Friday, 25 September 2015

It’s all been a bit quiet this week

The Safari has only been able to do the usual stints at Patch 2 this week and very little else other than hearing a couple of Goldcrests around Base Camp, which could easily have been the same one twice if it’s hanging around the area.
Out at sea the wind has been picking up all week. Earlier it was like a glass carpet and we had a Grey Seal and at least 1000 Common Scoters. As the wind increased there were a few Gannets moving around, a few Eiders flying towards the estuary and Red Throated Divers have started to appear in small numbers generally moving south as you’d expect at this time of year. A very close Guillemot was nice but our best sighting was of an initially unseen Great Skua lifting off the sea to mug a passing Great Black Backed Gull of its last meal. We didn’t think the gull put up enough of a fight especially once the skua had grabbed its tail. Impressive to watch considering the reputation of Great Black Backed Gulls and the not inconsiderable size difference, obviously Great Black Backed Gulls are just bullies and don’t like being picked on themselves.
We played host to a woggle of cubs the other evening and gave them a task no other Cub pack has ever done, certainly not in this country. We got them to make some additions to our Bug Hotel to get it ready for hibernating insects in the winter – nothing unusual about that…but we’d been to the zoo earlier and collected a large bag of Elephant droppings. After the initial squeals of horror, disgust and even delight from some of the Cubs we gave them a thick pair of gloves and got each of them to carefully place a couple of dollops. There can’t be many Bug Hotels resting on a cushion of that!
During the proceedings it was quite breezy one of the cubs managed to fumble a lump of the waste product and lots of the outer edge broke off when we were speaking to them and we got a mouthful of the stuff - not something you'd find in flavourtown!
While at the zoo our friend LS had a couple of her friends visiting and had arranged for them to feed the Giraffes so we got to pass the carrots to them and sneakily give a few to the Giraffes ourselves, what awesome, intriguing and  beautiful creatures they are. Sickening to think that some psychopaths think it’s fun to travel to Africa (mostly from America it would seem - what's wrong with you guys???) to shoot them then pose smiling with the crumpled corpse on Facebook.
Warm sun at the back at work where it is sheltered from the cool onshore wind brought out a few insects, the several late flowering Dandelions providing a welcome source of nectar for the Drone Flies that are still on the wing and a huge queen Red Tailed Bumble Bee was bumbling around on the sunny side of the front hedge. 
You can't fail to have noticed there's one or two Crane Flies around at the moment., apparently there may be as many as 3000 of the fluttery long-legged things for every man woman and child in the country. If you've read articles from those masters of natural history knowledge and writing the Daily Fail and Torygraph it's fly-a-geddon and WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE...better get rid of all nature before it gets us starting with Badgers, Wild Boar, Foxes, Hen Harriers - sign the petition please, there's way way more than 20,000 people affected by the effects of driven grouse shooting not just birders who enjoy Hen Harriers wafting over the local marshes in the winter or the high moors in the summer, you like paying higher than necesary water bills and insurance premiums due to their 'habitat management'? - gulls and bees.
A new plant has appeared at work which has Tansy-like leaves and also yellow flowers (we think – we didn’t come across it until it was going over) but those long seed-heads are throwing us off the scent. It’s only a short little thing too. We're hoping those clever iSpotters will be able to shed some light on it's ID. They have and they tell me it's an invasive North American plant, Ragweed.
Back at Base Camp we spotted a Silver Y nestled half in bright sunshine and half in the shade between the laths on the back gates.
Mothy might well go on tonight.
Where to next? Tomorrow is the end of an era – we pick up a replacement for the Land Rover, a decidedly dull and boring hatchback.
In the meantime let us know who's prodigious numbers have taken over your outback

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