The Safari went out to Chat Alley on Friday afternoon, there was another hooley blowing and the tide was rising so we hoped for a few windblown seabirds, especially as EM had told us of loads of Kittiwakes down on his patch not far to the south of us. The wind had more north in it than our last safari and our sheltered position was seriously compromised with an icy blast hitting us in the face if we peered too far round the corner of the the building to get a decent view of the sea. Behind us gulls and Oystercatchers made the most of the last uncovered sandbank.
We took a walk down to the lower pro, mainly just to get the circulation going, to have a look at the bottom of the go-kart track wall before the tide covered it to see if there were any Purple Sandpipers about. There weren't and the usual wader roost on the wall didn't happened, even the Redshanks didn't come in today.
We did find a Starling that looked a bit worse for wear, not much of it had been eaten so it may not have been predated just scavenged. Not having a suitable bag we didn't pocket it to give to SB for her skull collection.
Before we got back to our vantage point the first squall came in, by eck it was cold and wet, soft fine snow, almost hail. From then on squall after squall whipped in on the increasing wind.
Some of the heavier ones seriously reducing visibility, at times we could hardly see the sea never mind any seabirds!
Later we went back out to the Starling roost but despite about 10000 coming in they didn't want to murmurate and went straight under the pier to roost - we didn't blame them.
Saturday we to Wifey to the NW bird fair at the 'place we don't mention by name' to buy her a new pair of bins out of a little unexpected windfall we got last week. After trying a few she settled on a pair and is now all ED'd up. We also bumped into EM meeting him for the first time as he was with FW promoting Young Birders for the BTO.
Once she was suitably ED'd it was time to see some birds. We had a look from the extremely busy but very impressive new hide but opted for the older and colder, and far less busy, Swan Link hide in the end where she impressed us with her identification skills, pointing out Whooper and Mute Swans, Shelducks, Wigeon and a Lapwing. A couple of days of cold weather had brought more Whooper Swans down from the north and there were some disputes going on as to who should have the best positions for the imminent Warden's swan feed.
From there we had a quick look round thee collection where Wifey's new opyics came into their own as she saw new detail on common species like the wing bar on a Robin and enjoyed droplets of water sitting on the plumage of a Red Crested Pochard.
We both enjoyed stunning views of the Southern African Crowned Cranes.
Sunday brought our Extreme Photographer to our door on a short vacation trip back up north. We went to the nature reserve to show him all the new works that have been going on since he moved away. He got a very brief glimpse of a Short Eared Owl that we totally missed but we did see the three Goosanders (MMLNR #104) that he picked up milliseconds before they flew through our field of view.
|Shame our Extreme Photographer was camera-less today|
We've not seen them there for years. There was plenty of the usual around too with great views of Great Spotted Woodpecker and loads of Fieldfares being pick of the bunch.
Where to next? We've got three days left off work so that Shorty has to be number one on the hit list.
In the meantime let us know who's seeing all the detail in your outback.