The Safari got to the nature reserve a few minutes later than anticipated - flippin traffic AGAIN - but hey-ho we were soon set up in the hide with our 'Meet the Guide in the Hide' board at the top of the path waiting for our first punters.
While we were waiting we had a scan about to see what was about. Coot mostly! We counted 142 of them but there would have been many more out of our lines of vision. After Coot it was gulls, plenty of Black Headed Gulls,
|Not dragging a wing but having a good old shake|
|Not the most delicate touchdown|
|No-one noticed - did they?|
|Don't be silly!|
It's great to put a face to an internet follower/followee which is what happened when SC came in to the hide and showed us some photos one of which we recognised he'd sent us for our Blackpool wildlife exhibition last summer. Please check out his astronomy photos.
We were able to get him on to his first ever Water Rail - and he even got a pic which is more than we did!A Cetti's Warbler sang from the reeds to one side of the hide to be answered by one on the other side, the first briefly appeared but by the time we'd swapped bins for camera it was long gone - so close yet so far!
A sneaky Snipe was easier seeing as how it hadn't moved for well over an hour.
Another on the far bank had a look of Jack Snipe about it tucked up in the fallen reeds but then it stood up and revealed itself to be an 'ordinary' Snipe.
A loud bang from the fields to the east didn't sound like a firework and was indeed a shotgun - illegal poaching - AGAIN - looked like the same eejit who was spoken to by the local constabulary last year but he disappeared over the far side of the hedge and out of site, fortunately we heard no more shots.
not long after another numpty appeared in there, this time walking a dog - there's sheep in there for f***** sake and there's absolutely no wonder why there's no longer any winter flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plovers feeding in there, no Brown Hares either - time for some BWAC posters down the lane.
|Anyone recognise him? It's a black rather than chocolate Labrador|
and a horde of Black Headed Gulls dropped in for a bathe before heading off to the estuary to roost, we were hoping for a Mediterranean Gull but no joy today. Well justice was served as we partly wanted one to grip off someone whose now out of town - not a nice trait we'll admit.
|Most of the 500+ dropped to our left and out of sight.|
The sun sank below the horizon and we waited eagerly for the main event to start. A couple of hundred Starlings gathered on the wires across the fields which was little disappointing but more started to come in from all directions as the light faded. The eventually formed a murmuration about 5000 strong, far far fewer than last Sunday, but put on a reasonable display.They wheeled and whirled for about 10 minutes before descending silently into the SE corner. No raptors today apart from a brief view of a male Sparrowhawk before they murmuration started.
So not as many punters dropping by as we hoped but it's always a good day when you make a new friend whilst enjoying what the local wildlife has to offer.
Where to next? Patch 2 again tomorrow but only at lunchtime - a Bottlenose Dolphin was seen off Chat Alley this arvo - ooooohh. In the event of not being able to get out our Extreme Photographer has sent some pics for you to enjjoy.
In the meantime let us know what was staying well hidden in your outback.