the bright dot top right and under the left hand pylon you can just make out the flat tops of the now Hen Harrier-less Bowland Fells; time for a huntin shootin fishin landed gentry minister in charge of our wildlife heritage to resign?...if only!

So did we get any of the species listed above? Not likely!
We did get - and apologies for the list rather than a dirty great blurb of prose -
Pied Wagtails - 10 in dribs n drabs
Skylark - 2, one in the dark and one near the end of the watch

Song Thrush - 10 again in dribs and drabs with one or two dropping in to the nearby hedges
Chaffinch - 10 (AGAIN!) in dribs n drabs all southish apart from 1 due east
Starling - plenty about but two singles went south ignoring the local flocks
Redwing - not many, a flock of 8 and 4 early on and a single towards the end of the watch
Mistle Thrush - one south landed on one of the pylon and then the building behind us but the two on the walk back to Base Camp were on the same aerial as yesterday so we now assume they are locals and not migrants at all
Magpie - one west very very high, like the Starlings ignoring the local birds
Blackbird - four south and plenty of others eating the berries on the Hawthorns
Woodpigeon - 114+ in five flocks the biggest of which was about 30
Jackdaw - odds n sods and a big flock of 60+
Greenfinch - only 6 and again the doubled back rather than cross the railway in to the urban area behind us
Meadow Pipit - 69 no flocks bigger than 15
Sparrowhawk - a local bird
Redpoll - 3 went north, could they have been missed going south and turned round like the Greenfinches?
Carrion Crow - a late entry on to the list after being ignored but by now it seemed that some were deffo on the move rather than all being local birds
Mute Swans - two locals dropped in to one of the many ponds
A Goldcrest was along the path through the trees.
Back at Base Camp as we rounded the corner in to our street a Coal Tit was in a neighbours tree, a migrant?
Distant flocks of Pink Footed Geese went by, mostly south today. This was the biggest flock - how many are there? We guestimated 125 at the time - were we close?

 And here's a close up of yesterday's golden tree - a Norway Maple
A good slap up feast at a country pub with the family gave us a Goldcrest in the hedge across the road and a Buzzard soaring over the field behind that. Motorway drive 30 miles Buzzards 0 - Kestrels 2...and again no Roe Deer in their 'favourite' field.
Where to next? Back to the seaside tomorrow should be nice and flat and cetaceanny.
In the meantime let us know if any of your 'hit-list' made it in to your outback today

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Go round the back

The Safari forgot to mention the nice male Blackcap yesterday that was enjoying the Hawthorn berries in the hedge separating the wetland from the allotments along with 17 or more Blackbirds and a Redwing that dropped in from a fair height. First we've seen for a while.
This morning we were in our vis migging position before it was light thanks to Frank for getting up too early but not early enough to make it worthwhile going back to bed.
It really wasn't worth going out as there wasn't a great deal doing at all. It was well light before we had cause to get the notebook out of the old pocket. A distant flock of about 40 Pink Footed Geese going north to their feeding grounds, the first of  three flocks totaling about 180 birds.
Next in was the local Kestrel whereas the Song Thrush that cam from over the trees and kept going southwards over our head and away was deffo a migrant.
We were stood on the railway bridge and at head height next to us were the tops of the bushes growing on the embankment where out of the gloom a Goldcrest appeared before flitting across the lines and disappearing in to the undergrowth.
A Chaffinch 'chupped' on its way past and five Greenfinch dropped in to the end of the hedges, they seem to be unwilling to pass in to/over the urban area. Similarly two Redwings dropped in to the hedge and started feeding alongside half a dozen or so Blackbirds, of which about 20 were seen altogether although they were very mobile.
As we were leaving a bit fed up with the lack of passage a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over us followed shortly afterwards by two 'alba' Wagtails.
The light was gorgeous as the sun eased over the eastern horizon giving the field's residents and surround autumnal coloured trees a lovely glow.

This Maple is the most advanced in the area, not sure which species of maple it is, no to go back and have a look at its leaves.
On the way back to Base Camp we had three then two Mistle Thrushes, we weren't sure about the first three's migrant status but the other tow were at on an aerial and when a Sparrowhawk flushed them they set off high to the south; as it happens there's been a few on the move across the region today. 
Mid morning Frank decided he had to do a full Patch 1 walk. In teh park we had a small flock of Long Tailed Tits, a Coal Tit, more likely a local breeder than one of the recent influx, and two Goldcrests...and Frank enjoyed himself too good to see he's on the mend and wanting to get a little bit further each day.  
At lunchtime we con(vinc)ed Wifey in to taking us up north to twitch the Pallas's Warbler  that can be seen from RBA CB's back garden - cheers bud! To ease the pain for Wifey we stopped off at the excellent pie shop in the villager first - praying it wouldn't leave or be chomped by a Sparrowhawk as we chomped our very tasty pies. A practice shot of a moving target was taken just in case we need a flight shot of the little warbler.
We were dropped off and Frank was taken for a walk. We waited with about a dozen others with no joy but it was still somewhere in the tree as it had been seen about half an our earlier. Then a nightmare happened a male Sparrowhawk turned up and sat on a nearby branch before darting in to THE tree. CB was on hand to nip in to the garden and flushed the scary beast which left with empty talons - the relief in the garden was palpable! But experienced watchers now thought it would be at least half an hour before it dared venture out and we weren't at all sure we'd be allowed that much time. As it was we were and we didn't need it all as the Pallas's Warbler (272, 186) showed three times, hardly good or prolonged views and no chance of getting anything like this pic we nicked from JS that he took earlier in the week - hope he doesn't mind! What a bird though - aren't they just little corkers!!! How on earth does something so tiny get to the furthest reaches of west Lancashire from the deepest depths of inner Siberia?
The drive back to Base Camp saw us take a wrong turn, or miss the right turn and that gave us the weirdest sighting of the day..wot-ja reckon to this?

Another nip out with Frank had us listening to a Chiffchaff in the back gardens of the houses on the opposite side of the street - is this the same one that we heard a week or so ago and if so will it overwinter?
Not a bad day at all.
Where to next? Big family business tomorrow ehh-upp muvver has reached a milestone birthday and we we'll be out of town. we'll be in an area we don't know at all well and there may be something to report.
In the meantime let us know what's wearing the stripes in your outback.