The Safari has been busy again but this morning had a meeting on-site at thew nature reserve. Not much opportunity to do any watching as we were concentrating on the plans afoot. Never the less it pays to keep an eye out on the surrounds and one of our number saw the white shape of a Little Egret fly down the mere - we just about caught a glimpse of it before it disappeared behind the island. Little Egret (MMLNR #84) a late but very welcome addition to the site list for the year. The small group of us had a short wander about eying up potential development opportunities and trying to spot any pitfalls lurking for us. While discussing a range of possible options for one area a Grasshopper Warbler started reeling just to remind us to consider them in whatever it is gets done - done worry we will.
Anyway the meeting ended on a positive note, watch this space as they say, and the Safari and PE then spent about 10 minutes in the hide discussing further interesting options and opportunities. The vegetation has grown so high over the summer that viewing across the water was a little tricky but that didn't stop us spotting a Lesser Whitethroat dart across in front of us. A Brown Hawker dragonfly rattled past a few times too.
Later, back at Base Camp, we were adding the Little Egret to our spreadsheet when we noticed that we haven't seen a Swift there yet this year - hows how little we've been there this summer - better hurry up only about six weeks before they shimmy on southwards again!!! We did see a few House Martins but can't recall if we saw a Swift or not this morning.
Not only that we looked on the Bird Club report for the day and saw PE had heard a Grey Wagtail calling as it went over, another absentee from our site list this year!
Yesterday we were in school all day doing workshops for the Blackpool Celebrating Science Conference for Year 5s - an excellent and enjoyable day all round, great to see that almost half of the workshops/exhibitors were wildlife based even if one was all about Dinosaurs - well they were wildlife weren't they! our lump of coal with an imprint of a Tree Fern leaf in it pre-dated his Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth by about 260 million years though - ner ner ne ner ner...not that we are in any way childish about these things...
The previous day we arrived at work before everyone else and saw a flock of House Sparrows trying to cart off huge cobs of bread cast aside during the weekend ebvent on th back field - the lumps were far too heavy for them but that didn't stop them trying to drag them in to cover away from the Starlings' pying eyes and bigger beaks. The youngsters were begging all a-flutter but to no avail as the bread was hard and the adults couldn't break bits off it.
Not the best pic taken lying down so as not to disturb them, we commando crawled up to the back door.
Going back to the weekend, while we were sat outside at the patio table having a brew and a natter with our guests we're convinced we heard a Common Crane go over, jumping up to get a better view tea cups went everywhere - yes we were that animated - but saw nothing...was it or wasn't it. Well the trumpeting sound is one we've heard may times before and is very distinctive. Could it have been 'just' a gull or a goose calling - certainly didn't sound like it!!! A look on the rare bird news wasn't helpful the only one in the country away from the 'secret' breeding grounds is miles away and hadn't budged all week. 'Could' have been a great garden tick but sadly it wasn't to be!
Where to next? A day off which could be interesting.
In the meantime let us know who's absent without leave in your outback