The Safari now knows loads more about Hedgehogs than we ever thought we would when we set off for school at 9.00am this morning! 17 species, they can live upto 7 or more years and we can't wait to see the designs Yr 4 have come up with for their hedgehog houses they are going to secrete about the school's grounds. What great fun we had and at the very end of the day we were 'invited' to take part in the last of their Science Week experiments - could the excessive weight a world famous naturalist stand in a tray of eggs without breaking them???? Trousers were rolled up, shoes taken off and plenty of newspaper spread on the floor...big fanfare...big intake of breath...yes it can...just...one egg was slightly cracked at the pointy end...phew!!!
Once our shoes were put back on and our duties to Yr 4 ended we went to the nature reserve which is only round the corner. As soon as we got through the gate, a different way in today, we saw the regular flock of House Sparrows (MMLNR #90) that live in the dense Blackthorn thicket there.
Dawdling down the hill we saw a few Small Tortoishells and big bumble bees.
By the main gate the Ash tree flowers were open at last.
A Chiffchaff called and then we heard a Blackcap (138, 91) singing but we couldn't locate it in the depths of a Bramble thicket.
We ambled round to the Viewing Platform where MJ was already ensconced but he hadn't seen much. From the reeds to our right a Cetti's Warbler did its best to deafen us. We saw plenty more bees and butterflies and at one stage had three Peacocks in the air together. We're not sure how many Small Tortoiseshells we saw, probably about 10 or so
A constant activity of Phylloscopus warblers went past us, most taking advantage of the warm sun and shelter form the still cold wing on the Willow bush beside us, there must have been plenty of insect activity up there amongst the flowers. but they also spent much time in the reed bed in front of us.
Some in the Willow bush opted for the flycatcher type approach and we could hear the click as their bills snapped shut on the hapless flies while others used the stop and search tactic.
Within a few minutes of getting back to Base Camp we got a call from AB about a Redstart at the same site as the Yellow Wagtails a couple of days ago. We jumped in Wifey's car and drove the threee or so miles to find a group of birders already searching the same field as we were watching the wagtails in. No sign of the Redstart, it had been seen for some time but there was a Redshank and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers (139) probing the remains of the muddy flood.
|Handheld phone-digiscoped - must try harder and learn the none-auto settings|
Still no sign of the Redstart but one of our friends put us on to the stonking male Whinchat (140) that was at the far end of the field...wot little beauts they are!
And then a Barn Owl floated over the fields away in the further distance and all the while we were there Skylark song filled the air...all to soon it was time to head back to Base Camp and a big plateful of Wifey's yummy home made curry.Where to next? Not much chance of any safri-ing until late afternoon tomorrow, we thought we'd have one more Winter thrushes Survey to do but last weekend was the close of it until next September.
In the meantime let is know what's too colourful for its own good in your outback