Thursday, 19 June 2014

Great day yesterday lots of good stuff found

The Safari has had a very interesting couple of days. Yesterday we played host to nearly fifty small tots  on the beach, for most of them it was a completely new experience never having been taken there by their parents before.
A fantastic time was had making sand castles, finding shells and, the bit we were involved with, scouring the rockpools with nets.
They found some fantastic stuff and had a little help from our marine biologist friend DB who was walking her dogs and found some Dead Mean's Fingers sponge and a small Octopus Jellyfish to look at.
She also managed to get one of the fishermen to part with a Lugworm he'd collected for bait.
Lots of Brown Shrimps were caught but strangely no Common Prawns. The third group had to try somewhere a little further afield due to all the water in the pools being stirred up by their classmates and they were lucky enough to find a baby Dab.
While our heads were down looking in the water behind us a strange phenomenon was playing out, there was steam rising from the sand down near the water's edge, a great swathe of smoke in a narrow band along the beach - weird or what?
Within a few short minutes a thick mist had grown up and visibility across the beach was severely reduced. That wasn't going to stop us having fun though and the cry went up that another little Dab had been netted. On inspection it was a different type of flatfish altogether, one of the species of  Sole, no bigger than a finger nail.
By now lunchtime was approaching and it was time to gather the children together when one of the teachers came out of the mist from collecting shells with her group further down the beach holding two Whelk shells, one for the children to hold to their ears and listen to the sea the other had a rather large Hermit Crab in it, what a great find!
Crossing the road back to the office there was no sign of the mist just blistering sunshine yet visibility on the beach was no more than 50 yards by now - weird or what!
The kids had had a marvelous time and seen all manner of new things and yet again they found something we've not seen before despite going out there regularly over the last 10 years - just shows you see and ye shall find and if you don't look you deffo won't see that's for sure!
We were shattered in the afternoon but luckily were able to have an early finish to go and visit a couple of birders we've not seen for too many years. By a bit of a round abut way we'd arranged to meet them at their offices where they have a nature group and wanted some advice about insects and small mammal viewing. 
Well we got there, and met a different DB, who along with a colleague showed us one of the best none 'nature reserve' wildlife sites we've seen for years - simply awesome...mostly due to the fact that it is out of bounds and the office workers don't use it. Why ever not we thought - there were (Northern?) Marsh Orchids growing next to the bonnets of their cars in the car park!!!
We pottered around the large site enjoying the tranquility and the Narrow Bordered 5-Spot Burnet Moths that were emerging and nectaring all over the Creeping Thistles, there'll be even more next week when the majority of the thistles open.
The site also has a few ponds well away from the workers that are assumed to have Great Crested Newts, so we suggested putting down some refugia, they should attact small mammals like Short Tailed Field Voles too, we saw a Buzzard and a Kestrel hunting and the word  is that a Barn Owl is regularly seen too.
At the entrance to the buildings from the car park there is a large ornamental pond with huge Koi Carp in it, the margins however were full of damselflies and yet more Marsh Orchids.
OK so this was good but then we spotted something far more unusual...and checking the Lancashire Flora this is a new tetrad for it - Greater Spearwort - wow!
A Mallard was seen on Patch 2 this morning a real rarity here (P2 #61)
Right time for some footy...
Where to next? Got something even wetter for you tomorrow from today
In the meantime let us know who's been hiding very well in your outback.

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