Monday, 9 November 2015

And the rain hammered down

The Safari has been housebound for a few days with only the sitting room window to look out of, on the garden in which barely a living thing has stirred part from wind-blown leaves and they are technically no longer alive. Over the weekend there was a Patchwork Challenge mini-event #patchday, unable to get to the nature reserve we had a three hour look out of the window for just three species, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon and after a long empty wait Woodpigeon - bloomin marvelous! We were allowed to accompany Wifey on a short visit to the shops for urgent supplies and on leaving a Blackbird was flushed from the Bay Tree by the front door. Four species of birds seen in one day isn't good!
CR txtd later that evening asking if we'd like to be taken to the nature reserve in the morning, after suffering only very minor discomfort from our shopping adventure Wifey said we could go for a couple of hours.
Morning came and thankfully we were able to tie our bootlaces so we were able to go out. It was a mild but miserable morning with strong overnight wind and heavy rain showing no sign of easing. All the same it was good to be out in the fresh air rather than an air-conditioned shop.
The rain rattled on the hide roof and an overhanging branch noisily raked the corrugated sheets above our heads - have to remember to bring a small saw when we're fitter.
Most of the birds were sheltering from the inclement weather, at one point even the Coots made a dash to cover in the face of an incoming squall. Out on the water a few Black Headed Gulls braved the elements sometimes lifting up to pick up and play on the wind with a drifting reed stem. From time to time odds n sods of Common and Herring Gulls joined them, no Scottish rings were seen on the Common Gulls from GD's scheme, we'll keep looking though. A rather handsome second winter Lesser Black Backed Gull dropped in briefly with a much tattier first winter. 
The gulls and corvids rarely interact but one Carrion Crow peeked the interest of a couple of Black Headed Gulls by flying over their heads with a small bright yellow Apple, the crow wasn't going to give up its prize and the gulls soon lost interest, not that they'd have been able to do anything with an Apple had the crow dropped it anyway.
Star of the show for most of the time was a Cormorant, possibly a 'sinensis' type that had swallowed a large fish and looked like it was suffering a bit of indigestion before eventually hauling out on the bund opposite the hide. While the Cormorant was struggling with it's meal on the water beyond it, over the scrub and scrape a Magpie appeared to be having fun just playing on the wind gliding up and down and round the big Sycamore tree in circles for a good few minutes.
Four Shelducks came in from the north east and looked like they were going to drop on to the water but then lifted again and carried on southwest, only our second sighting of this species at the nature reserve this year. There are, however, quite good numbers of Shovelers and varying sized small flocks of up to about a dozen regularly flew past us, a tidy male Teal was the only one of his species seen, numbers of which are still rather low probably due to the mild weather.
All the while we were in the hide a pair of Mallards fed at the water's edge beneath the window and we heard a brief and uncharacteristically quiet snatch of song from a Cetti's Warbler.
As ever our time was limited and was up all too soon but as we were preparing to leave we saw about 75 - 100 Pink Footed Geese drop out of the murk to feed on the adjacent stubble field - lovely.
We were going to have a rant about dogs, community, soap operas and pubs (all related to each other) but you've been spared that, even though we did see a couple and a lone dog walkers going through the reserve on a say when really the wildlife could have done without any unnecessary'll have to keep for another day. There's some great short rants on all manner of environmental subjects, many by young people on the Rants for Change YouTube channel - well worth  a watch.
Where to next? CR has kindly offered to take us out again tomorrow morning and the weather looks to be a little less extreme.
In the meantime let us know if the rain has stopped in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

I'm not faring much better here Davyman, even with a whole handful of fingers! November can be a poor month here sometimes!