Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A surprise visit sees the Safari heading up northwards again

The Safari was up early with Frank but missed a txt from @HesitantWeasel Saying he was with some friends from the Cheshire Mammal Group on their way to the local Great Grey Shrike and would we like to join them...of course we would but suggested we all meet up at the Shore Lark as they were about to leave the shrike on a dip.
We battled through stupid amounts of slow traffic to arrive at the car park with rain starting to get heavier. We had to wind down the window just enough to poke the bins through to see the Shore lark only yards away on the grass by the picnic site. We txtd them the news and they replied they were only 4 miles away (or an age through the traffic) but thankfully the wind and rain combined with high tide meant it would stick around for them. But we hadn't taken numpty dog walkers into account. Minutes before they arrived one almost stepped on it flushing it seawards and the high tide meant there was little or no beach for it to settle on - would we be able to relocate it for them???
Only one thing for it we all had to venture onto the wind and rain and spray soaked prom and look for it. 
The waves crashed, the sea foam whipped around on the wind, a group of Sanderlings found just about the last of the dry(ish) spots but that was never going to last long and they got flushed off by the next wave.
Everyone loves the spray - like a foam party Ibiza some wag said recently
We made the decision to look at a few more groynes and came across a couple of Meadow Pipits when one of the group shouted "Snow Bunting". One of the pipits had magically transformed in to a lovely 'Snowflake'. It was flighty being disturbed by dogs and passers-by but eventually settled on the top of the wall near us, close enough to point the lens at, and tried to preen in the wind - almost got blown over.
Returning to the car park we immediately saw the Shore Lark was back in its favourite place - someone should chuck some seeds down for it next time they're passing. Job done! It was close but still not quite close enough and the light was minging.
Our best effort yet but we could still do with a better pic
The youngest member of our merry band snuck up on his belly commando style to get his 500mm lens close enough for a full framer. Seen it on Facebook already and what a pic it was - It will appear here in due course.
Next stop was a short drive away to the drained marine lake where the sand is being dredged out making perfect habitat for waders to continue to forage or roost safely when the tide is high. It didn't take long to find the Turnstone flock which held two Purple Sandpipers - possibly the most mis-named bird in the book! If that's purple then we're a Dutchman!
By now the crew were getting peckish and what to eat in one of the seafood capitals of the world, fish n chips of course. A little local knowledge took us to a chippy we've not been to for over 20 years and we were treated to an extremely tasty slap up Christmas feast...thanks Hesitant much appreciated!!!
We had an errand to run but the lads went back to Great Grey Shrike and were successful this time. 
Back at Base Camp a txt on our other phone told us the Iceland Gull was back in town, both the finder and us thought we might have seen it independently while driving past last week but at 40mph views were inconclusive but we have been proved right - which is good. Our friends were able to get on this too, so they had a very productive day only missing on the ?Todd's Canada Geese that have turned up on the way to the Shore Lark that we didn't know about while we were there so could have stopped buy for a look on the way back down to the shrike.
A wet and windy but great day in great company...we do like a surprise day's birding.
Where to next? Wedding anniversary tomoz but we should be a ble to sneak a few minutes wildlifing in before we hit the pub.
In the meantime let us know who's making all the foam in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Some very nice species in that report Davyman :-) Happy Christmas mate!