Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A fish fest

The Safari saw that conditions looked like they weren’t far off perfect for blubber spotting as we drove to work yesterday
The scope was soon on the seawall ready for action. There wasn’t too much happening apart from the usual Common Scoters and a couple of Red Throated Divers. Try as we might we couldn’t find anything blubbery although we did hear a single call from a Meadow Pipit (P2 #45) somewhere over our head as we scanned.
The tide had dropped by lunchtime and conditions were still pretty good if a little hazier. Still nothing mammalian could be found but a cluster of active gulls swirling round in the distance gave us hope. They were following something in the water and occasionally swooping down to the surface, it was then we noticed rather large splashes – was this the hoped for mammal? No, it appeared to be a shoal of large fish driving smaller bait fish to the surface and into the reach of the gulls. Every now and then one of the predatory fish would leap clean out of the water showing they were a good couple of feet long but we’ve no idea what they were, Sea Trout or Salmon perhaps. This went on for a good quarter of an hour until rather abruptly the gull activity stopped suggesting that the fish had stopped feeding.
Four Shelducks came past us along the water’s edge while we were watching the fish-fest and a Cormorant fished not far beyond the very gentle surf.
For the rest of the afternoon we had a group of youngsters from a local school join our beach clean. We went north towards town for the first time in months and despite all the storms found very little litter, most of what we did find was old stuff which had been revealed now a lot of the sand near the wall has been stripped away by the heavy seas...that’s also revealed lots of shingle we don’t normally see full of interesting stones and pebbles with fascinating stories to be investigated by the class next term.
After we’d collected as much as time allowed the group had a great time in the warm sunshine making messages in the sand.
Looks like they love their beach - and so they should it's beautiful!
On our way back up the slipway a butterfly whizzed past at eye-line, our first of the year but we didn’t get a good luck at it and carrying a large bag of rubbish couldn’t run after it to identify it so it remains a mystery.
More butterflies were out in the sunshine today and we successfully managed to identify a Peacock and two Small Tortoiseshells.
On Patch 2 there was a sea mist and visibility was poor consequently we have very little to report other than a group of Eiders and a couple of Red Throated Divers this morning and a pair of loved up Great Black Backed Gulls at lunchtime, the male thought about offering a small Dab to his girlfriend but ended up swallowing it himself.
A rather dapper male Pied Wagtail entertained us as it flittered along the top of the wall catching almost invisible flies...well we couldn’t see any by us but he didn’t seem to have any problem picking on off after another.
Where to next? Hopefully a chilled out Patch 2 session in the morning with no fog followed by a very fine detailed look at the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 and The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, Part 1 - more info this time tomorrow perhaps...lets just say we're more than a little bit peeved.
In the meantime let us know where the beauty lies in your outback.

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