Thursday, 27 March 2014

An afternoon on the waves

The Safari was invited to join our local radio station in the big park to talk about the heronry and other wildlifey matters along with RH who we've never met before although have conversed with electronically a few times recently.
We had a bit of time before we were on air so we went to check how many Heron's nests we could count.
On the way round we saw a severely wind damaged tree from the recent storms, it has a certain something about it - hope it doesn't get 'tidied up' its full of micro-nooks and crannies for all sorts of mini-beasts to exploit and it's got a sackful of character.

There were over 30 nests but some won't have been in use. Another was on the other island in the lake.

The do look somewhat incongruous all legs and neck stood in the outer boughs of a tree.
Slightly less incongruous sat up a tree are the Moorhens around the margins of the lake
We almost missed this one sitting tight not far away through the dense lakeside vegetation.

Continuing round the lake something dark floating at the edge of the water caught our eye, it turned out to be a dead Cormorant. We wrangled it out on to the bank and saw it had a ring - but no head! Where's that gone? Why do we always think the worst and fishermen was the first thought we had. The bird was minging but nothing we grabbed fell off and we tried to prise the ring off but the metal was too rigid to open the joint with our fingers.
Shortly afterwards we met up with the show's presenter and his assistant who offered her hand but we warned her we weren't being rude but she'd probably be better not shaking hands. Cooo it was a bit wifffy.
After we'd done our first stint over the air-waves we went for another wander back to the Cormorant to see if the old friend and Mute Swan molester, CF, who we'd not seen for many years had found the corpse and recovered the ring.

The path along the waterside passes underneath our favourite branch in the whole park, there aren't many this mossy.
RH wanted to get some pics of the Gadwall, dunno if he got one but they were very skittish and sailed out of range as soon as anyone stopped walking and stood by the water's edge. They are a very bonny but extremely under-rated duck, both the males and the females. They even feature here as 'unfairly ignored'.
Really!!! How could you ignore these vermiculated beauts?
There were very few gulls on the lake today, being a cool mid-week day and out of the school holidays there  wasn't much food being heaved in for them and the ducks. However one Black Headed Gull hung around hopefully.

A commotion broke out across the lake as a male Mute Swan laid in to the juvenile from another pair.
Well that was enough...father came to the defence of his offspring even though he'd probably been trying to get it to leave for the last few weeks so as he and Mrs Swan can get with this year's business
As the light faded we had a little play with the park's Grey Squirrels. They are very tame if you have food, keep still and there's no dogs around.
Another quick chat on the air finished our most enjoyable afternoon away from the desk, we were pleased to be able to give the big park and its fantastic wildlife a good plug.

Once back at Base Camp we got an email from our Extreme Photographer with a couple of pics he'd taken recently. The first of a Dunnock on his garden feeder, something that seems to be becoming more frequent.
The other pic was of a Great Tit he'd taken a few days ago in the big park. Not quite sharp but he sent it for its fun value.
My wings are like a shield of steel - your bullets cannot harm me!
Where to next? Today was our median date for the arrival of Sandwich Terns we've redcorded them on this date in three of the last five years...none out on Patch 2 this morning, will they be there tomorrow?
In the meantime let us know what the parklife's like in your outback.


Heather Wilde said...

It amazes me how those slightly awkward Herons can land and nest in the trees like they do. Love that fallen tree, a great bit of natural housing.

cliff said...

A fine set of photos Dave. I'm hoping to spend some time at the park in the morning, I've only managed a few brief visits so far this year.

The Dunnock on the feeder is strange to see, we have Dunnocks in our garden daily but I've never seen one on a feeder.

Warren Baker said...

Is that what you call going to work Davyman (or were you off today?)

All that fun and getting paid, cant be bad :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thankfully Warren that was bona fide paid for work - sure beats the hell out of our usual sitting at the desk all day!