Saturday, 7 February 2015

Gotcha; yer little blighter!

The Safari was out on a mission on the nature reserve at breakfast time this morning. The Grey Squirrel was in exactly the same place on the drive in as it was yesterday. We parked up and immediately got a 'convert' tick, we converted yesterday's Mistle Thrush from a heard only to a sight tick with a pair stalking worms on the adjacent grassland. 
We walked as fast as we could to the viewing platform stopping only for a few fruitless minutes starring at bits of crinkly bark in the scrub that looked like they could be a Long Eared Owl but weren't.
Reaching the gate another birder was coming out..."any cresty joy?" we asked him - we really should have kept quiet.."Yes, it was here five minutes ago with three or four Goldcrests." Dohhh, in for a long wait while it circumnavigates its circuit then.
Well actually we didn't have long to wait. The friendly Robin kept us on edge flitting through the undergrowth and we saw two of the Goldcrests but no sign of the biggy. Then something quite remarkable happened, we heard it call! nothing unusual about that perhaps other than we havem't heard one for well over 10 years. But there was a call, and another that was instantly recognisable from the far side of the line of scrub.
We walked cautiously round the tree on the corner in the track and there it was just six feet away in the Brambles. We enjoyed simply stonking full frame views in the bins but when we came to use the camera this happened.
Oops - but you get the gist
Just how many hours has that taken us? But well worth it in the end - what a beaut. It fitted out of view but we hung around awhile in case it reappeared but it never did. Firecrest (111, MMLNR #66) in the bag!
OK our luck was in so we wander down to 'Dusky corner' but the even more elusive dicky bird wasn't for revealing itself today, someone has to be the one to refind it, might be easier next week when the machinery moves onto the island and starts scraping off the vegetation ready for reprofiling the scrapes as part of the lottery grant works.
Water Rails squealed and Cetti's Warblers rattled and sang one even showed itself very close to the path. We totally forgot about the Stonechats as we were off to the far end of the path to take a sneaky peeky at the Environment Agency works at the spillway. Early days but it's looking good.
The massive concrete spillway has collapsed breaking its back and is being replaced by something far more organic, an 'S' shaped stream which will be stone-lined with an Eel pass built in.
The walk back through the reserve - you can't do a full circuit cos of this work which will last  roughly until Easter - gave us a couple of catch-up site birds, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over us converting another 'heard-only' to a sight tick and then we heard and seconds later saw a Greenfinch (MMLNR #67) singing. A Chaffinch singing nearby was the first we've heard this year.
Time was pressing now and we had to get back to Base Camp to take Wifey out but the birding wasn't quite over. Driving from the car park, almost opposite where the Grey Squirrel had been there was  flock of About 10 Redwings (MMLNR #68) on the grass under the trees, we hoped for a slow drive past and a good look but a pedestrian coming up the pavement from the opposite direction flushed them.
We had some jobs to do outside involving the woodpile where we found a few species of Springtails and was tempted to get the macro lens out. It was a bit too dark and we went back inside to get the ring flash but seem to have misplaced it somewhere during the Great Christmas tidy-up.
This is a big un about 3-4mm long
Where to next? Not sure yet but we'll deffo be on safari somewhere.
In the meantime let us know who deigned to show themselves in your outback

1 comment:

cliff said...

Your perseverance paid off in the end Dave. What a great little bird it is. Interesting to see the photos of the work at the Mere, I'll have to walk round & have a nosey.