The Safari managed a bit of Foot It this morning and added a just a few species to out tally, in fact reaching 84% of our target after a slow start. Get in! If we can do a Winter thrushes survey on Saturday too with a bit if luck we might just get our 100% or at least very close.
We wandered scopeless down to the coast where we had an unsuccessful low tide look for the Purple Sandpiper that roosted there over yesterday's high tide. For our list we got Redshank, Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Turnstone almost immediately. behind us on the grassy cliffs of Chat Alley we had a couple of Meadow Pipits but it was out at sea where the birds came thick and fast, including a year bird too. Cormorant, Eider (84), Red Throated Diver, Common Scoter and Great Crested Grebe all fell. The sea looked good for mammals too but several scans didn't reveal any.
Turning to leave we saw a Kestrel (85, Foot It #42) hovering above the cliffs, not a bad mile's walk although our hand is pretty sore now.
Earlier CR had phoned to say there was a chance of a trip out in the afternoon, well it was on and he duly came round to pick us up and off we went on an ibis twitch.
Driving along the narrow country lanes we looked for Redwings and Fieldfares without success and nor were any owls out either. In the fields below the sea wall we saw Little Egret (86) after Little Egret, there were loads of them but could we find a Heron? We had well into double figures of Little Egrets and not a single Heron - that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago!
We arrived at the twitching site and as we drove along the lane the Glossy Ibis (87) was easily visible through the trees from the car with a few Little Egrets.Twitching has never been so easy!!! We parked up and walked back...the last Glossy Ibis we saw was long before digital photography, think it was in the days of the Box Brownie, so we were looking forward to getting a few pics. The ibis had other ideas and promptly wandered to the far side of the field and over a slight ridge out of sight. We hung around for a fair while hoping it would come back in to view with CR re-naming it the Shybis!
With it not showing we took a trip across the way to look for the Bewick's Swans that had been seen yesterday but all we could find were Mute Swans today, going a little further to the scar there was a works crew repairing storm damage and the tide was right up so no birds there so we turned straight rround and headed to the little estuary past the Little Owl barn...guess who wasn't showing!
At the canal bridge we mentioned to C that we used to see Kingfishers all the time there but hadn't for ages, several years even. Blow us down with a feather two hundred yards further on by the pools a Kingfisher (88) flew along side the car for about 50 yards and landed on a nearby post! Could we stop? No! A car was practically in the boot - drat drat and double drat but what an amazing 'speak and ye shall find' moment - is it us or does that happen more often than it should by chance alone???
The tide in the creek was well up and had moved most birds off apart from a few Teal so we had a look on the pool which we expected to be livelier. A couple of Goldeneyes were out on the water, the nearest island had a dozen or so Lapwings and the far bank held a few Black Headed Gulls, Teal and Wigeon but nothing spectacular. Then we noticed a Little Grebe (89) and another. The second was being chased by a quick paddling Black Headed Gull for some unknown reason. The grebe sped up but the gull still gained, as it closed the gull dived and did a U'ey underwater coming up with a small fish leaving the gull still looking for it in the opposite direction!
We went back to the ibis field and again saw the bird from the road but much nearer this time as we drove through the gates this was going to be easier than before! Oh no it wasn't! We parked up walked back and all seven Little Egrets and the Glossy Ibis had wandered back over the little ridge in the field and almost out of view again. Certainly was proving to be a Shybis! We got no pics. Time was running short and as we turned to leave we spotted a bright yellow blob amongst the twigs on the woodland floor. Nothing for it but try a pic...
That certainly brightened the day! Any ideas what it is?
The drive back to Base Camp still didn't give us any of those Redwings or Fieldfares - where are they?
Where to next? Hope going back to work tomorrow doesn't interfere with Iceland Gull twitching.
In the meantime let us know who was being excessively shy in your outback.