Friday, 20 June 2014

Fish on a Friday

The Safari actually went fishing yesterday, not today. After the recent excitement of Brownies and then the tiny tots seeing the little dark fish we decided to do something about getting an ID for them. Little did we know what lay ahead.
We arranged to meet our Extreme Photographer at lunchtime and armed with a white tub and a pair of nets each we hit the beach. 
The fish we were after were in the big runnel that drains the base of the wall so slowly we walked up that nets posed. Every so often we'd stop and place a tight cordon of nets tightly round a stone and gently lift it. We got a few Brown Shrimps and several Green Shore Crabs, some in 'berry' holding onto their eggs, but the Sand Gobies were always either too quick for us seeing a slight gap between the nets or finding a gap beneath them.
Eventually we saw one of the little black fish and with our coordinated effort it was easily captured, teamwork paid dividends.

But what is it? With full length dorsal and ventral fins and a dark belly it certainly isn't the Smelt we thought they might have been!
In the water we could plainly see some feelers on its snout so that got us to thinking Rockling.
But which one, apparently there are several in British waters. A count of the feelers, barbels to give them their correct name,  gave us Five Bearded Rockling.
Continuing our wander up the runnel we soon caught a few more, one was incredibly pale compared to the others and turned out to be a different species,
How many barbels can you see? That's right, three on the top jaw and one beneath the bottom jaw equals four so it's a Four Bearded Rockling
Two fish lifers in less than 50 yards!
We went past the big rocks on the 'corner' which is beyond where we allow the children to work so we were more or less entering new territory for us when our Extreme Photographer called us over, quickly but quietly he said. He spotted a large fish tucked in out of the main current between two small rocks.
It was very placid and just about swum into our waiting nets of its own accord....compared to the Rocklings it was a real whopper!
A Blenny, aka Shanny, a good catch; we see them regularly but not this big although bigger ones can be found in the pools higher up the wall where for elf n safety reasons we rarely allow anyone on our events to climb up to.
The word 'cute' is one we really dislike and try to avoid using at all costs but for these little fish we'll make an exception - they do look extremely cute.
And yes of course we caught a Sand Goby too. Here's a pic with four species of fish in it from just 50 yards of our brilliant beach...and an egg laden Common Prawn getting in on the act too.
Today we had a day off work due to Wifey going off gallivanting with her sister for the weekend so we had to stay home alone at Base Camp with Frank. while she got ready and waited for her lift we watched the fairly busy feeders. A single juvenile Starling appeared to check the mealworm situation, none out so it didn't stay long. Goldfinches were in and out regularly and then mid-morning we saw our first juvenile of the year followed by a second about half an hour later.
A manky looking Blue Tit dashed in grab a sunny seed and dashed out again to eat it deep in the shrubbery out of sight and while we were seeing if we could see where he went we saw a pale brown bird flash through...hmmm. And there it was sitting in the open on the spar connecting the two pergolas, a female House Sparrow (Garden #33). It must be mid-June, the only time they turn up in the garden for their annual visit. It didn't stay long.
But it did return a short while later. There must be a bit of a water shortage locally as it came in and warily inspected our ornamental plastic waterfall
Taken through kitchen window
before taking the plunge

By mid-afternoon the sun has moved round and the feeders are far too dark for pics but she was back for a beakful of sunny seeds too, excellent stuff - will she bring the family??? Does beg the question how long has she been coming that we've not known about because we're at work for much of the day.
In other news a Speckled Wood flitted through, our first of the year at Base Camp.
Where to next? Mothy is out, hopefully it won't be too windy overnight.
In the meantime let us know who's hiding under the rocks in your outback

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