Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wryneck morphs...into a waterbird?

The Safari has been busy, almost too busy to get pics for you! We've had a couple of school groups pond dipping and doing some scientific observations in and around the pond too, but we've been too engrossed in their work to take any pics.  
There was a bit of Patch 2 success on Sunday when a Chiffchaff (P2 #64) was calling close to where our youth group were digging, chapping and hacking. Throughout the afternoon we saw a couple of Small Tortoiseshells, a Painted Lady and a Migrant Hawker. Our volunteers found a Silver Y and several Angle Shades caterpillars and  a Cinnabar moth caterpillar, surprisingly none of the group of twelve 16 year olds had seen one before!
Monday saw us returning Sunday's tools to the nature reserve where we were able to have a wander round before heading off to work. It was quieter than expected but we did see a small mixed flock of which included two Lesser Whitethroats and a 'normal' Whitethroat. Six Cetti's Warblers giving a bit of sub-song and a Sand Martin moving with a few Swallows were probably pick of day. A blob of dung showed us only too well that one of Foxes was dining well on the copious Blackberries.
That evening a Curlew (Garden # 33) flew over the garden in the dark.
The sea hasn't produced much although the Cormorants have been taking advantage of the long sheet-piles that poke out of the sea at high tide. They've only just found them and now they've been removed as the project moves towards its conclusion.
Poorly digiscoped -The quality of our photography doesn't get any better does it!

Today we were hanging laundry on the line not long after sunrise when we heard a Goldcrest (Garden #34) calling from the bottom of the garden. This wasn't the only one of the day, seemed there'd been a bit of a fall. Mid morning we took a walk round the garden at work and found two Goldcrests and a Robin in the dense Tamarisk bushes. There was another bird in there too, smaller than the resident Dunnock poking around on the floor. The mystery bird eventually called and briefly showed itself - blimey a Blue Tit (P2 #65). It might not sound much to you but we dipped the last Blue Tit, the Young Uns spotted it way back in 2012, the last one we saw was three years earlier in 2009!!!
The water level in our pond is quite a way down at the moment but that suits the local House Sparrows who regularly drop in for a drink and bathe.
The sun had brought out several butterflies too, a couple each of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells and at least three of the smaller species of Whites.
We hadn't been at Base Camp long when we got a txt from Young Un AB telling us there was a juvenile Black Necked Grebe on the lake at the site where the Wryneck had been until last night. With the offer of half a tank of petrol in her car we got permission to nip over there for an hour. 
Luckily it was the first bird we saw on the lake if a little too distant for our lens - as usual. Black Necked Grebe (185) on the list in our challenge with Monika over on San Juan Island, Washington state.
Where to next? More Patch 2 and more pond dipping tomorrow - what will be lurking in the bushes? A Great Tit, now that would be a mega, not been one since at least 2010!
In the meantime let us know who's morphed into what in your outback.

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