Monday, 11 February 2013


The Safari, having worked on Saturday morning, enjoyed a late start this morning. Late enough to get our Winter Thrushes survey done. Think we're going to have to rename it the Winter Blackbird survey as apart from two Song Thrushes all other thrush records were Blackbirds today, even those off survey at the start and end of the walk!
Little else was seen other than Woodpigeons and Magpies. At the furthest point of our route we went a bit further to the  lake and added Pochard (NBPT #39) to the list but not the Shoveler that was present over the weekend.
Wandering to the route we added a few more off survey Blackbirds and a nice flock of 12 House Sparrows, the on survey flock was at  least 30 but their favourite hedge has been 'tidied' for the spring and now offers no shelter/cover at all; suppose this is just about the best time for hedgerow maintenance, after the berries are all gone and with it ready to sprout again but it does look forlorn.
The football fields yielded another NBPT year bird in the shape of a lone Lesser Black Backed Gull (NBPT #40) with about 40 Black Headeds, a few Commons and a 1st winter Herring to bring the Pond Trail's total up equal to Patch 2's.
We tried to find the weekend Snipe in the reedbed but only succeeded in briefly seeing a female Reed Bunting. Someone has been very naughty and been driving a 4x4 up the bank overlooking the reedbed and making a right old mess of the ground - exactly the type of behaviour that gets the rest of us legit 4x4 drivers unfairly blamed and banned from many routes...not that being banned would stop these numpties anyway. Maybe there should be a 'pay n play' site locally where you can test your skills, nerve and vehicle to their limits (and sometimes beyond...oooohhh eeerrr), the nearest one is a good hour's drive away.
That was close and would have been very embarrassing
In the end we had 27 Blackbirds on survey and about the same off survey.
A quick visit to Patch 2 wasn't as expected, the sea was calm and fairly swell-free and visibility was good but there were only two Great Crested Grebes with a few Common Scoters and Cormorants to be seen... still no Harbour Porpoises for us although the boss found a dead one on the beach a the weekend...his note said it didn't smell too sweet!
A Kestrel nearly made it onto the garden list but missed by a dozen or so yards to the south.
No pics today.
Where to next? School again first thing tomorrow so only a lunchtime Patch 2 visit; might get a few minutes at a couple of other sites if we're lucky.
In the meantime let us know what's hitting the survey sheet in your outback .

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