The Safari got out for a short while yesterday morning and was only able to find a distant Grey Seal and a lot of juvenile Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls.
Today was no better, the Grey Seal wasn't playing out either but a lone Dunlin did fly past in front of the digging rig. We've learned that each bucketful the rig digs is about 20 tons and they've been digging for weeks!
Mid morning we discovered there were a few Quails not far away yesterday so as we had an errand to run at lunchtime we were able to make a bit of a detour and see if we could locate them. not many minutes later we parked up the Land Rover and wandered down the track. Gatekeeper butterflies were everywhere and then not more than 100 yards along we heard the distinctive 'wet my lips' song coming from behind the hedge on our right. It's quite an evocative sound or is that just because we hear it so rarely. Quail (172) on the list and not one we were expect to get in any particular year, our last one was in 2011.
With time short we saw some other 'birders' a bit further down and hurried to tell them we'd heard one...but they weren't birders they were pigeon shooters but were thrilled to hear two more Quails, one said he'd not heard them since the 1950s.
We had to go but decided to come back after work inviting BD to come with us as he was nearby anyway having an afternoon searching for more orchids on the dunes.
The tea-time session was longer and gave us more opportunities to have a proper look at what other wildlife was around, more Gatekeepers, a Large White, a Comma and some impressive Peacock caterpillars.
There was only one Quail singing now but it was joined by a couple of Corn Buntings and lots of House Martins over the field. A really bright Emperor dragonfly flew along the ditch between us and the field.
Behind us the Barley was nearly ready for harvest and catching the afternoon sun nicely.
|Barley, Wheat and Oats are in the pic - can you see them all?|
We imagined what it must have been like in the (very) old days with Water Voles 'plopping' in the ditch lots of Quails in the field instead of just two or three and some Corncrakes rasping away too amongst the wildflower rich fields and lots of Corn Buntings in the not butchered to almost beyond recognition hedges.
The walk back along the lane gave us a couple of Greenfinches and a Goldfinch along with a very fresh Small Tortoiseshell.
Quail eh, nice...still never actually seen one though.
Where to next? First day of National Whale and Dolphin Watch tomorrow so we'll be down on Patch 2 for four hours.
In the meantime let us know what's wetting your lips in your outback.