Sunday, 4 October 2015

On the hunt for a red October migrant

The Safari was out early again yesterday and again it was pretty foggy. We started at the small gardens down by Chat Alley where we looked high and low for a anything that might have come from Siberia. We didn't find any, not even a similarly sized Goldcrest, the equally diminutive Wren could have been a resident of the park. Two Song Thrushes were new in and only seen the once as they darted between two patches of ornamental shrubbery. There was nothing going overhead apart from two individual Grey Wagtails heading south.
With no self-found joy we decided to have a little twitch up the coast to another little park where a Yellow Browed Warbler had been seen on and off and photographed most of the day. It was still a bit foggy when we arrived. There were a number of Robins ticking away and before long we'd heard several Goldcrests.A couple of the local birders were giving the place a good searching too but without Siberian success. A Blackcap eventually showed itself when the temperature rose a bit as did a Coal Tit which was hopeful as the Sibes have been seen more with the tits than the crests. As usual we ran out of time and the only thing out of the ordinary was this large and impressive fungus.
Back at Base Camp we were hanging out laundry when we heard a Coal Tit (Garden #38) calling behind the garage then it appeared very briefly on the feeder. Then it or another traveling companion was pinching a sunflower heart a couple of minutes later. Blink and we'd have missed it/them! While looking at the feeders waiting to see if there were any more Coal Tits on the way we saw a Garden Cross Spider weaving its web - fascinating to watch its technique.
Once again we were out early at the little park on the hunt for any Yellow Browed jobs - it was even quieter than yesterday even without any fog with only a female Blackcap seemingly new in. Similar numbers of Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Robins were found and our Wren count doubled to two, probably residents although if a pair were having a right old domestic shouting match.
From there we headed to the nature reserve where there was a Friends Migration Watch event where a few folk had already gathered and we looking skywards. There wasn't a skyful of birds but enough to keep us on our toes. Blackbirds and Pink Footed Geese featured highly and were topped up by a few Song Thrushes, Chaffinches and the first Lapwings of the autumn that had a look and then U-turned. Behind us in the scrub we found a Blackcap and a Cetti's Warbler sang loudly  from close to the scrub edge having left its usual reedbed haunts. One or more Jays passed by too.
Again we had to leave and again back at Base Camp we had a bit of success, this time hanging laundry when a small flock of Siskins flew over.
After a couple of hours and breakfast we went back to the nature reserve. The event was over by then so we went round to the FBC hide instead where we'd heard that a Water Rail had been showing very well in recent days. We sat and waited chatting to the families who came in showing them the Shovelers, Speckled Woods, Red Admirals and Migrant Hawkers that were on offer. The gulls went up a few times but it took a while to find the culprits, a pair of Buzzards frolicking on a thermal. From the reeds a Cetti's Warbler sang loudly for us and Reed Warblers flitted by.
One of the gull scares had us venturing out of the hide to get a better look at the sky, it was then we spotted a Comma on the yellow Buddliea just outside the hide door.
Sadly the Sunday numpties were out in force today
It seems inconceivable that you'd guess a wooden wall with slats in it isn't for walking round to see the view; they weren't the only family to do this there were loads! Unless of course you can climb.
Another family walked off the reserve with three rucksacs and a large carrier bag full of apples totally oblivious to the fact that they were removing the wildlife's migration fuel supply and winter food store.
Another Jay flew past the hide and about a dozen Long Tailed Tits flew across the mere towards us.
The Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters were very active in the warm sun and it took a while to find one that was settled. Worth the wait don't you think - spectacular animals!
Where to next? Might not get a chance to look at Patch 2 until lunchtime tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know keeping well out of sight in your outback.

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