The Safari was out early this morning with Frank and he missed the Fox only 20 yards up the hill, serves him right for rolling around in the damp grass like something not right.
A little later the female Peregrine was swooping round the tower giving the gulls roosting on the nearby office roofs something to squawk about.
Then it was off across the main road clip board in hand to record the winter thrushes. As soon as we hit the North Blackpool Pond Trail's entrance 'gate' we had a flurry of Blackbirds...this was going to the theme for the next hour and a bit; Blackbirds were everywhere but not a lot else. We spotted a flock of Long Tailed Tits near the Brambling Zone but didn't have time to stop and look for the dapper little finch...maybe on the way back...
A Song Thrush broke the Blackbird's monopoly and a Kestrel flew over the horses' field towards the totally vole-free footy pitches. In the cemetery a Sparrowhawk made a Blackbird clatter somewhere in the furthest hedge - all get noted down whether seen or just heard.
The industrial estate was a revelation as there were just as many Blackbirds here feeding on the scattered remnant Hawthorns and 'amenity' Cotoneasters as there was on the more 'countrysidey' bit. The second and final Song Thrush of the survey was recorded here.
Another Blackbird only just escaped the clutches of another (or the same?) Sparrowhawk by diving into the thick Willow scrub growing in the pond by the footy fields...might not be so lucky next week as this where the management project is taking place and one of the jobs being done is removing some of the Willow that is threatening to totally shade out the pond.
The return leg took us past the Brambling Zone again but as we rewached it we had our highest concentration of Blackbirds, again in a remnant Hawthorn hedge feeding on the berries, hard to count as we unwittingly flushed them but at least a dozen in as many yards. Again time was against us and we could only have a quick look for the finches, Goldcrest, we'd had one earlier in the crem too, but no Bramblings!
Off survey and almost back at the 'gate' we had a camera moment but hadn't brought the camera out, when a Redwing sat up still and close; absolutely stunning in the mid-morning sunlight against the background of dark twigs and bright red berries.
Grey Squirrels were notably numerous with half a dozen and a Coal Tit flying across the wide open space that is the football field looked out of context.
Not a bad morning's 'work'...but we could have gone to Patch 2 were yet another Bottle Nosed Dolphin was seen...excellent stuff!
Where to next? A BEAT NatureWatch pond project tomorrow, if we get there after a big family do tonight.
In the meantime let us know what's working what's left of the hedgerows in your outback.