Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Never seen that before in 40 years of looking

The Safari started the annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch on Monday and within five minutes of the start we'd had a couple of distant Bottlenose Dolphins - not bad at all! Prior to the watch a couple of regular visitors and occasional wildlife reporters told us they' seen a Weasel in the car park - what on earth was that doing there, certainly one to look out for we've not seen a Weasel since 2010, that's far too long!
The Tuesday watch was dire, the weather had taken a turn for the worse, isn't that always the case with National Whale and Dolphin Watch. AB came to help out and he had a Grey Seal close in that disappeared soon after and we found a Fulmar close inshore, possibly the closest we've seen off here...and then the rain started. We did see the seal again but it had drifted much further towards town.
After the wet watch AB helped with some wildlife gardening to get the area back to some semblance of order. A 7-spot Ladybird was seen but no moths were disturbed today. Behind us the giant Cardoon plant was being thrown around in the strong wind but that didn't deter a small number of Bumble Bees. In just ones and twos they looked lost on the giant flowers. Our record is 13 bees on one flower they are that big!!
We couldn't find the Deptford Pink that has come up at this time of year.
A de-3-spined Stickleback-ing session saw us remove about 150 from the pond but we had no sign of the Goldfish. We knew we hadn't got them all but we must have got most of them.
Today's Whale and Dolphin Watch was even worse, windier but at least drier and not too chilly. The only thing of note was five Manx Shearwaters going south then one going north about ten minutes later. SMcC may have had a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins on her watch right at the north end of the coast but alas it was too choppy for her group to get confirmation.
Once our watch was finished we had to get the pond dipping kit out for a Family Day event and how good where the dozen or more kids that turned up.
They were soon netting Common Pond Snails and front swimming Water Boatmen and what for it - - - 3-spined Sticklebacks! Ohh no!!!
Then one of the children asked 'what's this?' A tiny tiny Blue Tailed Damselfly nymph. Another child called out too, his find was a just a bit bigger, a Chaser dragonfly nymph. 
It was quite happy in the tray, and then a Waterboatman swam past...bang!
D'yer know we've been watching wildlife and pond dipping and stuff for over 40 years and we've only ever seen dragonfly nymph predation on the telly before.
The Waterboatman survived, or at least was released severely depleted of internal fluids but it did swim off.
A different species of diving beetle to the one we had in the moth trap at Base Camp was also netted. That one those clever i-Spotters identified as Colymbetes fuscus for us. We hope they'll be able to help with this one too.
Just how many 3-spined Sticklebacks did the youngsters find?
This many!
Count them if you like.
Great stuff and loads more children's events coming up next week.
Where to next? Back to Patch 2 for those pesky dolphins, fortunately the weather should be improving again.
In the meantime let us know what's lurking in prodigious numbers in your outback

1 comment:

cliff said...

Awesome pics of the dragonfly nymph grabbing the boatman Dave, wish I'd seen that.