Friday, 30 November 2012

Nice but sort of expected porpoise

The Safari closed the front door onto a cold morning with more ice to scrape off the windscreen before going anywhere.
Once it was light enough to get outside Patch 2 was flat calm but it was difficult not to turn round and look inland at the post-dawn sky which was glowing with the colour of hot coals. The only clouds in the sky were jet-plane vapour trails which would later disperse and create a high level haze which significantly reduced the effect of the sun.
Good numbers of Cormorants went out to their fishing grounds but they went into the mist and out of view. It seems that the fish have moved further north and further offshore.
A couple of Red Throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe were the best of the rest, so not a lot really happening. Given the millpond-like sea we were hoping for a mammal or two.
At lunchtime a mist had descended to the north and sun glinting strongly on the water to the south made viewing only easy straight out. Fortunately the sea conditions were just about perfect and we soon picked up the roll of a Harbour Porpoise, the third sighting off our coast this month making November the fourth most likely month to see them here, after April, January and March.
There were now seven Great Crested Grebes and an extra Red Throated Diver. Well over 100 Cormorants continued to lurk in the haze along with a fair number of Great Black Backed Gulls but they were more intent on bickering and squabbling with each other than foraging so we assume that there weren’t any fish and submarine predators about.
The high tide did bring nine Turnstones to roost on the wall, the calm conditions producing no waves or spray to force them to roost elsewhere.
Good job the school group came yesterday and not today as we couldn’t see any ships, rigs, turbines nor the snow capped peaks of Lake District’s or North Wales’s  mountains today.
Sorry no photos today.
Where to next? A family wedding tomorrow so if we're back in time and sober enough you might get part three of the Lancashire Raft.
In the meantime let us know what's rolling around in your outback.
Late update - Golden Plover heard over Patch 1 (P1 #42) while out with Frank. It is now confirmed that it's impossible to count the Magpies in Magpie Wood with the new street lights. We could hear 'several' moving about and calling as we walked underneath but could only see six!
At the end of November our lists stand at World 275; BI 189; P1 42; P2 87; Garden 46; Marton Mere LNR 96 (can we get to 100 there?)

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