Monday, 6 April 2015

A right old misty murky day

The Safari was able to get a late afternoon visit to the nature reserve but the weather was a bit dire with grotty mist dropping and lifting with monotonous regularity. The walk in gave us an unusual sighting of two Blackbirds, a Song Thrush, a Robin, a Dunnock and two Reed Buntings giving serous verbals to something hidden in an Ivy covered Hawthorn along the allotment hedgerow, if it was anywhere else we'd have said there was a Tawny Owl in there but that would be extremely unlikely here. A Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest sang further down the track. Once in the reserve another Chiffchaff and another Song Thrush were singing in the mist. The only thing we could see from 'raptor hill' was this Magpie which so unhelpfully hopped out of range.
We continued to scan the water for hirundines without success but we thought we heard a snatch of Blackcap song. Did we or didn't we? After a few minutes we went the short was to the viewing platform where we met a couple of local birders. It wasn't long before a small flock of Sand Martins (MMLNR #76) were heard buzzing overhead and then flew around for a bit. A few more flocks dropped in then probably left for another to arrive and we missed a Swallow. A couple of nearby Cetti's Warblers shouted at each other and a Water Rail flitted across the gap in the reeds. The pair of Great Crested Grebes were dancing and the Little Grebe trilled away unseen. 42 Tufted Ducks were more than usual probably refugees from the local park lake with its Easter holiday boaters. The female Goldeneye continues to linger. 
We'd been keeping an eye on the gulls without any joy when all of a sudden we saw that the long staying Iceland Gull walking along the new bank at the back of the scrape on the island - when did that sneak in??? We also thought we heard another snatch of Blackcap song - did we or didn't we???

By now it was nearly tea-time and the next drop of mist was a big dense cold one so it was time to go.
There's a whole landscape out there somewhere - honest!
Back at the allotments the kerfuffle in the Ivy had died away but the wet polls had little spots of golden joy - the Marsh Marigolds have started to flower.
After a dull day with little happening - an Osprey was sort of missed at lunchtime as it traveled north a mile or so east of Base Camp, would have been visible from the bedroom window, mist permitting. probably went right over the nature reserve too! - it's good to have been sent some pics from our Extreme Photographer's 'new' cottage in Pembrokeshire.
This is the first (?Slender) Groundhopper he's found there.
and here's one of the House Sparrows nesting in his eaves.
It looks a stupendous place and we can't wait to get a visit in a bit later in the year.
Stop Press - he's just phoned to say at least 67 bats of an as yet unknown species have flown out of his roof space...the next mission for him is to buy a bat detector!
Where to next? Got to meet up with a great guy in the morning to hinder him in some kiddies environmental education aka having a great time bug hunting and more! 
In the meantime let us know who's not pretending to be a Gorilla in the mist in your outback.

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