The Safari woke up to a bit of a frost this morning. Taking Frank out at around 06.00 we saw that all the windscreens of the cars parked in the street were frozen. We hadn't realised it had gone that cold and still overnight. Above us Orion stood out in the inky black sky neighboured by the diamond white Sirius and Jupiter; we heard a few 'seeep' calls of an unknowable number of Redwings as they flew their last miles of the night before landing somewhere well berried or softly wormy for a dawn feast to replenish their depleted reserves and rest tired muscles.
Talking of migrants a cracking pic was posted on Twitter last night of a continental Long Tailed Tit, how on earth do they fly the 200+ miles from Norway to Shetland? They seem to have enough trouble flying from Base Camp's trees to the nearest neighbours less than a hundred miles away; wildlife never ceases to amaze us!
We weren't over amazed by Patch 2 other than to note how chilly that wind was on our right ear and we could see a smattering of the white stuff on the mountain tops in that direction too...it's deffo winter can't argue with snow!
Out to sea we could only see a few Common Scoters in amongst the heavy chop but more unusual was a flock of Eiders flying south well out and at a height.
With little action to keep us out there longer thoughts of a warming cuppa had us nipping back in to the office pretty sharpish.
By lunchtime it had warmed up a little but the wind was still brisk and cool to say the least and heavy showers had been rattling through all morning.
Our first few scans revealed only similar numbers of Common Scoters to the earlier session but then we saw a head pop up from behind a wave straight out in front of us, then another - a prolonged stare proved them to be Great Crested Grebes.
Further scans found us little else until we saw 'one of the grebes' again away to the north. Surely it/they couldn't have gone that far in that time? So was it another? Again a prolonged stare in that direction eventually revealed a pair of Common Scoters, couldn't have been one of those - no it bobbed up from behind a wave in front of them and wasn't a one of the grebes either. It was a diver but we didn't like the look of it so we took a walk up that way a few hundred yards to see if we could get a better view. We did and a few more bob-ups later we'd got it nailed, only a Black Throated Diver - well chuffed; a good bird for this coast.
Let's just say we enjoyed the walk back to the office with the wind at our back :-)
For some reasonwe chose the risk of heavy traffic for the drive home and went along the Prom, possibly we had a mind to see how the Starling murmuration at the pier was coning on, which in the end wasn't busy at all. But all the way we were looking over our shoulder at the developing sunset and at the pier we couldn't tell how many Starlings were there we only saw a small flock come in over town and they went straight under and in to roost without murmurating at all, again we might have been a bit early for the main event but as the evenings draw in we'll catch them some time - watch this space.
Eventually we were able to pull over and get across the tram tracks for a pic or two. It was crystal clear especially over to the northern fells but we couldn't see the Isle of Man.
Where to next? No Patch 2 tomorrow we're at an inland office with little habitat around but you never know there's always something to be seen if you look hard enough.In the meantime let us know who's gearing up for skiing in your outback.