Thursday, 6 March 2014

It's great when a plan comes together

The Safari has had a cracking day wildlifing today and it even started last night! We went out to put some recycling in the bin when we heard a Frog croaking from the pond - everyone else has been getting them so it would seem so we're relieved ours have returned.
Good so far...and then this morning even before we got to the office a movement through the corridor window by the bushes caught our eye - a Magpie (P2 #40) a real rare here, we didn't see one on Patch 2 last year and those that we do see are usually fly pasts along the seawall once or twice a year.
We dumped our bags in the office and grabbed the camera but someone with a dog wandered towards it and it flushed. Back in to the office we went and there it was through the window feasting with a few Black Headed Gulls on some bits of bread someone had thrown down! Phew!!! So a few pics were taken through the gloom and salt encrusted window.
The white post is one of several that are supposed to stop the mowing gangs going too close to the hedge and allowing our sandy-ground wildlflowers to bloom
The Magpie was flushed by another dogwalker and again we thought we'd lost it but again it reappeared and this time started to play with some twigs, weird given that it's a long way to the nearest tree.
Then another movement caught our eye deep in the hedge, a Dunnock hopped out but what we'd seen didn't seen 'right' for one of those. The mystery bird hopped back out and landed on one of the white posts but immediately was flushed by yet another dogwalker. Normally the local Robins are ambivalent to people and dogs if they are that far away but this one was really skittish. Eventually it sort of came out into the open - first of the year (P2 #41)
After a celebratory cuppa we had to go and find some specimens for our afternoon group. The plan was they would be out on the beach but the weather had closed in and we weren't sure if the forecasts were right and it would brighten up later or not. We got soaked but found some good stuff anyway so all was not lost. A couple of weeks ago we were on the beach and a big deep pool held lots of interesting things but today the sand is back and the pool is long gone, plenty more sand needeed to bring the beach back to its normal levels but the process has started.
Our group came and had their lunch then it was time to go exploring. To be honest we were a little apprehensive that we wouldn't be able to fill the time we had and weren't sure the children would enjoy it. We needn't have worried on either count. We ambled down the promenade listening to the sea and arrived at the end of the wall where we sat down and got out our boxes of tricks.
First of all we had a look at the rocks that are found in the shingle bank. Lots of interesting textures, colours and shapes. The one top left is the most interesting in that it's a piece of Old Red Sandstone- we don't normally find that here as our stones come from the north and most of the outcrops of that are to the south of us - like these little islands
There's lots of interesting felspars of  different colours and sizes of particles.
Then we had a look at the marine life we found on the strand-line including different types of seaweeds.
 The numbers are as follows:-
1 - Edible Whelks eggs
2 - Edible Whelk - still can't get our head round that the huge blobs of eggs come out of the much smaller shell.
3, 5 & 7 - Thornback Ray egg-cases
4 - Rayed Trough Shell with Necklace Shell predation hole
6 - Common Otter Shell
8 - Dead Man's Fingers
9 - Necklace Shells, common and Adler's
10 - Common Cockle
11 & 14 - Prickly Cockles
13 - bits of a Green Shore Crab, all we  could find of that species
15 - Common Razor
16 - Masked Crab carapace
17 - Pod Razor
18 - inside of a Rayed Trough Shell

And the rain held off, the wind wasn't windy and it was very mild - a perfect day for exploring the beach. All to soon it was time for the gang to go back to school - what a great session we'd had all thanks to the wonderful wildlife found on our brilliant beach.

We drew up back at Base Camp and opening the Land Rover door and heard a Mistle Thrush singing - excellent! Looking up we saw him on the neighbours TV aerial and luckily he didn't fly off as we got out with the camera.
What a great and very rewarding day!
Where to next? Back to looking at the Common Scoters on Patch 2
In the meantime let us know who's enjoying the marvelous wildlife in your outback

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