Wednesday, 20 May 2015

More from across the water

The Safari's best find yesterday on the islands was a Collared Dove on the outermost island, Longstone the one which Grace Darling lived on and rescued folks from. We thought it might have been a Turtle Dove when we first saw it but it proved to be otherwise when it landed on the seaweed near the lighthouse.Sadly we wonder if we'll ever see another one in Britain, it's been long enough since the last.
A small number of Fulmars (162) were cruising around the islands.
Everyone goes for the gaudy Puffins for their souvenir photos but we tried and failed to get a pic of the Rock Pipit it was in almost the exact same spot as our last visit a couple of years ago. There was one on the harbour wall that evaded the lens too as we waited for the boat.
Some pics from on the island.
OK now for the Puffins
So just how close are you allowed to get?
Great to see school groups getting on there to view the exceptional wildlife a close quarters - even if they weren't over keen on the pong!
Another early morning wander round the pools gave us a Barn Owl by the Tin Church, which had Frank got us up as early as he has been we'd have had splendid views and probably some photo opportunities. A (the?) pair of Grey Partridges flushed from the long grass beside the track but this time they were kind enough to land in full view in a short rougher area of the adjacent field. What stunners they are and what a real shame they are now so scarce. It must be time to ban the release of non-native Red Legged Partridges we think. No-one has to do an Environmental Impact Assessment of jump through a million consultation hoops to let these things go in the countryside unlike the conservation groups have to do with formerly native or even locally extirpated species.
The wader count on the scrape had increased to three whole Lapwings. A group of Swallows and House Martins were gathering were gathering nesting mud from one particularly favoured patch. 
The pool too was quiet but 'new in' were a couple Little Grebes. They successfully dived for Sticklebacks several times until one surfaced too close to the other and a skirmish ensued sending them both skittering in to the reeds in different directions.
There was no sign of the Marsh Harrier again.
Back at the scrape we scanned for the Roe Deer and soon found the doe browsing along the hedgerow then the buck walked into view to join her and they both went to hole up for the day.
Digiscoped at a distance
A familiar teu tue tue call had us whip the scope back round to scan the scrape, there at the back was a fine Greenshank. It called several times more before heading off to the south east. 'Bird of the Scrape' so far!
A trip down the coast saw us on the beach opposite Coquet Island famed for its Roseate Tern colony. Too far away for us to see any with just our bins and all the terns fishing nearby were Sandwich Terns. There was a feeding frenzy to the south of the island - if only we could have got out there.
We took Frank down to the surf for a paddle and while we were there a tiny wavelet left something fluttering around on the sand. At first we thought it was a bit of plastic but the wind didn't blow it away. On closer inspection it was a Weaver Fish. We rescued it with our boot - not going to pick one of those poisonous spined things. So we flick-kicked it back into the sea. It reappeared on the beach on the next wave but one more deft flick-kick had it further into the water and it recovered enough to swim into the deaths.
We weren't expecting that - isn't nature great!
Where to next? Yet more eastern promise tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's left the waters in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Very envious of those Shag photos, but you couldn't you have got a bit closer. Loving all those Puffins too, I've gotta get me to the Farne Islands.