The Safari drove to work down a very very foggy promenade today. There's not been a drop of wind for almost 48 hours now so the sea would be just about flat calm and perfect for spotting cetaceans, if only we could see it! This pic was taken a little later after we'd logged on and had a brew and the fog had lifted quite a bit!
The only benefit the fog had brought was a grounded flock of about 30 Meadow Pipits feeding on the back field, they were gone the moment the visibility improved.
Mid morning we had an appointment with Nature Detective CP and as many families as would turn up. Fortunately the mist was almost cleared by now otherwise we might have been stood at the meeting point shouting "Is anybody there?" There was and they could see us. CP introduced the morning's fun and games and we did our best to assist. One game we like to get the kids (and their parents) to play is spot the faces in the trees. This is a new one for us in the old Sycamores around the Community Orchard, first time we've spotted it despite having walked past it hundreds of times. Great fun you really should give it a go.
While CP was entertaining the kids we kept an eye out for whatever might be about but we were beaten to the first find by one of the sharp-eyed youngsters who found an Earwig crawling around by our boots. There were a few big queen bumble bees on the wing, we saw Red Tailed and the big White Tailed and what we're pretty sure was an Early Bumble Bee too. However a bright Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was our best spot. We had a net but it gave us the run around and we eventually caught it gently by hand went it went to ground in a shady spot and folded its wings up. It stayed on our hand long enough for the youngsters to get a look before flitting off and landing on some Bluebells where it posed for a pic.Bluebells are going to look stunning here in a couple or three weeks
One of the young ladies was well into her worms and as wee stood around shuffling our feet these two Lob Worms came to the surface...notice the flattened end to the tail. She was in seventh heaven which was great to see, so many kids these days are stupidly petrified of invertebrates of all shapes and sizes for no good reason.
|That's the way to do it, nothing to squeal or scream the house down about, it's 'just' a worm|
CP set them on a game of The Hedgehog Hunts the Nests, a bit like hide and seek with a twist and Pistachio nuts and never been played by anyone else anywhere in the world ever, the gang just loved it - not to self...must try it with our kids' groups.
With the game being so much fun we ran out of time for some of the other activities her had panned and it was time to go our separate ways.
We had a couple of missions before heading back to the office one involved having our lunch quickly at the nature reserve, the first though was to check some prep for our Family Birdwatch at the nature reserve on Friday afternoon 2 - 4ish Book kids places via @DaveyManMcG on Twitter, suitable for kids of 8 - 18 bring you binocs and camera if you have them, Meeting point is the new visitor centre by the Spar Shop on Marton Mere Caravan Site FY4 4XN, let the chap on the security gate know your going to the nature reserve. Plug over...
We parked up and went looking for the Bee Orchids we'd been told about a while ago. On the walk round the back of the zoo the Blackthorn was wonderful and full of butterflies, bees and even a few hoverflies. We saw several more Small Tortoiseshells
and some Peacocks including this rather worse for wear specimen.
It didn't take us long to find the Bee Orchids, this one was the biggest of at least a good dozen.
A few hundred yards further on is a couple of pools that are good for amphibians and today they didn't disappoint at all even though they were if anything 'too full' of water. No Frogs but Toads of all sizes
|Tiny - would easily fit on your finger nail - so small we couldn't get the camera quite low enough even pressing it into the mud - not the best thing for it|
|A little bigger than your thumbnail|
|Massive! Nearly 1 1/2x the size of the previous one but nowhere near fully grown|
But it was newts we were really interested in. The first pool gave us this fungus covered deceased amphibian sp - any ideas which one anyone?Great Crested Newt
|Before anyone asks - yes we do have a licence from Natural England to handle these European protected species|
That was very encouraging and the weather by now was summery too, it was turning into a very very good day.
Back at the car park near the Land Rover was a Martin, not a Sand Martin or a House Martin but an Aston Martin, just one of three we saw in town today (and one Bentley) - there's no money in this most deprived of seaside towns apparently - well someone's got some that's for sure!
|Even the 'cheapest' Vantage model is worth nearly as much as my house...it might go fast but the Land Rover will go anywhere|
Next we went to the nature reserve to have our butties at the viewing platform and watch for passing Ospreys. The volunteer group was just heading our and with them was MJ who joined us for the watch.A pair of drug infested courting teenagers were already on the bench but try as we might we couldn't get them to vacate the space to let the not so young anymore MJ sit down. We earwigged the convo and what complete and utter drivel were they coming out with, it shamed us to think we'd paid for their 'education' out of our taxes. They were engrossed with total sh*te on Facebook totally oblivious to the wonders going on all around them. When the lad said his muscles looked like the 'swans' neck we nearly lost it with them...Canada Goose, maybe we should have done but we bit our tongue.
There wasn't a great lot happening but plenty of Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler activity, butterflies flitting here and there, bees buzzing and we found the Iceland Gull again...far too much to have your faces buried in a phone especially if it was all new to you. The friendly Robin put in an appearance, they didn't notice him sat no more than five feet away.
The main reason for going to the nature reserve was to see if this had arrived, it hadn't when we were having lunch but it arrived not long afterwards
Hopefully it'll be placed on its plinth before our walk on Friday and we can have a good shuffy from it.
We got a message there was ANOTHER Brimstone about but sadly didn't see it but we did see a late flock of 20 odd Wigeon.
Where to next? Hopefully there won't be any Patch 2 fog in the morning.
In the meantime let us know who's worming their way into whose affection in your outback