Monday, 30 December 2013

The pemultimate day and it's neck and neck-ish

The Safari is still one species behind Monika in our annual birding challenge as we're sat here rattling away on the keyboard typing this rubbish the rain is lashing horizontally against the sitting room window so there may be little chance of getting out today to get those all important two species - always assuming she hasn't been out birding an got lucky over the holidays and not reported her find(s) yet.
We had a chance to draw level yesterday when we visited the family on the South-side and took them down to the beach to look for the Ring Billed Gull which has been seen there late afternoon for the past few days. Today the gulls were well down on the tide line and although there were a lot of them an it was 'probably' there we didn't have time nor a scope to go through them properly so we dipped out. The nieces and nephews had great fun helping to further demolish the storm damaged dunes.
The drive back from Yorkshire gave us a flock of about 30 Red Grouse fly over the car, possibly the most we've ever seen in one place at one time, the culprit for this airborne spectacle was a soaring Buzzard - ooohhh errrrr, good job it was over National Trust land and not a shooting estate but it's probably still not safe. A little further on we spotted a splattered Red Grouse on the side of the road and half expected a gamekeeper to be hidden behind the roadside wall taking pot shots at the passing murderous traffic!
Another Buzzard was seen over the edge of the moor as we neared civilisation and a third in inner city Manchester as we sped along the motorway. A fourth was also seen, this time near Liverpool on a the motorway verge lamp-post. Just one Kestrel was seen all week, not long after the last Buzzard. A Buzzard was also seen near our farmhouse over an active grouse moor. Our last early morning 'out' with Frank at the farm gave us a calling Little Owl from the neighbouring farm.
At Ma 'n; Das the recent purge on trees by the newer residents in the street has left the area looking very bleak and open compared to the view we had from our bedroom window in our early teenage years - no chance of the regular Tawny Owl that used to sit on the telephone pole outside the bedroom window anymore. A Mistle Thrush on a neighbours chimney was a reasonable sighting, our garden notes from 1977 suggest they were infrequent back then.
So we have one day left to get that last speccies...or two - that'd be good!
Locally we have a chance tomorrow - weather and Land Rover permitting (will it start after a week being parked up in the cold and damp) - of some of the 'supposedly easy' species that somehow we've successfully managed to avoid so far this year like Smew, Scaup, Barnacle Goose, Corn Bunting, Short Eared Owl, Hen Harrier and Brambling. And then we missed all those Glossy Ibisssss.
After a week away a check of the feeders here at Base Camp revealed we'd had hardly any visitors - not good.
Well if we don't get that last one or two species there's always next year, and don;t forget it's just for fum the important thing is we both enjoy whatever wildlife experiences come our way and neither of us know what they might be in 2014.
Where to next? Garage for the Land Rover's jump leads!!!
In the meantime let us know what was missed that shouldn't have been in your outback.


Monika said...

Good luck - but not too much luck! I've made a couple efforts for the elusive #193 over here but with no success....29 hours to go!

cliff said...

Barnacle Goose? I take it you can't count those feral ones that fly around the mere then?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

I don't count those Cliff. That'd be cheating
13 hours now Monika but only 5 of those in daylight - victory could well be yours and then it all starts again :-)
All the very best for 2014 to both of you