Saturday, 26 January 2013

Schlumping through the slush

The Safari has been busy surveying today. First up was our fortnightly BTO Winter Thrushes survey where we had no fewer than five Mistle Thrushes only days after they were announced as disappearing rapidly from our gardens.
The snow was thawing rapidly as we left Base Camp and it was slippery and going to be cold on the toes. we closed the door an immediately spotted a Coal Tit in our neighbours Cherry trees.
The rest of the survey was undertaken searching high and low for thrushes, they were few and far between even Blackbirds today. A Meadow Pipit went over and we watched a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers having a game of hide and seek round the trunk of a large tree in the Community Orchard. A Redwing was found just beyond the half way mark. 
On the way back we stopped to have a close look at the Goldfinch flock but the only odd one out was a Greenfinch.
As soon as we'd finished that survey it was off to the other end of the North Blackpool Pond Trail to join the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch event there.
Several familiar faces turned up and we the slush was even slushier, the paths being underwater in places, blimey snow is actually a lorra lorra lorra water.
Still plenty of ice on the lake with 55 Teal roosting quietly under the overhanging trees.

In the open water a male Tufted Duck mooched about with the 44 Mallards. behind them sunning itself on the edge of the reeds was the first of our Herons.
A couple of over-sized homemade fat-balls attracted a Coal Tit and a Blue Tit and there were a few Great Tits along the path.
Finches were few and far between until we came across a flock of eight Goldfinches feeding on Alder seeds.
Although we were surveying birds it didn't stop us enjoying the other wildlife around the lake which included this fluorescent fungi, we think they could be Velvet Shank.

The morning ended with a few Black Headed Gulls standing on the ice bringing the species total to 22 and our NBPT year tally to 38.
After a quick lunch we threw some bread on the garage roof and filled the sunny seed feeder and scattered more on the ground under our shrubbery.
It was a while before any birds turned up and we were getting worried we'd have a nil to send in to the RSPB.
A Blue Tit snuck in for a sunny seed then the floodgates opened...well almost. Collared Doves and Greenfinches appeared along with a very skulky Blackbird and Robin.
It took a slight change in the wind to enable the gulls to get down on to the garage roof but two Black Headed Gulls down encouraged no fewer than a squabble of eight Herring Gulls to drop down...and that was the end of half a loaf!
A Woodpigeon flew down and we watching it gobbling up sunny seeds for fun but then a movement under the Crab Apple tree caught our eye - Base Camp's first Dunnock (18) of the year...nice to see it/them back.
Where to next? Excitement guaranteed tomorrow as we head northwards into the hill country for a very refreshing change.
In the meantime let us know how many tally marks made the notebook in your outback.


Deano said...

Spot on with Velvet Shank, Dave.

Monika said...

I just read an article about the mistle thrush and thought I'd pop over here to see if you had anything to say about it - certainly didn't expect it to be in the first few lines of your most recent post! Glad someone's seeing them, at least.

Also, I love that first fungi shot.

Warren Baker said...

Very envious of your wildfowl Davyman, dont get much of that ilk here!