Saturday, 8 March 2014

Still winter out there

The Safari was out minutes after 07.00 on our way to the North Blackpool Pond Trail for our first Winter Thrushes survey of the month. It wasn't as cold as the clear overnight skies had suggested but the wind had a bit of a nip to it. Once on the trail we saw that the carpets of Lesser Celandine were full of flower but given the early hour these were all still tightly budded in their slumbers another couple of hours and a bit of sun was needed to get them to open to greet the day.
A Song Thrush sang from the remnant bit of hedge between the horse fields and another answered it from the Community Orchard, a third non-singer was seen foraging on the ground in the orchard. Overhead a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed loudly but we couldn't find him in the tangle of branches. Chaffinches,Wren and Dunnock sang too.
The Snowdrops at the orchard have finished after their dazzling display and now it is the turn of the Daffodils to show, as much as we like them we rarely see bees or other insects visiting them so we'd much rather people would plant Cowslips or Primroses if they want a bit of roadside yellow; far more beneficial!
We noted Blackbirds in their usual and not so usual places, indeed some of the usual places were unoccupied today. A Grey Squirrel was in the cemetery and it was watching that that we saw two Mistle Thrushes that if flushed, a few yards further on a Song Thrush was heard singing in the distance.
The cemetery has a fine display of Crocuses which will be coming to the end of their season soon so we were pleased to capture the glorious techicoloured show.
If we're being hyper-critical we'd say they were planted to close to the track, a mowers width back would have been better but we wouldn't say no to being dumped under that lot when our time comes.
The soundtrack to our walk was the dainty ditties of Dunnocks and the chittering and dzweees of Greenfinches, of which we saw six in one bush.
The first of the roadside Dandelions was also seen. fantastic plants for wildlife being an essential source of nectar for early emerging insects and loved by bumble bees and butterflies, so please Say No to the Mow and let this common but severely under-appreciated wildlfower have its moment of glory livening up our roadsides and providing much needed food for our invertebrates.
In total we counted 39 Blackbirds along with the two Mistle Thrushes and single Song Thrush on our route. Another uncounted several Blackbirds on the pre-survey part of the NBPT probably brought our total for the morning to over 45.
The last few yards of the return journey gave us a Lesser Black Backed Gull (Garden #20) soaring over Base Camp with its mu
A look at the pond once back at Base Camp showed us that despite our Frog's nocturnal croackings no more females had turned up to lay their eggs - he was giving it some welly when we went out for a listen, will have to get the torch out tonight. Might even get the moth trap fired up for the first time this year - which reminds us we've been naughty and still not sent in last year's meagre records...meagre or not they still need reporting!
A dry and mild early afternoon gave us the chance to get some more wood cut for next winter. Wifey's getting to be quite useful with the old chainsaw.
Not happy with the footy today with Everton crashing out very unceremoniously of the FA Cup and 'Pool losing at home yet again - relegation is now far too close for comfort - we had hoped for seven points from the next three games this morning; well three of those are now long gone and the chance of getting one away at league leaders Leicester City looks beyond an impossibility.Over 10 games without a win now :-(

After the shock of the footy we decided to bury our disappointment by digging a hole and planting a Buddleia in it, we've been growing two tubs of cutting since last spring; the other is promised to a local school's nature area.
Before we could go out we had to wait for a finch invasion to move on - no wonder we're going through Sunny seeds at a rate of knots...where have this lot come from? At least seven Greenfinches and five Goldfinches!
Hopefully the cuttings will continue to grow and become a wildlife attracting hedge to replace the rotting fence. While digging the hole in the remains of a former compost heap we disturbed three juvenile Field Mice - not the ones we see on Stealth-cam, wonder how many there really are? Either the local cats are useless or we desperately need an owl or two.
Earlier today we shared a horrific picture of an Orang Utan, one of the planet's most gentle and  inoffensive creatures, which had succumbed to the ravages of habitat destruction to provide space for Palm Oil. Sadly the hypocrite that we are is having Aunt Bessie oven chips tonight - yes you've guessed it they're drenched in Palm least the company has the bottle to label it unlike many others who put the confusing 'vegetable fat/oil, but hey-ho tasty as they are they're off the shopping list now!
Where to next? Well it must be summer cos the moth trap has gone out tonight. We can't wait to have a shuffy in the morning then we'll take Frank for a slow walk round a small part of the nature reserve...or we might take him a little further afield.
In the meantime let us know who's invaded your outback in unprecedented numbers today.

1 comment:

Aussie Glen said...

That's nota load of wood...that's Kindlin...