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 out...no 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 Just long enough to see no improvement on the sea – the few scoters were still about but the diver had been replaced by a Great Crested Grebe.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.
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.
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.