Sunday, 7 April 2013

Looked like an Osprey sort of a day

The Safari has had a busy day in the field today. It started frostily early with two skeins of Pink Footed Geese going north one a few minutes behind the other, the first numbering about 100 and the other slightly smaller. It was a case of not looking up with your mouth open!
Once Frank was breakfasted we were able to leave him behind and go on to the North Blackpool Pond Trail and our Winter Thrushes survey. We started of with a Song Thrush trying to hide from the first of the multitude of cats we saw this morning. Blackbirds were everywhere, there appeared to have been a bit of influx either to avoid the intense cold inland or maybe they were coasting northwards on migration. Our total for the day was a pretty high 89! Several Redwings were also found. Meadow Pipits were going over but none of the Siskins that Graced CR's garden not far away.
At the lake we got a great view of the elusive Water Rail (NBPT #50). Also there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Cormorant and a pair of Great Crested Grebes but most interesting was a Heron sitting  on a nest on the island. Seven Teal were found and a Chiffchaff (128, 51) poking around amongst the low twigs overhanging the water. 
All the Black Headed Gulls seem to have moved on but we did find some Primroses probably planted at the base of three trees.
On the way back we found our first Goldcrest (52) of the NBPT this year - and cracking and prolonged close views too, shame we aren't really able to take the camera  on this survey.
After a well loaded bacon and mushroom butty it was time to take Frank to the nature reserve for the rest of the day.
We strated up at the old warden's cabin and immediately heard a Chiffchaff (MMLNR #75). A few Meadow Pipits (MMLNR #76) passed over. After a chat to the Voluntary Rangers we went to the far end.
Over in the field a tractor was ploughing and we hoped this would attract the Mediterranean Gulls that have been seen here recently.

It did! A pair of Mediterranean Gulls (MMLNR # 77) were on the mere.
Slightly less interesting but no less bonny were a pair of Oystercatchers (MMLNR #78).
Scanning the reed bed for a Snipe or Jack Snipe was fruitless although AB txt once we'd got back to Base Camp to say he'd found one - you can easily go off people!!!
The gulls were numerous and noisy and included this interesting leucistic Black Headed Gull.

It was very interested in this 'normal' specimen.
 A couple of flight shots
You can make out the 'shadow' of what should be black on the wing-tips, apologies for the blurriness.
A 'normal' one
 And a couple of Common Gulls
The gulls went up in flurry and we checked for Ospreys as it felt like a real Osprey sort of a day. We saw two Buzzards circling together and a third coming towards us. This one seemed very flat winged as it glided towards us and twe could see the tail being twisted in a quite un-Buzzard-like way...BINGO  our first Fylde (and only second Lancashire) Red Kite (128, MMLNR #79) - Happy Days!
It drifted north but the gulls were still unhappy and scanning round we found out why a Peregrine was way up above them also circling northwards.
We watched the eastern fields and found a flock of thrushes, 39 Fieldfares and a Redwing along with six Mistle Thrushes (MMLNR #80) in the air. Several Pied Wagtails (MMLNR #81) dropped on the ploughed patch.
All too soon it was time to go and we didn't find that Osprey but if the truth be known it no longer felt like an Osprey sort of a day.
we did think about going back  later to see if any Wheatears, Sand Martins or the Barn Owl were about but once we were ensconced at home we decided to stay put, plenty of time for those three yet.
View from the Fylde Bird Club hide with our new smartphone - we've joined the 21st C at last!
Peacock and Small Tortoishell butterflies were also seen on the nature reserve this afternoon - it's starting at last!
Where to next? A Harbour Porpoise was at Patch 2 today but will it be there tomorrow morning?
In the meantime let us know what was supposed to pass over but was upstaged in your outback!
Late Update - We should have gone back, this from one of the lads we were chatting to at the embankment not long after seeing the kite

"Osprey 1
Picked up flying north over Gipsy Hole Wood, where a large gull briefly paid it some attention, then direct flight north, just east of Chain Lane, 17.59-​18.01 (viewed from embankment)" B*GGER!!! The Barn Owl was also peeping out of its box


Blackpool Nature said...

Hi Dave !


Red Kite, Buzzard & Peregrine
Greedy devil - you left nothing for me !

Yours Seething


Love to Frank !

Warren Baker said...

Red Kite and Osprey on the same day would have been a little greedy of you Davyman. Save the Osprey for another visit :-)

Anonymous said...

Med Gulls are one smart species, Dave.
You were right about it looking like an Osprey day...just a shame you missed out.

Anonymous said...

Buzzards sometimes show a forked tail , here in Devon I get caught out some times.

cliff said...

The Med Gulls photo is an absolute beauty Dave.