Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Too much 24 hour misty hazy mush

The Safari has come down with the worst bout of manflu - EVER!. But it hasn't stopped us getting out -yet!
Yesterday nothing much was  happening on Patch 2, the sea was quite calm but it was too hazy to see far and almost all the birds were distant black fuzzy blobs. We must be due a Harbour Porpoise soon but it wasn't to be.
In the evening we had a meeting to attend and as we drove to the community centre we could see the sun setting in the rear view mirror. We had to find a suitable location cos the whole western sky was bathed in an unbelievable hue of peach. The best place we could get to was wide grass verge at the pond a minutes walk from the centre.
It would have been rude not to look in the pond, so we did. At the short amount of bank that's accessible there's a decent sized patch of Flag Iris and this was playing host to an enormous Frog spawn mass.
The patch is probably about eight feet by four and this is just a corner of it, it was like that right the way across the whole area and who knows how deep it went. It was getting a bit dark for looking into ponds without a torch and we still had the meeting to attend so we only looked very briefly and unsuccessfully for Toad spawn. At the meeting it was resolved to arrange some pond surveys with FARG so watch that blog for news of when and where and join us if you can.
Once the meeting was over it was back to Base Camp for tea and to keep an eye on the northern sky as there had been a prediction of an aurora. Sadly it turned out to be too misty and murky although a friend of ours took a trip to the hills to the east and hit the jackpot. Well done SC, what a capture!
Our idiot dog Frank got us up at some ungodly hour with a four in it, going outside it was bitterly cold and we discovered later it was the coldest minimum temperature for the 18th March since 2003, that year gave us 33C later in summer, the highest temperature ever recorded in town; but we aren't drawing any comparisons just yet.
A couple of hours later saw us scraping the hardest ice we've ever had to scrape off the windscreen of the Land Rover. It was just a thin film but it was so hard the scraper bounced of it. One it was gone we drove the sort distant down the prom to see the sea was like a carpet although like yesterday it was hazy again....worse if anything.
We were out on Patch 2 as soon as we were able and heard both Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtails going over in the haze above our head.
Scanning the sea was hard work with the haze reducing visibility to a few hundred yards and again the bulk of the Common Scoters were out of range in the haze. Shame really as the sea was so flat it was silent as the tide rose. Overhead we had a Patch 2 year bird in the form of a calling Meadow Pipit (P2 #39), there may well have been more than one, others were heard on and off during our short visit.
Our scans picked up a few fishing Cormorants and then the birds of the session, two drake Wigeon (P3 #40) sitting becalmed on the edge of the haze.
For the afternoon we had 90 youngsters from Yr3, great fun but perhaps not the best with a bad dose of manflu- they were loud and excitable - it was the most pleasant day of the year so far down there on the beach and they were learning about the Ice Age, volcanoes, sand dunes in deserts, layered muds in estuaries and shallow plankton-rich warm seas, fossils - and they did some rockpooling and drawing on their own - what's not to like!
Where to next? More Patcch 2 tomorrow, let's hope the haze lifts.
In the meantime let us know who;s making all the racket in your outback.

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