Sunday, 8 February 2015

Is anybody out there?

The Safari woke to fick fog this morning, when we took Frank out at 06.00 we couldn't see to the end of the street.
With the fog so fick it didn't look good for going out but nothing ventured nothing gained and once  breakfast was made for Wifey and a few chores completed we went to pick up BD who's struggling with a gammy knee at the mo.
Off we went to the nature reserve, successfully resisting the jovial Larid temptation an hour or so's drive away. If we twitched this lovely 1st winter Laughing Gull there might be no stopping us in the future so although it would be a good bird to get for our Year List Challenge with Monika it could be a dangerously slippery slope to embark had it been a Franklin's Gull...
The wetland didn't produce the Stonechats that often frequent the Typha tops there.
Once in the nature reserve we made a bee-line for the viewing platform - we had this weird idea that the Firecrest would show straight away seeing as how we saw it yesterday and the duck was broken...How wrong we were! At least we'd brought the scope this time, not that it was much use.
Some dark shapes at the far end could have been wildfowl and the pale blobs were likely to have been gulls.
Even the friendly Robin was subdued today. A Goldcrest came and went but didn't bring its fiery friend neither did a small flock of Long Tailed Tits.
The fog lifted sporadically, enough to have agood look through the gulls but there was nothing to get the juices flowing, best was three adult and one 2nd winter Great Black Backs, no sign of the 'Posh Gull', as CR calls our wintering Iceland Gull.
After a while we decided to wander down the path to see if we could see the Long Eared Owls that were reported yesterday. We must have looked in every tree and shrub from every angle - except the right one! They're there somewhere but we couldn't find them for love nor money. The Bullfinches that were seen a week or so ago may have moved through by now, there was certainly no sight nor sound of them, we'd be very happy to get them on the reserve year list. The habitat is ideal it's a shame they don't bred round these parts. They don't even turn up that often and never find the feeding station when they do.
Disappointed we didn't find the owls we continued to Dusky Warbler corner where we waited in vain for the tchk tchk call - northing - well not nothing a Cetti's Warbler called a few times and a Water Rail screamed from the reedbed.
The Stonechats that lurk down this end weren't for showing themselves either. 
There's a pool down here that sometimes has a Snipe or two so we had a little look and some flew out, at least one was a Jack Snipe, a lifer for BD but too quick to dart back into cover for his camera.
A slow walk back to the viewing platform again looking in every bush on the way again had us fail to locate the Long Eared Owls, they're pretty much invisible!
At the viewing platform we soon found a nice drake Goldeneye and two females, apparently there were four females. We hoped for some displaying action from him but it was totally disinterested in the females. It was then a striking Cormorant dropped in right in front of us, too close in fact as it was obscured by the intervening reeds. It looked interesting in the bins and we asked BD to fire off a few shots. 
That gular angle looks quite wide and therefore the bird could well be a 'sinesis' type.
90 degrees, should be OK for sinensis - any thoughts?
With more fog closing in and little happening on the bird front we turned our attention to smaller and all too often dismissed wildlife. We'd already seen and discussed the mosses that had been overturned by the birds, were there more than one species there or just the one with different growth forms on the upper and lower surfaces. The trees around are covered in lichens and it was those we concentrated on first.
Spot the Goldcrest food - a Springtail
Then BD found a patch of moss in the crook of a Sycamore tree that had some fruiting bodies on it, sporophytes we think they are properly named.
The very tip of them looks like a lemon juicer!
With the fog still thick and the temperature falling it was time to admit defeat and call it a day. A day when plans were thwarted but we found something else to point the camera at, there's always something out there to find!
Today was the final day of our #100moredaysofnature tweets, tomorrow will be the first day of another 100 wildlifey excitements to show you, and that'll take us into spring. Please do follow and join in with the hashtag #another100daysofnature
Where to next? We should be able to get out on to Patch 2 early doors tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who provided alternative entertainment in your outback

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