The Safari had a short Patch 2 session yesterday lunchtime, the sea was flat calm and many of the at least 2000 Common Scoters were reasonably close in although the tide was well out if that makes sense. We searched high and low through them but couldn't find a Velvet or a Surf Scoter...one day we find the latter and fill an embarrassing gap on our list. Best of the rest were three Grey Seals and the first returning Turnstones, eight of them with two Redshanks. Wonder what they think about the loss of habitat now the Mussel covered old pipe is no longer there, will there be enough pickings on the sea wall for them or will they abandon our stretch of beach now?
At sea an unidentified distant auk flew by and much nearer there was a Guillemot. A Great Crested Grebe flew north and while looking at one of the Grey Seals we found another sat on the sea, they've not been at all numerous yet this season.
The sea looked bob on for a cetacean but we had no joy and not really enough time to give us a decent chance of picking one up, back at Base Camp later in the afternoon we learned there'd been three Harbour Porpoises seen up at the north end of the town centre.
This morning we were up n at em early again and got to the vis mig watch point at the nature reserve just in time to watch the sun inch itself above the eastern horizon. Not so many Pink Footed Geese were passing and we were in time to see the Starlings leave their roost, again only about a couple of hundred of them.
We were joined by BD who spotted a meteorological phenomenon we don't think we've ever seen before - a sun dog. A bit like a rainbow without the rain but caused by ice crystals high in the atmosphere. Unfortunately it was nowhere near a complete arc just a tiny fraction illuminating some weird feather-like filamentous clouds.
|Sun dog - the coloured bit towards the right of the pic|
It was a quiet walk to the bridge at the far end with little about apart from the odd Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail calling from the reeds. There was no overhead passage to speak of until five Redwings dropped out of the sky and were instantly lost in the depths of the scrub. The Channel Scrape produced a new species with a pair of Wigeon sat quietly resting with a Teal. It was deffo worth doing the work to expand the scrapes with a nice variety of ducks and waders being seen on there over the last few months, needs a few tweaks of the winter but on the whole it's a big thumbs up.
As yesterday the Reed Buntings were very active in the reedbed at the far end but the hoped for Bittern didn't put in an appearance, well it would have been nice but we weren't really expecting it to - then again if you don't look you won't see! A few Meadow Pipits went over the field behind and a Snipe got up from the reeds in the corner of the mere us as our alarm went off telling us it was time to go and make Wifey's breakfast.
Retracing our steps the bird of the session had to be the Blue Tits, there seemed to be rather a lot more, or at least far more obvious, than on recent visits.
Two thrushes dived in to the scrub, Redwings again we thought, but no the Swazzas told us they were Song Thrushes and were joined by a third. Close to the reserve gate a Sparrowhawk jumped a gear from slow cruise to hunting mode in the blink of an eye and returned a few minutes later doing the same trick darting over a dip in the hedge to startle an unwary victim.
Outside the reserve another couple of Song Thrushes were seen and a veritable flock of Chaffinches went over. A Blackbird and a Wren sat out in the open at the top of a dead shrub with three other birds, again the Swazzas revealed their identity, three Dunnocks - don't think we've seen three Dunnocks sat out in the open away from a feeding station at this time of year before, have you? Only another fifty yards down the track there was another, a bit of movement been going on over night?
Would you believe it! Flippin Skylarks, first one then two together went over on almost the same flight line as yesterday, and our last bird of the morning was another Song Thrush.
A bit quieter than yesterday but still magic to be out watching the day come to life.
Where to next? Getting closer to mega-excitment but before then we'll be out at the nature reserve again tomorrow but not another early start.
in the meantime let us know who's diving in to the bushes in your outback