Saturday, 8 February 2014

It's that time of year again at Chat Alley

The Safari went out perhaps quarter of an hour too late on our Winter Thrushes survey. It was quite a mild morning and the overnight howling wind had dropped a good bit. It wasn't raining and the dun was trying to break through but that meant the dog walkers were out in force, the birds weren't. It was quiet out there until we heard the only Song Thrush of the morning.Where were the regular Blackbirds? Apart from Magpies and Woodpigeons there wasn't a lot about. At the cemetery a pair of Mistle Thrushes landed in the mature trees by the crematorium. There were other birds up there to but by the time we'd moved round to be able to see them without staring at the rising sun they'd gone.
On the way we saw that a tree planting gang had been round which is good...or is it?
These are OK but there are others that we'd consider as being in the wrong place.
More environmental mishaps were seen later...well hardly a mishap but in another part of the country if this sort of mud was seen on a roadside verge some of the locals would be howling for the death of the Wild Boars that did the evil deed - so do we start shooting truck drivers who can't get their vehicles round tight corners???
TBH we find this sort of damage more distasteful than any animal damage but come April or May you wont really know it had happened at all. And don't farmers do the same - we think it's called  ploughing...aka soil preperation.
We got round to the end of our survey with only 20 Blackbirds on the sheet and then we turned the last corner to find nine of the little suckers in one bush!
As we were putting the last few notes on the sheet a little old dear came up with her tiny dog and started chatting. She told us of the thrushes she loved and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers that were drumming yesterday but not seen or heard by either of us today. She also mentioned a little bird she called the Wobble Bird - described as singing very loudly from the top of grasses...anyone get any ideas or heard the name before. Sitting at the top of grasses swaying in the breeze could be Stonechats but they're almost unknown here. Still a bit mystified as to the little songster, (Wren perhaps?) we headed back to Base Camp and breakfast.
The weather deteriorated as the day wore on and wasn't really conducive to going anywhere, we topped up the feeders and watched them for over an hour or so but they remained totally birdless this arvo.
We had to get out for some wind and rain in our face so headed to Chat Alley where we knew there wouldn't be any birds - the rally was on and the petrolhead in us come out to play.
Great conditions for it too, lots of wet, shame the tide wasn't a little higher to get it really flying over the wall as an extra hazard.
The wider cars had only a couple of inches to spare through this chicane and they whizzed through at breakneck speed in top gear - 60 - 70 mph!
Learned to drive in one of these - RS 2000 version in 70s orange with a matt black bonnet - - vroooommmmmm

It's not long until Chat Alley will be in play for its birds...still a bit of winter to get yet and there might just be a sting in the tail of it yet.
Where to next? Nature reserve beckons, hopefully the Iceland Gull will put in an appearance.
In the meantime let us know who's got their pedal to metal in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Better to plant a decent Hedgerow round a field of un-improved grassland and bramble, than a field of Trees that will not have room to grow properly, and shade out all the shrub layer too!

Just my opinion davyman :-)

Unknown said...

Could the 'wobble bird' be a warbler? Could be she misheard the name.