The Safari was undecided which direction to go this morning. Would we brave the showers on the exposed Prom and do some seawatching or take a chance on the nature reserve hoping most of the holiday-makers on the adjacent camp had gone home. Then there was the possibility of a twitch for the Black Redstart that's been about over the river for a couple of days at the same site as last year. Young AB was already on site and the news he was passing us wasn't good so we had a total change of tack and went inland to the woods and rivers.
Good choice! With Frank in super-sniff mode there was nothing to be done other than amble along at a fraction above 0 mph and take in the views, colours, sights, sounds and even the scents of autumn.
We had the intention of finding a Dipper in the river or getting a look at the turquoise flasher, the Kingfisher. OK so neither showed on our wander along the banks but it was great to be out and we more or less had the place to ourselves
A stop at the hide where we never see much wasn't any different, we didn't see much; lots of Mallards, a family of variously aged Moorhens and a pair of Mute Swans, a Jay squawked from the trees on the far bank. On day we'll find something more unusual on there.
The recent wet and continuing warmth should have had more fungi on show but in the main we struggled to find any. These were more yellow than we've been able to post-process, still no idea what they are though - Sulphur Tuft?
We hate to admit it but we're positively useless at fungi ID, just can't seem to get our head round them! This purple bracket is a real stunner.
Roe Deer, we didn't see any but he certainly got whiffs of them through the woods and thoroughly investigated the many trails that crossed the humans' path. While still in the woods we briefly saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and heard a flock of Long Tailed Tits.
Getting towards the car-parka flock of Redpolls flew over our head and over the river too so no chance of a pic.
It was still too early to head back to Base Camp so we tried our luck at the next river to the south. Frank was even slower now but again that gave us plenty of time to soak up the autumnal atmosphere. It really was a good day to be out even though we didn't see anything 'special' or particularly 'noteworthy'...but then you don't have to, just enjoy the moment - it's all special! Wonder if our inglorious Environment Secretary was out with his dogs soaking up autumn today - if he was he should reflect why he was there and not mooching around the concrete jungle of some deprived inner city area...but even there there are little wildlife gems to be found if you take the time to look.
Again the woods were quiet unlike some of the dog walkers.
This fallen Oak Tree wasn't like that last time we were here. Look how thin the root plate is, the glacial clay is very heavy here and different layers provide seams for water to run across making the whole slope very unstable.
Looking downstream from the tree the light wasn't good but we did spot a familiar movement. A Dipper (183) normally these are on the year list in January!
We fired off a few full zoom shots.
Frank was pretty much cream crackered by now but we forced him to do a few more yards to try to get beyond it, looking back at it with the light behind us, and a little nearer too. Unfortunately it didn't work a bloke with two spaniels came round the corner throwing rocks in the river for them and that was the end of the Dipper :-( One of the many hazards of weekend safari-ing.
Where to next? Back to work in the morning which can only mean more Patch 2 nonsense.
In the meantime let us know who's doing the dipping in your outback