The Safari is going to struggle to beat our January Dusky Warbler but came close today and not with a bird.
We didn't get out til late, we had hoped to get out for first light but that didn't happen - we're still full of Manflu - that's over 3 weeks now, might have to be a visit to the quacks soon if it doesn't improve. So late morning after chores we ventured out with a 'don't be too long' and a shopping list.
A scan of the wetland for the Stonechat(?s) was unproductive but did give us a few Meadow Pipits flitting around. Having walked all round the reserve yesterday our plan was lurk around 'raptor hill' and listen to the gulls. From there small parties of Meadow Pipits were seen going over, probably about 100 in the couple of hours we were there, and we found the location of a likely Blackbird's nest, the male being seen going in and out of a patch a Brambles several times.
MMcG joined us for half an hour of catch-up chat and two pairs of eyes watching. Ears were more useful than eyes though as we heard several Cetti's Warblers and waited for the gulls to go up in alarm. Chiffchaffs sang and Long Tailed Tits flitted but it was quiet out there.
MMcG left us and as he rounded the corner out of sight a Brimstone butterfly flew past the gate at the end of the track - we yelled him. OK this is a common enough species but not here where it's still a very very scarce visitor we've only seen five or six in 25 years here. We caught up with each other and had a good look round even going off-piste but to no avail it wasn't seen again. Hopefully they'll become more frequent as we insist that any planting schemes around town for planning applications include some Alder Buckthorn. A real great local tick - well chuffed but a little disappointed MMcG didn't connect with it.
The gulls eventually found us a Sparrowhawk and a little later an impossibly high Buzzard.
After a short chat with a young family and showing them a Chiffchaff that was singing out in the open it was shopping time and we had to leave.
We had another look at the wetland on the way back, no Stonechats again but a couple of Reed Buntings were shredding up the Typha seedheads - no wonder it spreads so rapidly!
|Bit distant but we loved the back-lighting|
While watching the Reed Buntings we heard gentle croaking and looking down at the nearest pond there were a few Toads, the first we've seen this year.
Must get out with the torch and do some newting soon!
Where to next? Big family day tomorrow so we might not get out at all but we'll be keeping an eye on and over the garden.
In the meantime let us know who's all croaky in your outback