Monday, 21 October 2013

Back to more normal haunts

The Safari wasn't too chuffed with the weather this morning, the heavy rain was well set in and refused to move on so it looked like we were going to get wet when we ventured out. Wet we did got - flippin soaked!
We'd arranged to meet up with SMcC  again for another cetacean watch but she had come down with lurgy and wasn't able to make it although another volunteer was at the watch point at the base of the cliffs - so that was two of us going to get wet then.
With the thick cloud the light was good and the offshore wind made the sea fairly calm shame about the heavy rain making the horizon only about a mile away and standing uncomfortably miserable wet. Still we stuck it out for two whole English hours and saw not a single mammal. Our com-padre is yet to see a Grey Seal off our coast and unfortunately we couldn't find her one, neither of us could find any form of cetacean either.
It wasn't all doom n gloom though there were a few birds kicking about. On the walkway along the bottom of the cliffs were three Turnstones gleaning bits from the path until dog walkers flushed them, the pickings must have been good cos it didn't take long for them to come back once the coast was clear.
Looking the other way a late Wheatear was hopping on and off the wall, still got a long way to go, by the time it gets there it'll be time to turn round and come back!
At sea a Great Crested Grebe was found and then a Red Throated Diver, later a second would fly past. Also flying by were three Shelducks that just appeared out of the gloom.
Perhaps the most unusual sighting wasn't of anything as notable as any of the above was a Black Headed Gull sitting on the wall close by whose underparts bright pink. It wasn't the only one, there was at least one other, obviously chomping away on something full to bustin with beta carotene; shrimps in the pools on the beach perhaps.
We hadn't taken the big camera due to the weather and it was a way too far for a serious attempt with the phone-cam but we tried anyway
You can see the pink flush - honest!
So no cetaceans but not a total wet lettuce of a day.
We mentioned the Atlantic rain forest yeesterday and told you it was undervalued or perhaps not even valued at all. So how did we come to make a such a sweeping generalisation? Well the huge forestry plantations are well defended against deer and sheep but the native woodland is 99.9999% of the time open to their ravages. Therein lies the problem - they are totally overgrazed and as old trees (and most of them are old even though they are often small in stature) fall there is nothing to replace them. Huge areas of Bracken all the way up the hillsides show where trees probably once stood. But the vast conifer plantations could be the answer with a bit of forethought. When they are felled the cleared area if not required for conifer replanting could be replanted with natives - the protective fencing is often still in place. Any new plantations could have a border of natives planted around it and in features in the terrain like gullies or crags to soften the landscape and provide a seed supply once the conifers have been cropped...all a pipe dream??? And where's the money going to come from...ohh for a very big Euro Lottery win...How much is a Scottish estate these days? We'd give it a go it would be worth the effort!
Where to next? Hmmm dunno yet there's a bit of weather dependency and the Land Rover needs to be resuscitated as it's totally dead after five weeks of inactivity, the only thing that works is the alarm!
In the meantime let us know what loomed out of the gloom in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

That's two of us davyman. I'd soon spend 10 million on natural habitat replacement/protection. After getting myself a new camera and lens of course :-)

More getting wet by the looks of it this week mate!