Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Extreme is back in town

The Safari was out to day with our Extreme Photographer back in town from his escapade down in SW Wales.
The rain was heavy and cold but recent news had told us of definitely two and probably three Long Eared Owls at the nature reserve. It was there we headed first, at the car park there was a Holly bush complete with berries that have somehow survived the wreath -making season.
Apparently the owls were near to the place they've been before but not visible from there. He described where they were as precisely as he could but it still took us the best part of half an hour before we spotted one tucked tightly into the thick stems of a dense Hawthorn bush as far out of the weather as it could get. Being secreted deep in the bush the chance of a half decent pic was nigh on impossible and there wasn't any angle to be found that would get it's face from behind the intervening twigs.
There was little else around apart from a couple of Wrens and a Blackbird or two so we wandered down to the nearest hide for nothing more than to get out of the rain for a bit. The reeds here  haven't been crushed down by the roosting Starlings so seeing out of the window was tricky. Looking through the reed tops we had a good rummage through the gulls on the water for the local Iceland Gull but it wasn't on the water for a wash n brush up with the many other gulls.
We phoned our friend to let him know we'd been successful with his Long Eared Owl. As we were chatting our Extreme Photographer saw a Cetti's Warbler, not just any Cetti's Warbler but the best one he's ever seen totally out in the open without a twig or reed-stem in front of it but it dived back into the depths of the reed bed before he could lift his camera. Only seconds later a second was seen but this one didn't come out into the open or stick around long.
Our friend also told us he'd seen a Barn Owl on the reserve early in the morning too.
As we were leaving a visiting party of birders walked towards us so we put them onto the owl and they pointed out a passing Goldcrest - a fair exchange is no robbery!
Told you it wasn't showing particularly well
With the nature reserve quiet, although we did see a Fieldfare briefly, not been many round these parts this season.
Our next port of call was up at the coast as our Extreme Photographer hasn't seen a Shore Lark for many years. Arriving at the car park there it was right in front of us on the green by the picnic benches which has been its favourite spot for a while. We unloaded our gear and as soon as the cameras were out of the Land Rover it flew on to the beach where it took a good while to relocate.
Once we'd re-found it our Extreme Photographer belly crawled across the shingle for fear of flushing it again but couldn't get quite close as he would have liked before it was 'dogged off'.
Still not a bad pic though.
We had a look for the Snow Bunting where we saw it last week but were told we were looking in the wrong place as it had moved further up the coast towards town.
From there we drove the few short yards down to the drained marine lake for a look at the waders roosting over the high tide. At first scan there were only Redshanks and Turnstones there but eventually we did pick out a lone Sanderling.
Among the Turnstones were three with a single green ring on the right leg with no BTO ring to be seen.
A move along the road a little way to view an area where some of the Turnstones were flying to. Here we found a single Purple Sandpiper in the assembled throng.
The sun was setting illuminating the snow covered fells to the east. 
A good end to a good day.
Where to next? Might take the Disco for a look a close up look at the snow tomorrow, there,s a year-bird up there even if it is far too late to catch up with Monika.
In the meantime let us know who's hiding in the bushes in your outback.


cliff said...

A fine shot of the Shore Lark there, looks better on the pebbles than all of shots I keep seeing of it on the grass. It was a bit too bleak for me in yesterday mornings weather to head to the mere. Looks like it could be much better today - gonna see if I can drag Jane out for a walk somewhere.
I can't pick your Sanderling out BTW.

Warren Baker said...

Nice set of images today, species that I get no chance of photographing here!