The Safari had a hard late night last night; Wifey had taken MIL to see the local lad made good, (there seems to be loads of em) Alfie Boe, in Manchester but had also offered to look after Ralph, aka the 'Pocket Rocket', which meant we had to wrangle him on our own. He's only little but so full of beans!
|Not often he stays this still - Ralph not Frank!!!|
All of us bar one were shattered this morning and with some chores to do and poor weather we didn't think we were going to be able to get out on safari today.
Wifey had to hot the shops for an hour, during that time we racked on with minimal amounts of housework until we saw yet another hailstorm rattling the windows. It was then we had the idea of trying to get a pic of them as they bounced around the yard so instead of washing up we stood by the kitchen door waiting for the next downpour. Would you believe it they'd been coming through thick and fast all morning but we had to wait what seemed like an age for the next one and it wasn't a fierce as the previous ones which had coated the yard in a white layer of 'snow'.
We rattled a few shots off in the hope that we catch some patterns from the 'bouncers'.
|Looks more like a deep space pic than the concrete in our back yard|
A bit of Twitter action had us notice BD was on the trail of an 'unusual' bird but to get there needed the train and for some reason they weren't running today. What an excellent opportunity to get out of the house, so we offered him a lift...but where to???
Ah the marine boating lake just down the coast from Patch 2 - OK not far but it was going to be a cold one!
Less than half an hour after the offer of the lift we were pulling up on site and were given directions to the exact whereabouts to our quarry by the friendly folk at the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre. They were right too! There were a few Pochards around diving for fun but it took only seconds to pick out our target bird, a nice drake Scaup, on the water once we'd rounded the corner but we were looking into the afternoon sun reflecting off the water and risked losing a retina if it went any further to the left. It was diving profusely spending barely any time at the surface before going under again. A stunning drake Red Breasted Merganser swam into view as the Scaup edged further way round the back of the island and out of view.
Dilemma time! Make do with the views we'd had or risk a sudden downpour or two in the bitter wind walking half way round the lake? At least the light would be better there - decision made - better light = better views.
Turned out to be a good decision - we didn't get wet and where we set up the scope tight against the bushes out of the wind there was a Goldcrest calling.
The Scaup however had gone to sleep close under the island bank so although we had light over our shoulder it wasn't the best with the dark trees reflecting on the choppy surface.
We tried a few shots with
the camera but our best result was digiscoping with the phone, still not brilliant but you can tell it is what it is.
|Really must get one of those phone-holding-to-your-eyepiece gadgets|
We really do like a vermiculation - anyone know what their purpose is?
A cluster of gulls was being fed at the far end of the lake and BD is yet to photograph a Mediterranean Gull. Don't think we've ever seen a Med here but if you don' look you won't see as they say so a full circuit of the lake was made.
On the way to the gulls the sky opened up and it looked as if god was about to descend on us
No Meds were in the gull flock but its always nice to scrutinise them just in case and there's nothing wrong with enjoying the common (or should that be Common) Black Headed and Herring Gulls.
A brief, chilly but uplifting Sunday afternoon's safari was enjoyed by all - ain't nature in all it's guises great!
Where to next? Only a chance of a lunchtime Patch 2 safari tomorrow - lets hope it's a good un.
In the meantime let us know who's got all the pencil thin stripes in your outback.