The Safari was out with Frank before dawn and heard the ticking of numerous Robins coming from the still dark gardens. Not having been back in the country long and not going very far with Frank and his still gammy leg we’re not sure if this flurry of activity represented a bit of a fall or not.
The sea was flat calm on the drive to work and we were eager to get the scope out of the draw and have a look. R’Ouzel Puddle is now but a distant memory but all the recent rain had provided P’Ouzel Puddle II. Sadly a digger was parked there this morning next to a heap of soil and a big hole so it looks like this migrant attractor’s days are numbered too...where will the next torrential downfall create R’Ouzel Puddle III?
With news of a couple of well predicted Harbour Porpoises yesterday we were very hopeful of some decent sightings this morning. It wasn’t to be... not a cetacean to be seen in the excellent viewing conditions. A Grey Seal’s nose briefly broke the surface and it must have been visible as it moved around under the tiny glassy waves as it was watched/followed by a small flock of inquisitive gulls.
The birds weren’t brilliant but there was enough to keep us interested. The Common Scoters went this way and that but never in any large number and there were none close inshore. Two Great Crested Grebes were found, the first in winter plumage the other still sporting full summer finery. Our first Red Throated Diver of the season flew past as did a Guillemot and a somewhat higher off the water and more distant than usual single Shelduck.
A mid morning check of the garden gave us a rarity in the form of our first Wren of the year for Patch 2 (P2 #84); only the second record; we missed one the Young Uns found a few months ago. Now is that a migrant or not? Nine Greenfinches were tucking in to the bright red hips on the Rosa rugosa bushes against the back wall. As we walked passed them a small flock of four Pied Wagtails and then a single flew over and we also heard but didn’t see Meadow Pipit(s) and Skylark(s).
The early morning was a bit overcast but by the time we got in to the garden the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, it looked like a nice sort of a day for a bit of raptor passage. We’d been back at the desk a good few minutes when we heard a commotion from the gulls, looking out of the back windows we could see the gulls circling round screaming and the Starlings were tightly balled up before settling back down and sitting noisily on the overhead wires of the Illuminations. Something had obviously gone over and upset them. As if to prove you shouldn’t subscribe to Birdguides cos you’ll only get peed off about half an hour after our invisible raptor a Honey Buzzard was seen about 15 miles south of us...now we’re not saying what we missed was that bird...but...
Lunchtime at the wall wasn’t much cop with only another (same?) Red Throated Diver being seen at sea and very little on the beach other than gulls and a few Oystercatchers.
Have a blimp at the moths we caught on our Aussie Bioblitz. Not as many as expected due to torrential overnight rain and cold temperatures...as usual if you know what any of them are let us know...
This one may well be a species of Hypobapta
Would have liked to have caught a few more but with not being able to ID any of these yet we suppose that's enough to be going on with.
We'd like to take the big moth trap out there and run it for a full season who knows what we'd find and then there's the other stuff that gets attracted to the light like the beetles...about which tomorrow perhaps.
Where to next? More marine shenanigans tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what's swooping round your outback after dark