The Safari hit the road fairly early to do the Winter Thrushes survey on the North Blackpool Pond Trail. The walk in was cause for concern as we didn't see any thrushes of any species at all. A Chiffchaff was easily top bird before we started the survey proper. It wasn't long before we found our first thrushes, Blackbirds taking Hawthorn berries from the hedge round the back of the first pond. In fact almost all the Blackbirds we found were eating Hawthorn berries, if only our hedgerows would be allowed to keep them all winter rather than being thrashed to bits before they even ripen.
The low sunlight caught the flowers of the reeds in the dyke beautifully.
Many readers may well have seen some of the many thousands and thousands of Woodpigeons that have been on the move this week, we had some today at last. Seven, no not 7000 just seven, three less than 10!
A Goldcrest was found and a Meadow Pipit went over.
At the half way point we found a patch of Tufted Vetch still in flower.
Another Meadow Pipit went over and we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker but on the whole it was pretty quiet given that this was the best morning weather-wise for ages; Blackbirds were added to the survey sheet at fairly regular intervals but not particularly quickly. In the end 44 where entered on the page. Another three were seen just inches beyond the survey's end point.
We downloaded the app for The Feral Pigeon Project the other day and had the opportunity to give it a go. A flock of 15 Feral Pigeons was pecking around under some feeders a local had hung on a tree at the side of the footy field. To use the app learn the different colour patterns before hand. For youngsters this would be a good project for youngsters - they could download the pics of the different typed into a sort of field guide. Anyway we worked our way through the very simple app entering the numbers of the different types...and then a dog flushed them...they flew round and landed with at least another 50 on a nearby roof but they were silhouetted right in the line of the rising sun...so the record we submitted is a bit duff and now we have a nice pair of scorched retinas.
At the very end of the walk we had a flock of an unknown number of Long Tailed Tits.
After a very lush breakfast of bacon, mushrooms and tatty-scones laced with brown sauce on lightly toasted bread we went out to have a look if the Fox had been for tea. Last night we put the fish-food (don't ask) in a tub to keep the Wood Mice from stealing it, some had gone but who had taken it?
The stealth-cam revealed the truth.
Later we set off to meet SMcC on her dolphin watch and were joined by our Extreme Photographer but nothing blubbery turned up to the party. To the north the fells still showed a dusting of snow.
Three of us scanning found a few Eiders and a Red Throated Diver. In the distance a large flock of Common Scoters kept lifting above the horizon. So far away there was no chance of picking out a Velvet Scoter unlike SD who'd found one close in only a mile or so to the south.
To keep Frank clean and dry we left shortly after SMcC had to go to work and tried to get a look at the Velvet Scoter but it was so busy we couldn't find anywhere convenient to park so we gave up and went back to Base Camp to upload our thrushes data.
Where to next? Patch 2 beckons tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know where all the thrushes are in your outback.