Thursday, 14 February 2013

We came we saw they went

The Safari enjoyed almost summery conditions today but with poor visibility from the middle distance but the beach was nice and clear today. A few gulls pecked hopefully at small remnants of shellfish wreck here and there. Concentrating on the outfall pipe we counted 22 Redshanks but didn’t count the Oystercatchers, more than 22 but well less than 100. Nothing out of the ordinary could be found amongst the gulls and just a single Turnstone could be seen working its way through the Mussels along the top of the pipe.
Out to sea nothing much was happening. Small flocks of Common Scoters were scattered about and that was about it...until we found a string of distant gulls.
Working along the line we saw that almost all of them were Kittiwakes with a handful of 1st winter Herring Gulls mixed in with them. We counted the Kittiwakes, all adults as far as we could tell, and got to 203. They were moving slowly south, with most of them dipping and dropping on to the surface at some time. Looked like they were feeding on something at the surface that was concentrated by the currents and/or tide in a long narrow strip. A Red Throated Diver took off from their midst.
The pleasant conditions made it hard for us to drag ourselves away a go back into work; it was nice enough to have been able to stand out there for a couple of hours!
A lunchtime trip to the post office gave us the chance to have another look at the Waxwings in lovely calm and sunny conditions. At least two were in a low tree near the berry bushes as we drove up. We parked up put the long lens on the camera and walked round the corner, managing to walk straight past a photographer sat by the fence without spotting him as we went...great camo gear he was wearing!
We had a look at the furthest berry trees as these would have given the best position to stand in relation to the sun but a Council landscape gang had recently been trimming the shrubs in that area – mostly Dogwood – isn’t the sole point of planting Dogwood to enjoy the deep red branches as the sap rises in the spring? So why do these ‘landscapers’ insist on cutting them down along with the spring flowering Forsythia and Flowering Currant bushes - - drives us mad! Should be simple horticultural ID and pruning knowledge. The general dumbing down of just about everything.
The Waxwings eventually took to the air from somewhere unseen and about two dozen circled a few times before landing in the Cotoneaster bushes we were stood by. None were in a good position for a pic and as we watched they shifted around until a Mistle Thrush came in and flushed them and off they went into the distance.
We waited around but there was no sign of them reappearing. All too soon it was time to head back to the office. Driving into the car park we spotted PL well away from his normal habitat trying to take pics of our House Sparrows. We had a brief chat and tried to get some pics ourselves. It’s difficult to get them without a background of brick wall, they have to sit up on the top-most branches of the hedge and you have to be as low as possible to get sky behind them. They don’t cooperate, getting low down into the thick of the hedge, well that is where the passing public have put the feeders.
We managed just one reasonable attempt.

Again we ran out of time and PL sauntered off to try his luck with the Waxwings. Hope he had better luck than we did!
Where to next? More Patch 2 and if it's sunny we might try for the Waxwings again before they decide to move  on.
In the meantime let us know if the sun shone for a change in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Only had one house sparrow this year in my garden Davyman. Lets hope one of those Tonbridge Waxwings comes my way eh?

Blackpool Nature said...

Hi Dave !

No I didn't have any luck with the Waxwings !
All that way to walk -and not a sign of the little darlings(devils) when I got there. Sauntered around for ages with no luck - had to leave at 3.15pm and now I see they were spotted at 4.00pm ! (expletive deleted)

Love to Frank


Michelle Anne Custodio said...

Your oban wildlife trips can be very exciting when you can appreciate animals a lot. Good photo.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Will be up your way later in the year Michelle