Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Short of time today

The Safari didn't get much a safari in today. We were late getting on to Patch 2 mainly due to the length of time it took to negotiate the last 20 yards of collar bone, wrist, arm and/or hip breaking ice! The route up the slope to the Mirror Ball was slipperier than the north face of the Eiger and there's no steps just a fairly steep slope. Once we'd reached the relative safety of the Mirror Ball's raised block plinth we saw the way beyond was even more treacherous, we doubled back a bit and took a more circuitous route using as much untrodden snow as we could which was \OK until we were within six feet of the wall, this area must have caught some sun and then refrozen - it was all we could do to cling to the wall to remain upright while we peered down the scope. The slightest shift of position would send one or both feet sliding in any direction they chose - scary and not conducive to concentrating on what might have been on the sea.
What was on the sea was not a great lot, two Great Crested Grebes and two Red Throated Divers were all we could muster. But the Cormorants were interesting...seeing a large flock coming towards us we started to count and several minutes later had exactly 100 in the notebook coming in from out to sea and just two going out to where the others had come from.
The beach was quiet with the sea only minutes earlier receding from the base of the wall, a few Oystercatchers and Sanderlings were first to the newly revealed sand while four Turnstones worked the top of the outfall pipe.
Lunchtime on the almost low tide was U/S, just a few more Comorants coming in from out - wonder just how many passed by all morning.
After our afternoon appointment we called in at the nature reserve for the last of the light to see if any Bitterns have arrived yet - can't believe no-one has had one there this winter, almost unheard of!
Nothing much was happening, a few gulls came in for a pre-roost bathe and went again other than that it was quiet, nice and peaceful in the late afternoon sunshine until the Cetti's Warbler almost destroyed our left ear drum that is.
We had hoped the Water Rail would have been skulking around but the light had already gone in the shade of the hide so getting any pics would have been impossible, across the mere the reeds glowed like golden coals in the sunset but not a sniff of a Bittern climbing to the top of them for a last chance at a bask.
A Herring Gull with a huge amount of white in the wing-tip came in long all white stretch on P10 and P9 with a small sub-terminal band on P8 was an interesting looking bird - not having the camera ready was a bit of a downer.
With toes getting cold we ran out of time and had to head off back to Base Camp to get the home fires burning.
Where to next? A crisp morning is likely tomorrow so hopefully the sea will be nice and calm with good visibility.
In the meantime let us know what's not climbing the reeds in your outback.


Anonymous said...

Bitterns are doing well across at the Old Moor. First site breeding record last year.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Very good to learn that Dean - good on em.
Our reedbeds will never be big enough for a breeding pair but regularly hold some in winter usually 2-3 max 8(+?) but none so far this year which is strange.