Sunday, 6 April 2014


The Safari made a bit of a boo-boo this morning. We had intended to do our final Winter Thrushes survey this morning but the plan fell apart. Frank was up a little bit later than usual (although had the hour not changed he'd have been early!) so we took him out to find it had been raining but wasn't now which was good. Once back indoors we gave him his breakfast and began to put our coat back on when we saw it was pouring down and had gone dark again...rats! Coat off, cuppa time. We started faffing around while Frank went back to sleep downstairs; by now we'd realised he wasn't moving too well this morning so didn't want to get him to go back upstairs. Anyway he did stagger back up there but by then it was a bit too late to go thrushing even though the sun was now out, might have a last blast at it next weekend.
Making (yet) another brew we saw that the sunflower feeders were empty, a look in the cupboard revealed a minor disaster - no bags left down there. Only one thing for it - try an experiment with the nyger seed that has been in the other feeder all winter. We ran the risk that it would all fall through the big hokes in the sunny seed feeder - it didn't. But would the birds eat it seeing as how they hadn't touched it for months.

Yes they did! It wasn't long before a Goldfinch was on there and then a Greenfinch fed for about 10 minutes, we can only assume they couldn't find the small holes in the other feeder, although we rarely saw a bird on it unless we'd tipped some sunny seeds on the tray in an attempt to entice them to try the nyger too. Funny fickle things these birds!
Late morning we took Frank to the nature reserve in deteriorating weather conditions. The wind was picking up, temperature cooling down and the showers becoming heavier and more frequent.
Several birders were already in the hide but other than a Water Rail and a couple of dozen Sand Martins hadn't really seen anything of note.
We met up with BD and had a good look at the gulls without finding anything really exciting. A couple of Herring Gulls had more than average white on their wing-tips but didn't show any other characteristics of 'argentatus'. A second winter thing caught our eye, it had a very long snouty bill but we couldn't turn it into anything eastern.
Best of the rest was this young Black Headed Gull that was the only one that ventured within range of the lens.
There were flocks of Sand Martins (MMLNR #69) dropping in and shipping out between showers and the gulsl kept getting up but the only times we saw the culprits they were either Great Black Backed Gulls or Herons and one Sparrowhawk. A Shelduck (MMLNR #70) on the water was a nice sight, we dodn't see them here too often. Over in the scrape a pair of Oystercatchers (MMLNR #71)  kleeped to each other and a hidden  Little Grebe (MMLNR # 72) was trilling incessantly.
To the side of the hide there is a bird table and a couple of feeders which attracted a pair of Goldfinches, a pair of Chaffinches, Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tits and this rather dapper male Reed Bunting.
A wet wander along the embankment gave us a close loud Cetti's Warbler, a species BD is wanting to get a good pic of but it wouldn't show itself. The fields to the east didn't contain the wanted Wheatears or anything else for that matter apart from another pair of Oystercatchers. A passing pair of Carrion Crows brought a pair of unseen Lapwings in to the air to defend their territory, if they do attempt to nest we don't hold out much hope for just one pair having any success but you never know...with  bit of luck a few more pairs might join them and make defending the airspace a bit easier.
With nothing doing to peek our interest we mossied back to the hide as Frank had given up cream crackered.
Noting much more was doing there either but this pair of Canada Geese gave us a chance to point the camera at something.
Time for something a bit different, we dragged Frank the opposite way to have a butchers at the Snakeshead Fritillaries and Cowslips, no photos today, the wind was blowing them around in the gloom too much .  
So it wasn't the best day to be out but still it's better to be out than in - if you don't look you sure won't see.
A quick stop at a local flood where there's been a report of a Green Sandpiper and White Wagtails  - neither were there; the wind was now cruel so we didn't stop long. 
Once back at Base Camp we had a look at the feeders, the 'new' nyger feeder was down a whole inch or more and a Goldfinch was ensconced on much was eaten and how much was spilled we'll never know but they're certainly eating some/most of will they go back to it when we refill thee dedicated nyger feeder...that could be the six million dollar question.
Where to next? Back to Patch 2 - Sandwich Terns please.
In the meantime let us know who popped in for a photoshoot in your outback.

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