Friday, 10 January 2014

Odd man out

The Safari woke to a cooler calmer day this morning, still stupidly warm for early January though. Jupiter was blazing away in an almost cloudless sky, in January an almost cloudless sky should mean frost not 3Cabove the long term average! And of course although Jupiter is bright with a surface temperature of about -140C it doesn’t ‘blaze’ it reflects!
A stunning sunrise greeted us later.
Out on the wall the first thing we noticed was a large group of Cormorants flying towards the estuary, as we were counting them another flock was doing the same further out, eventually we had 211 until they dried up of which all but one were going to roost – what had that one forgotten and had to go back for?
There wasn’t much else about apart from about 500 Common Scoters some nice and close for a change although it was still a bit to choppy to be able to grill them properly.
A Kittiwake flew past southwards as did an unidentified auk and a Great Crested Grebe flew the other way, but the ‘best’ sighting on the session was reserved for a Red Throated Diver (77) followed by another four.
By lunchtime the tide had dropped and the expanse of beach over our southern border held huge numbers of gulls and Oystercatchers but not the flock of Dunlin that was there yesterday; there were some small waders mostly Sanderlings going by their jizz against the strong light. Four Curlews picking their way through the wreck of shells was unusual for there.
We found where all the Cormorants had gone, there were now a fraction over 400 of them roosting in a long line at the mouth of the river.
At sea the Common Scoters hadn’t moved much and we found two Great Crested Grebes, one may have been the same individual as earlier. Furrther out a bit of Common Gull movement caught our eye and we eventually picked out a Kittiwake amongst them, better was to come in the shape of a Little Gull (78).
After our watch we donned the wellies and headed out on to the beach to have a look at what the storms have left behind.
As soon as we reached the bottom of the slipway we found this lump of brickwork - never seen that before and it's a fairly heavy chunk, where did it come from?
We were worried about the fragile Sabellaria 'reefs' but look at what we found, they aren't as fragile as they look! They've survived the worst of the waves and the potential battering by the rocks that were being thrown around like those at the base of the slipway - they're new, they weren't there when we're been doing the childrens' beach events last summer.
We wanted to have a look at the shellfish wreck but surprisingly there was hardly any to be found on our stretch of beach although we did find a rather large lump of coal and an Iceland Cyprine shell.
Can you count the growth rings to get its age? Think the coal has it beat by a couple of hundred million years though.
The piece of coal is interesting as it has a non-conformity in it like a real piece of geology in miniature - note the angle of the 'slabs' on the facing face and compare it to the level top the shell is sitting on suggesting two trees are involved.
Where to next? not sure what's happening tomorrow but we'll have a bash at the BTO Earlybird survey at or even before first light. If you haven't done it yet what are you waiting for - simple and you've got two mornings left to have abash at it.
In the meantime let us know what's not been washed up in your outback

1 comment:

cliff said...

Another cracking sunrise shot there Dave - shame it's not like that this morning, what's happened to the sunshine that was forecast?

Those Sabellaria reefs are smart - don't think I've ever seen - or more likely ever noticed - any of those before.

Well, if it stops raining/brightens up I'm gonna nip to the mere for an hour or two this morning.