The Safari headed over the the pond project only to find the 'workers' on a tea break. They were struggling with the Typha which was well rooted and not giving up its grip on the bottom of the pond easily.
From there we picked up BD on route to the other side of the river to see the long staying Pomarine Skua and anything else that might be lurking nearby.
Just our luck the darned thing had flown off not more than a few minutes before we got there but apparently not too far away. We soon saw the flock of at least 80 flighty Twite (99) that were feeding among the various patches of strandline vegetation.
They were constantly on the move both on the deck and in the air.
We were told of two adult Mediterranean Gulls in the middle of a flock of a couple of hundred or so other gulls. One of them was soon found (100) What a great way to bring up the year's ton! The other however remained unseen. With the skua done a bunk we decided gove the cold wind a miss and go and hunt it down further up the coast.
Arriving at the second site there was no sign of it and not much else either so we moved on.
Again the grapevine came up trumps with news of a plant we hadn't seen before. There were a few specimens of Thorn-apple, Datura stamonium, a somewhat poisonous non-native 'weed' It was growing by the roadside by the local sewage works. Lurking there all ominously prickly waiting for spring but will it be a season to bring it forth this summer, they can be quite ephemeral.
This was a brief stop on the way to our next site where the tide was racing up the marsh. There was a magical selection of waders and waterfowl out there. Pink Footed Geese, but not the Brent Goose that had been reported, hundreds of Shelducks floated in and Skylarks (101) and Rock Pipits (102) flew up out of the grass.
We continued to enjoy the unfolding spectacle and eventually picked up a Merlin (103) in the distance but lost it as it flushed a load of Lapwings the far side of the seawall. No-one else managed to pick it up but fortunately the young lady stood next to us got on to it again as it raced towards us and out over the bay giving everyone great views.
Still no sign of the skua though and we thought that the tide might have forced it back to its original resting place were there are some carcasses laid out for it. We returned via the farmland feeding stations where we enjoyed, but don't count, Red Legged Partridges grazing on the provided seeds. A few Chaffinches hopped in and out of the hedge but we had to wait a while for the Tree Sparrows to turn up. The other feeding station gave us several more Tree Sparrows, a couple of Chaffinches and a female Yellowhammer (104).
Back at our first site the skua still didn't show its ugly mush but BD did pick out some Golden Plovers (105) amidst the Lapwings sheltering behind the clumps of grass.
So a good afternoon on the far side of the river but we weren't quite finished. News of a Bean Goose not far from the nature reserve reached us and since it was just about on the way back to Base Camp we gave it a go. The weather was closing in with mist forming quickly and by the time we got there thee geese had gone to roost. To be honest we would have struggled to have picked it out amongst the Pink Feet in that light unless it had been very close to the road.
Another great day out on safari - you may have noticed there's not many pics today, the light wasn't good and many of the most special sights were out of range but sometimes the best camera is your eyes and memory anyway.
That's evough woffle we're of to imbibe some 16 year old stuff in honor of a man who could barely speak English but seems to be hugely popular still. Chin chin Rabbie.
Where to next? Patch 2 again tomoz.
In the meantime let us know who's been playing hide n seek in your outback.