The Safari was disappointed with the moth trap this morning, there were only two Hebrew Characters in there after a reasonably mild night with a dropping wind.
We didn't get out until Wifey had left mid-morning to collect eh-yup muvver and we were undecided as to where to go as Frank was having a slow day so we didn't want to have to drag him far. Checking the bird news we saw that only half an hour earlier a Wood Warbler was seen in the big park so that was our mind made up, good bird, not too far and not too far a walk either....sorted!
We arrived at the car park and got the big fella out, it then took nearly three quarters of an hour to get him to the bridges - it's not that far! - sniffing at every flipping tree. at the appointed place there was no sight nor more importantly sound of our quarry. Blackcaps, Wrens, Dunnocks, Blackbirds and a rare this year (apparently to us at least) Willow Warbler sang around us and the twigs were bouncing with Blue and Great Tits. A Treecreeper did what they're named for, all in all it was a very pleasant and peaceful place to be.
FB turned up and together we listened and eventually heard the little rascal in the distance. We walked towards the song and then were rewarded with neck craning views as we followed the sound behind us as the bird flitted high in the opening canopy over our heads and back the way we'd come. A lovely little bird that we got reasonable views of, Wood Warbler (141) in the bag, happy days. FB went on his way and we stayed on the bird in case any one else turned up.
We photographed a selection of the hybrid Bluebells and a single Red Campion along with some of the local feral Pigeons and a Great Spotted Woodpecker having a right old preen high in the canopy but we can't show you them as we lost our camera, sort of temporarily thankfully.
It went quiet for long periods but eventually we got a passing inexperienced birder on to it just before a gaggle of more serious local birders turned up but by now it had gone quiet again and remained so.
They told us of a Whinchat not far up the road so happy with our day so far we loaded up Frank and took to the road. The site is only a few miles away but with all the Sunday drivers on the road it took frustratingly far longer than we wanted. We got there and saw a small bird on a post, was that it, no it flew and showed itself to be a Linnet. Then scanning the tatty wire fence there it was a fantastic male Whinchat, (142) what a real stonking Bobby Dazzler he was. We were really enjoying him, a little distant as we didn't have the scope with us, when a spaniel shot through the field of view followed by its numpty owner - didn't think people were allowed in those fields, they probably aren't but when did that ever stop dog walkers? Anyway the upshot was that for the next 20 minutes we searched we never saw so much of another feather of him. A few Swallows blitzed through but there wasn't much else about so we called it a day and headed back towards Base Camp stopping off at the local field that was planted as a woodland a couple of years ago.
It's coming along nicely and a Willow Warbler sang there something that would have been almost unheard of before the planting - we were actually hoping for another sneaky Whinchat but perhaps we'd need to be there at first light before the multitude of mutt walkers or at least after a heavy shower. Going to good in a few years time when it matures a little bit more.
While we were there we got a call from Young UN AB telling us there was a pair of Garganey at the nature reserve, another frustratingly slow drive through the Sunday afternnooners saw us pulling up outside the hide 'only' about three quarters of an hour later to learn they'd swum out of view and into the reeds. Undeterred we stopped a little while and chatted when AB called out he'd refound them back where they'd come from, must have snuck round the back hidden in the reedbed. Garganey (143, MMLNR #83) Thank you AB. They stayed on the reed fringe but gave superb views as they started to feed. No pics - too far away and it was then that we got worried about leaving Frank in the sun in the car and dashed off to take him back to Base Camp leaving the camera on the bench - doh. again a big thanks to AB who picked it up and kept it safe for us - phew!!!
So there you have it a fine day out in the sun with a binocular-load of wildlife sightings thoroughly enjoyed!
Where to next? Back to work tomorrow and little chance of any safari-ing at least in the morning when it will probably be best out to sea.
in the meantime let us know if the sun shone on the 'scarces' in your outback.