The Safari has been spending far too much time on Twitter! Mostly we've been harping on about the unfolding events regarding the annual bird slaughter on the otherwise lovely island of Malta, culminating this lunchtime with the invitation to Chris Packham to the police station for a 'discussion' which lasted for over five hours, wonder what he was asking them! More to the point did they have any answers?We've done bits n bobs of safari-ing of late but not seen too much, that's not to say we haven't had a great time.
Patch 2 gave us the amazing sight of a Great Black Backed Gull ripping into a deceased Lesser Spotted Catshark. Not a lot was happening for us on sea, others however were filling their boots with all manner of migrant seabirds.
Our monthly visit to our Water Vole/Great Crested Newt/?Grass Snake site was rained off but as soon as we got back to Base Camp news broke of a fall of White Wagtails and a Yellow Wagtail so we put our coat straight back on and went out again.
Arriving at the site we scanned the flood, we soon found the White Wagtails with some of our own Pied Wagtails and a couple of Wheatears, a Brown Hare hopped in to view, we carefully went to get the camera but it saw us and scampered to the far side of the field where we had to phone-scope it on a high zoom on both camera and scope.
The lane is fairly quiet even at this busy time and the background sound above the pitter-patter of the heavy drizzle was the glorious music of Skylarks singing.
No sign of the Yellow Wagtail but further down the lane another flood had a our first Mallard duckling of the year and a couple of Lapwings stood sentinel over unseen sitters perhaps. A bout of heavier rain brought down the largest flock of hirundines we've come across this spring, well over 200 about 70:30% Swallows to House Martins with just a few Sand Martins thrown in for good measure. When a Sparrowhawk flew across the filed and flushed everything apart from the duck family Lapwings so we called it a day.
Last night we headed out with some other FARG members to do an amphibian survey. We did four ponds but there few amphibians about. A Great Crested Newt was found but not a full sized adult, only half a dozen of so Smooth Newts and a couple of adult Frogs and a little one, not a single Toad and no tadpoles??? Where are they??? Surely if they've already metamorphosed we'd have found some tiddlers in the damp grass near the ponds.
This morning we met up with CR for a meander around the nature reserve, the aim was to find him a Lesser Whitethroat but the wind was picking up to a howl and keeping everything low and quiet. A Grasshopper just about audibly reeled the sound carrying on the wind towards us. Common Whitethroats churrred but simply refused to launch into their dancing song flights, similarly a Sedge Warbler was giving it plenty but from deep in cover.
Round and about we had more Sedge Warblers, a couple of Reed Warblers and Cetti's Warblers all over the shop but the wind was becoming seriously annoying. We did look for the Bee Orchids after their meadow has been mown and we found four, happy with that wonder how many will be flowering in the first week of June...it's never what you expect that's for sure.
A chat with another birder revealed he's had a Swift...time to rig up the speakers near our box...here's hoping!
To show how bad the wind was making things although it was warm and there's loads of blossom out we saw hardly any insects and neither us took any pics in the tow hours we were there - still great being out though and if you don't look you deffo won't see!
Where to next? Mothy is out again tonight and the wind has dropped a bit so fingers crossed.
In the meantime let us know who's in detention in your outback