Saturday, 22 February 2014

Winter's still very much here

The Safari went out earlyish along the North Blackpool Pond Trail to do our fortnightly Winter Thrushes survey. It was blustery out but mild enough not to need hat or gloves. The last couple of wanders up this way have given little in the way of thrushes on the way in bit today there were loads of Blackbirds...a good sign?
A Song Thrush was also seen flicking over leaf litter under the Blackthorn thicket, no flowers here today unlike the nature reserve in the week. Another was singing nearby along with a Wren and a Chaffinch, other Wrens were scolding from deep in the shrubbery.
Rounding the corner a 'Wow' moment happened when we saw the display of Snowdrops under the fruit trees in the Community Orchard. Lots of Daffodils to come which will be followed by drifts of Bluebells.
Beyond the orchard we started our survey with another Song Thrush singing but we struggled for Blackbirds in the 'usual' places, thankfully when we got towards the little bridge they started to appear. Not much else was about though.
Plodding round our route we continued to add Blackbirds at a slow rate. Another Wow moment came at the cemetery when we came upon a brilliantly vivid patch of yellow Crocuses. The footy pitches  car park gave us a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker which we eventually located high up in a Poplar tree. And that just about ended the non-thrush sightings other than the flock of House Sparrows and Feral Pigeons that like the feeders in the grounds of one of the offices that backs on to the walkway through the estate. Even the footy fields were devoid of gulls and Starlings! Maybe the later morning meant that the local dog walkers had already flushed everything, next time we'll need to get out earlier.
In the end our 'slow' Blackbirds weren't actually that slow with 32 hitting the sheet. 
On a slightly scary note we noticed two lawns  had been recently mown., one domestic and one outside an office's coming!!! On the other hand you could do your bit for wildflower conservation and help butterflies, bumble bees and all manner of other important inverts by saying No to the Mow.
After a busy chore-y day we got out for an hour, via the shops, down to the coast at Chat Alley's old boating pool. The tide was in, we knew it would be, which meant only one thing - wader roost! By-eck the weather had cooled down a bit, sheeezzz it was cool in the wind on the cliff, there's plenty left in winter still.
204 Redshanks were on the top of the wall in an easily viewable place seeing as how we only had our bins with us, there were just eight Turnstones and the species we wanted to see, two Purple Sandpipers (107).

That was all the safari-ing we were able to do today but it was all pretty good.
Where to next? Little opportunity to get out tomorrow due to family business.
In the meantime let us know who's hiding on the top of the wall in your outback

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