Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dashing around slowly

The Safari did the WinterTthrush survey yesterday and found only 13 Blackbirds and a big flock of Starlings - OK we know they aren't thrushes but you can count them. More Blackbirds were seen before the start of the survey and then at 'half time' when we went to have a look at the nearby lake to try to 'up'  our NBPT list.
We did find seven Bee Orchid rosettes on the old tip but nothing of note in the reedbed unfortunately. There was loads of Lesser Celandine waiting for an hour of sunshine to burst their flower buds open.
on the lake we had two male and two female Pochards but only three Teal. Two Mistle Thrushes weren't far off survey but far enough not to be included.  A Reed Bunting was a nice find on the 'isolated' pond by the flats and in the Community Orchard we found our only other thrush of the day a Redwing.
Today we decided not to go far and headed up to the Fleetwood area only to be thwarted by dog walkers, joggers and model yacht sailors. 
We called in at the Point but there was very little on the sea apart from a small flock of Eider but behind us in the dunes/golf course area a Skylark (114) sang - lovely to hear those sweet notes again. Ingleborough Hill looked lovely in the sunshine with its cap of snow, A small flock of Sanderlings were promptly disturbed by a tide line jogger just as they were getting into a good close position...he must have seen what we were doing but carried on between us and the birds rather than doing a minor detour round the back of us - thanks mate NOT!

Frank had a little swim before we moved 1/4 mile down the road to the boating lake where we hoped to see some Red Breasted Mergansers but only saw model yachts. We looked at the Turnstones roosting on the bank in between being disturbed by dog walkers. They refused to come close to the food unlike three Pigeons, one of which is/was as racing bird as can be seen by the ring, no doubt some pigeon fancier is calling for a cull of Sparrowhawks cos his bird;s gone missing.

One Turnstone did deign to come back and land within range of the lens.
Enough time had been spent here so we moved to the nearby Nature Park - aka dog toilet - naturalists were outnumbered about 50: 1 by dog walkers who were themselves outnumbered by their mutts 3:1
We had a look at the pools and heard but didn't see a wickering Little Grebe. Nothing spectacular amongst the gulls but on the more accessible pond there was mayhem with two Staffies trying to attack the resident Mute Swans, the owners were nowhere to be seen for ages then laughed it off as a bit of fun...not for the swans we don't think. No they weren't hoody types but a middle class looking family.

We didn't look at the estuary having had our fill of unruly mutts it was time to give the very staid Frank a rest in the back of the Land Rover - his arthritis in his front legs is getting bad - so we crossed the river in the hope of some farmland birds.
We went straight to the feeding station where there were very few birds but luckily three of them were Yellowhammers (105). Not the best of pics but you get the gist.

We waited and waited but nothing, and surprisingly no-one, came. Just a Robin, a Woodpigeon and a Blue Tit until a Stock Dove called by.

We moved round to the other feeding station to find a car parked down the track and two photographers enjoying stonking views of a Barn Owl hunting a bit of a was kind enough to land on a very close post.

One for Warren down at Pittswood, Kent ;-)
This was one of three Barn Owls we saw today but no sign of the Short Eared Owl or the Hen Harrier.
Frank was now needing to stretch his legs so we went to the 'Chicken Reserve' on the marshes. The tide was well out and there were thousands of geese on the saltmarsh. We scanned and scanned and scanned and more came in but no sign of the Snow Goose with them. Plenty of snow in the distance though.

 Lots of Little Egrets out there too; we've not photo'd three together before.
It was now getting near tea-time and we'd not ate nor drunk since early breakfast so we headed back to Base Camp a little disappointed with the day but we certainly couldn't grumble with the fantastic spectacle of all those geese in the air and the sound of them was simple awe inspiring, even some boy racery type chavs in the car park stopped what they were doing and looked up commenting "corrrr look at all those berds!". And it's not all about ticking off lists is it...
Back home there was a must have heard the phrase "reduce, re-use, recycle" well here's a splendid example of re-using...

OK so they're Daffs not Celery but it's better on our window sill than in a landfill somewhere.
Where to next? Wonder if Patch 2 will give up the Velvet Scoter that was seen at the point yesterday...or even something for us to find ourselves, a Scaup would be nice.
In the meantime let us know what's not found its way into the notebook in your outback. 


cliff said...

Cracking Barn Owl & Geese photos Dave.

Anonymous said...

Nice one on all counts Dave.

Warren Baker said...

Some dog owners.......I dunno, beggers belief!

Nice to hear you got some sunshine there davyman :-)

Oh! I'll get my own back with a Barn owl might be a while though!!