The Safari was able to get out for a couple of hours this arvo. A site visit was needed to have a check of a site the BEAT NatureWatch are hoping will become a County Biological Heritage Site in the near future but some remedial works have become necessary.
Obviously we weren't going to see any snakes, if indeed there are still any there, and we struggled to find any signs of Water Voles but the water level in the ditch and pond was high and frozen.
We checked under the only refugia and found Short Tailed Field Voles have been very active but more exciting was this blob of ???? Is it a fungus or is it a slime mould?
And what is the skeleton of, frog, mammal or something else.
With a little time left we headed to the nature reserve before it went dark to see if we could find the Bullfinches, we couldn't, the Long Eared Owl(s) weren't showing either and there was no sign of the morning's Waxwings we'd been told about by the Ranger.
The sunset made the reeds a rich hue but no Bitterns emerged to take advantage of the last of the day's rays. A good count of 300 Coots was made.
We'd already met up with PL earlier on our walk and then saw him again with some other birders as we got back to the Land Rover. It would have been rude not to saw cheerio but better than that he said the Barn Owl (MM #97) had been showing so we hung around with him a bit longer and there it was again peering out in the gloom.
Not the best pic of a Barn Owl you'll ever see. Thankfully it looked a lot better through the scope.
Our toes dictated we left before the owl left the box to hunt...by eck it was cold once the sun had gone down!
Could have done with the Bullfinches as when we got home we check the bird club website and saw they'd been seen sometime today...hopefully they'll stick around til the end of the year - should do there's plenty of grub and cover for them. But which other two species do we stand any sort of a chance of to get to the magical 100...that Redshank we missed by minutes in the spring would have helped!
Where to next? More Patch 2 chills tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what's hiding in boxes in your outback