Friday, 6 December 2013

The calm after the storm

The Safari hopes everyone is safe and well and not too wet after yesterday bit of a to-do.
It's something out of the ordinary when about an hour and a half before high tide there was the enormous slosh of a wave hitting the office window. The wind was that ferocious that the window frame was buckling about ±5mm either way - scary.
Keeping an eye on the local weather station, this wasn't quite the top 'score' we saw, it was beaten by 71mph twice!
That wind speed was beaten on Tweets we saw by somewhere in Yorkshire at 84mph, 109mph on the Isle of Lewis and doubled by a very scary 146mph admittedly on very high ground in Scotland. To take this pic we had to push the front door at work open with our shoulder and even that was a struggle.
An errand to the Post Office at lunchtime gave us the opportunity to drive down the Prom to see how the new multi-million pound sea defences were holding up. We got so far then a Police car stopped us and told us to turn round - the Post Office was in the opposite direction so we were going to do a 'U-ey' anyway although water like that is no obstacle to the Land Rover - we've been through far far deeper, usually successfully! Most of that is spray off the waves not the sea actually coming over the wall.
Back at the office the massive amount of salt spray covering the ground had brought loads of worms to the surface and their osmotic death. There's 11 in this pic but they littered path for yards and were lying on the lawns too.
Some of the pics we've seen from the East coast are seriously scary and we feel for all those who's homes have been washed away...although we have to say that the residents have been badly let down by a planning system that allowed development so close to a known rapidly eroding coastline; the inevitable was bound to happen sometime sooner or later.
The destruction to many of the more than excellent nature reserves is hard to bear, especially the one we cut our birding teeth on whilst at Uni, Cley - how long will it take for that to get back to 'normal'? Utter devastation there.
We were at school teaching today and after we'd got out of class we were able to have an hour in the sunshine at the nature reserve to make up for a very late finish at work last night...getting in after 9.30 at night after an 07.45 start probably isn't allowed under EU employment law - well if it isn't it flippin well ought to be!
At Uni we studied a crackin little bird which according to the New Atlas is found throughout the country apart from the highest mountain areas, the Moorhen
There are plenty at the nature reserve
1st winter
Around the corner the Barn Owl was in the doorway of his little house, but he wouldn't come out to stand in front of the door. You can just about make him out.
Coming back for a look at the the reedbed from the west end we spotted some gulls paddling away vigorously on the grass. There was one Black Headed Gull
a shy Common Gull that flew off and two Herring Gulls.
They paddle to bring worms to the surface and it works very well!
We saw the gulls lift off the mere in a bit of a panic a couple of times and scanned the reed tops for a flying Bittern but it wasn't one of those but two of these causing the consternation.
The other gulls really don't like them cruising over their heads.
A flock of Long Tailed Tits landed close to us and we hoped they'd give us better opportunities than the London one's last weekend - actually they gave us great views but we were gabbing to a couple of older regular birders to the site, which gave TP the chance to get much better pics than we did. We got in advance of the flock and waited where we anticipated they flit too, and waited and waited but they didn't show; they'd gone off in to the reedbed instead of following the bankside bushes. A Robin nearly made up for them.
The bird of the short session had to be the species we've never seen before, the two-headed Medusa Swan.
The two headed swan was knocked into a pair of cocked hats by a count of 222 Coots with more 'round the corner' in the south- east  bay that we couldn't see. Where's KB when you need him? On national TV next Monday and Tuesday teatime apparently.
Where to next? We had hoped to go on a dodgy (or not so dodgy after-all) Anatidae mission to the South-side tomorrow but it's not going to happen now :-(
In the meantime let us know who's floating around where they're not supposed to be in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Salted worms, Moorhens love 'em!