Sunday, 4 January 2015

Last days of the hols

The Safari had a great trip up north with CR and his mate, Other Dave, yesterday. We had a few hours at the big RSPB reserve starting at the saltmarshes. Here there was a good sized flock of Lapwings of which only a small part in the pic.
A Spotted Redshank (48) was pick of the bunch slightly outdoing a distant Greenshank (51) in our desirability 'rankings'.
At the main part of the reserve we scoped a Jack Snipe (53) on the far bank which was flushed by a normal Snipe which wanted to sit on the same patch of ground just cos it was bigger before we could get the other two on to it. This Snipe is a different and much nearer one.
A Marsh Harrier (54) soared over the reed tops giving fine views.
Moving on to the more distant hides we passed these enchanting fungi growing on a fallen log. No idea what they are - there don't seem to be many fungi this season, at least not in these parts.
 We got to the furthest hide to be greeted by this beaut, a lovely yearling Red Deer.
Although distant he was aware of us quietly opening the windows.
After a few minutes a Heron strode up to him/her.
A male Bearded Tit appeared at the reed edge and flew from the far side of the pool right past the hide but again we weren't quick enough to get the gang on to it.Right at the farthest part of the reserve there were no Otters or Bitterns, very little other than an arty Snipe and more views of the Marsh Harriers and a Rat/Water Vole scurrying in the grass below the hide, didn't get a good or long enough look at it. Looked/moved more voley than ratty but we wouldn't like to put money on it.
On the way back to Other Dave's we stopped at Foulshaw Moss - don't think we've been there before but may have done in the mid 80s. What a cracking site and we're sure we'll be back in the spring and summer when it bursts into life and the very distant Ospreys are on their nest.
A Stonechat (64) at the end of the boardwalk positively glowing in the evening sunshine was a nice bonus as was a reasonable sized flock of Fieldfare (65) on the drive out of the reserve.
Stunning misty scenery across the fields on the drive back to town made a perfect end to a perfect day.
A great day and many thanks to CR for the offer and OD for the company and superb local info.
Today we got out at lunchtime and decided to have another go at the local Great Grey Shrike. On the way we passed the Iceland Gull's favourite hangout, the recycling depot, but being Sunday the gates were locked up and there wasn't a single gull on the roof.
At the shrike site we saw some cars parked on the track but went round to the industrial estate, a mistake as it happened. We put the scope up and saw several folk getting very close views in the distance. At least we saw it but were unable to get any pics unlike the others who looked like they were filling their boots and SD cards. Ah well maybe next time but for now Great Grey Shrike (62) is on this years list. We lost sight of it when it flew to our left towards the road. In the far distance a hint of movement alerted our attention, flippin eck two Roe Deer.
Can you see it?
Quite close to the main road!
 Then we spotted a third way up on a mound of rubble that's been there for a few years.
From there we headed further south to the marine lake where we expected to find a Scaup or two or more. Frank was in his element with all the other doggies out on a Sunday afternoon which made walking round to the best place to see the ducks from very long winded. And then we couldn't find any! Nor could anyone else we spoke to, seems it/they had nipped back onto the river overnight.
Walking very slowly back to the Land Rover we spotted a Common Catsear just about in flower for the BSBI New Year Flower Hunt
Because Frank had been soooo slowwwww there wasn't enough time to execute Plan A going north to twitch the Shore Lark et al, so it was Plan B and the nature reserve. It just so happened we had to pas the waste depot again and this time there were cars parked up on the adjacent minor road and a machine working in the compound. looking good.
A couple of lads from Manchester kindly pointed out the Iceland Gull (69) as soon as we drew up. What a beaut it is although once again we didn't get any pics. It hung around as long as the machine was working, sometimes sat in view on the front edge of the roof and sometimes flying around the yard. behind us we heard the call of a Grey Wagtail (70) and spun round to see it land on the car show room roof.
At the nature reserve a Wren (71) was new for the year - hang on Iceland Gull on the list before Wren!!! Otherwise the reserve was quite quiet from the hide we were in.
A young lady came into the hide, fairly new to birding but copped a Jay which we only saw for a split second as it disappeared behind the branches to our right - not good enough views for a nature reserve year tick unfortunately.
Frank has his own seat now.
Shame he always looks the wrong way...the birds are Behind You as they say in Panto
As we left an hour and a half later we heard a Goldcrest (72) in the bushes near the hide. Blimey - when we got back to Base Camp we learned there was a Firecrest on site somewhere...WOW and about time too, hope it sticks!
A huge pink moon rising inch by inch over the eastern fells made another perfect end to a perfect day in the field.
There was more to come, passing the big lake we briefly got a glimpse of the Great Crested Grebe (73) sailing serenely across thee chilly water.
And so ends a long and very wildlife filled Christmas break.
Where to next? Ohhh you don't know how much Patch 2 beckons, hope we get some time out there and we hope it's as good as we imagine.
In the meantime let us know who's king of the hill in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Well the weather wasn't kind to us until late afternoon - at least when the sun did come out it coincided with our arrival at Foulshaw which, as can be seen in your pics, looked stunning in the afternoon sun. I think you fungi was the 'shot of the day'!
I enjoyed the Marsh Harrier sightings, great to see them there in January, & the Red Deer/Grey Heron combo was ace.
The drive home proved to be spectacular too.
Well done with yesterdays Roe Deer, is that last one waiting for the lights to change before it can move on?