The Safari was at a meeting in the town centre on Wednesday, don't often get in among the madding crowds and to be honest we didn't like it much, far too many people, far too little space but rounding a corner a rather strange sight met our eyes - an Olive Tree in a pot, we had no idea they'd grow in the cool windy streets of the town centre.
While waiting for the tram back to the office there were a couple of Sandwich Terns fishing offshore whose grating calls could be heard above the human cacophony behind us. Getting off the tram at our stop there was a Grey Wagtail flying over the work's garden and then better still in the hedge was the first Patch 2 Goldcrest (P2 #63) of the year. they're not at all regular here and it could end up being the only one of the year!
Yesterday the sea was flat calm and looked good for something but the something turned out to be 'only' a Gannet and a couple of Sandwich Terns, one of which was sitting on one of the remaining sheet-piles sticking up out of the water for the pipe engineering works - most have now been removed as the project is drawing into its final phase.
The last couple of days the wind has been blowing consistently from the south east - a good direction for bringing migrants to the coast.We had a look on the FBC website and 'et voila' there was a Wryneck reported not too far away. Yes, those south easterlies had come up trumps, but perhaps it hadn't stuck and was a one minute wonder.
Mid-morning we got a call from MMcG telling us there was a Wryneck present down the road, "yes" we said "we'd seen that" but then he told us there were TWO Barred Warblers - Holy McWow an east coast double whammy over here on the west coast - nothing for it but to book the longest lunch-break ever and dive into the Land Rover asap!
There was a decent number of birders from all over the north west lined up on the dune overlooking the private sire where the birds were, it looked a bit like 'Henman Hill' at Wimbledon. Bizarrely the three birds were all in the same bush.
We had plenty of time and we needed it it took a while for the Wryneck (183) to show low down in the Willow bush.
It dropped down on to the ground out of sight for some considerable time before reappearing in what soon became known as Wryneck Hole, a part of the shrub the Barred Warblers had also been seen in.
|Wryneck in the hole. Undoubtedly the worst pic of one you'll ever see - it was a long long way off|
The Barred Warbler(s) was/were more problematical as time began to creep on. A few tantalising flits between the bush and the hedge bordering the car park could have been one of the two or could have been something else, one of the nearby birders thought that one was probably a Lesser Whitethroat. Eventually one did show and showed flipping darned well but too flitty for a pic at that range. Barred Warbler (184) in Lancashire! Not seen one since 1992 or 93, over on the east coast of coast. We've seen a few Wrynecks but again not since the late 90s and very annoyingly dipped the last one on the nature reserve back in 99 which was found in the evening not long after we'd left the site for the day. That was the second site record the other being a few years before our time there back in 86.
A productive lunch-time's twitching and we got back to work a few minutes before we told our colleagues we would. Getting closer to our target of 200 for the year now but it could still prove to be tricky.
This morning we had a decentish look at the sea with two Red Breasted Mergansers heading south, a small flock of Common Scoters had our first Red Throated Diver of the season and an auk sp was diving so quickly we culdn't get an ID.
A couple of Gannets appeared from nowhere along with three Sandwich Terns when a Grey Seal not far behind the surf must have disturbed a shoal of fish. One of the Sarnies caught a fish and flew up with it and dropped it to catch it again so as to be able to swallow it head first. Not seen that behaviour before.
Mid morning while waiting for some printing we took a mooch outside to look in the wild garden. A slight movement caught our eye, a tardy Red Admiral making the most of the warming morning sun.
|Those eyes look like the eyes of a Chameleon|
Where to next? It's the weekend and those south easterlies are still blowing, better still there's over night rain forecast - nature reserve tomorrow early doors we think.
In the meantime let us know who's in the hole in your outback.