The Safari went to the nature reserve early to set up ready for the hordes that we hoped would be on the Long Eared Owl walk. It was well foggy, could hardly We drove round with all the kit and as we got it out of the back of the Land Rover and let Frank out too a Lesser Redpoll (71, 56) flew over calling closely followed by three then another seven Whooper Swans (72, 57). As we got the scope set up on one of the Long Eared Owls we heard the Lapwings go up off the scrape, getting the bins up quick we saw about 250 in the air with, at very long last, three Golden Plovers! (73, 58). Apparently and very annoyingly it transpired we.d missed the Ruff that was also in the flock, they are now very hard to find in the Fylde and it's a very very long time since we saw one at the nature reserve.
Only a few moments later 18 Black Tailed Godwits (74, 59)went SW looking like they wanted to stop and settle but after a few circuits they continued on their way. There were loads of Pink Footed Geese going over all the while as well, the fog must have got many birds a bit lost and misplaced.
A good sized crowd appeared to view the Long Eared Owls which showed themselves 'well' or as well as they ever show and were enjoyed by all. With everyone owled up and off we decided to go round to view the water. A hundred yards up the track we spotted a Hawthorn with it's buds opening.
Hence the name of this post slimy slugs were out in force this morning and on our trip out yesterday we saw a squashed Hedgehog on the road...before the end of the first week of January! The song part of the title came about from the huge number of Blackbirds and Robins we've heard singing these last couple of mornings.
We passed a group with bins looking at the roof of the nearby leisure complex which could only mean the Iceland gull was in town. Stopping quickly and letting Frankl out again we dashed over to see the group lift off the roof and fly away from us. Fortunately they did a bit of a fly round before departing and we got good views of the 2nd winter Iceland Gull (75, 60) which is probably the same bird as was present for much of last winter. Scanning through the gulls on the water gave us an adult Lesser Black Backed Gull (MMLNR #61). A Song Thrush (76, 62) tuned up in the scrub near the hide and two Cetti's Warblers song-dueled at each other from the reedbeds either side of the hide.
A Sparrowhawk spooked the Lapwings, far less of them now, but there in the middle of the flock was the Ruff (77, 63), we hadn't dipped it after all.
Up at the next hide we watched two Water Rails having a spat and then it turned into a right royal barney!
At the Feeding Station the Pheasants stole the show, amongst other things!, and we still haven't had the Great Spotted Woodpecker there, missed it by minutes.
That was enough, with high tide looming we set off for the coast. We soon found the flock of roosting waders but they were in an almost impossible place to view on the far side of the kart-track wall perhaps due to the numbers of fishermen near the part of the wall where they they normally roost. We couldn't find the two Purple Sandpipers but there were plenty of Redshanks and Turnstones. In the flock was a Knot (78) and a Grey Wagtail (79) flew over.
A quick look at the sea didn't give us anything other than a few small flocks of Common Scoters.
So that was the end of a rather productive day at the nature reserve and we'll need a few more like it if we are going to reach that target of 125. A missed Chiffchaff today is of no real consequence as we'll no doubt catch it up in March.Where to next? Back to Patch 2 tomorrow full of hope for a few more new birds for the year.
In the meantime let us know if there are any signs of spring springing in your outback.