Tuesday, 31 December 2013


The Safari took Wifey and Frank for a drive round the 'hotspots' over the river in the hope for an extra year bird or two. It worked at the first site we stopped at there was plenty of seed on the ground and loads of Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches along with a Robin and a Dunnock. Searching along the dense hedge we saw what we were looking for, a Corn Bunting (192). It was distant in the bins and shortly disappeared. It reappeared a few minutes later singing on the electricity wires in front of us.
We had a quick look at the other farmland feeding station, passing several hundred Whooper Swans on the way, but there was nothing there.
Then we took Frank to the car park on the coast where he tried to play a bit of ball but his rheumatism was fierce today. There were plenty of birds out on the marsh but the tide was out and they were too far away for the bins.
Next stop was somewhere we've never been before, somehow we've avoided the world famous Fluke Hall area for the best part of 25 years despite there being some really really good birds found there in the course of those years.
We didn't see anything of note on our visit and then it was time to head back to Base Camp for tea and a bun.
Once home the phone rang and our Extreme Photographer asked if we were going out, he suggested the big park where a Shag has been seen recently. Nothing for it but to turn the Land Rover round and head back out.
We got there before him and started to look for ringed Coots and Black Headed Gulls were the families were feeding the ducks.
Our previously seen Darvick ringed Coot A74 and Black Headed Gull 4FC were both present.
As was another Black Headed Gull VLJ
Three more of KB's Coots were present including this one green/mauve L orange/BTO R which is a couple or three years old now. The other two have lost there left leg rings leaving only a white and an orange over their BTO rings.
Time to look for that dodgy Cormorant which as it happened wasn't too far away.
Nice size comparison
OK you sussed us this one's a proper Cormorant
Could have done with it being on the nature reserve for our target for there but we've never seen one here in the park before.
Another look at the gulls on the ay back to the car park gave us a 2 (or 3) CY Herring Gull with a ring which was flushed before we could get all the way round it to get the combo. Looks like GR2.... might have to go back tomoz or the day after to get the last four digits. It's possibly from the colony across the bay at Walney Island.  
 Fence eating Mute Swan - gotta ask why???
While we were photographing the Shag this female Shoveler sailed by exceptionally calmly, they are usually very skittish and unapproachable.
So that was the last pic of 2013.
We think we've tied with Monika over in the far north-west of the USA. But she does have a few hours of daylight left as we type so it might not be all over just yet - we're waiting for that intercontinental Tweet to come in...or not.
192 was eight short of both our targets of 200 which we are both keeping for next year too. Any one from another continent or other area within Europe or North America with a similar target feel like joining in in 2014?
Our North Blackpool Pond Trail list faltered probably due to our op coinciding with migration time with only 63 out of the hoped for 90 seen.
Patch 2 did better with 78 out of 90.
The garden gave us a respectable 41 so next year's target will be 45.
Marton Mere nature reserve was where we were most successful 109 out of 115, we'll up the target to 120 next year.
We've also signed up to the Foot-it Challenge for next year, that'll bring Patch 1 back into play. Would have liked to have a bash at the 1000 species in a 1km square but might not have time for it, maybe next year, the 2015 next year.
Where to next? It all starts again tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what you're planning in your outback.


Anonymous said...

All the best, Dave....and good luck with whatever challenges/targets you`ve set yourself for the forthcoming year.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Think my main challenge/target will be not getting another finger amputated this year Dean - that'd be good - next op 16th Jan.