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 away...to 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