The Safari turned into the work car park thisd morning to see a strange glow in the south eastern sky. A few minutes later we were walking down the back corridor and witness a bizaare spectacle - a round globe of light was rising above the roof tops and with it came the sensation of warmth. How odd, what could this mysterios phenonemon be? Whatever it was it was most welcome and we hope it sticks around a long time - can't see that happening though.
Yesterday was a dull and miserable day. We were unable to get out early doors, too dark and too wet - it was grim out there. By lunchtime the rain had eased and the low msity cloud had lifted a bit. As soon as we put our eye to the scope we saw masses of Common Scoters flying south, hundreds of them. If evewr there was going to be a good time to pick out something more unusual like a Velvet Scoter or a Long Tailed Duck this was it. The reason for all the activity became apparent when we saw four lifeboats charging down the coast in formation. They were looking for a light aeroplane that had disappeared off the radar about three miles offshore earlier in the morning - it was then we twigged that's why we'd heard far more sirens than normal passing the office window a couple of hours back. A search and rescue helicopter was also out there methodically searching on a grid pattern. The flights of Common Scoters dried up and we, probably rightly, assumed that all the birds to the north of us had been flushed and already flown past us.
The Coastguards and Beach Patrol vehicles were driving up and down the tide line and it was watching them we saw a large number of gulls and Oystercatchers feeding on the shellfish wreck washed up by the relentless storms. As the tide was rising we couldn't go and have a proper look at them.
This morning the very welcome sunshine made the world seem a better place. A brief scan had us marveling at a flight of eight Wigeon going past, the low sunshine really making their white bellies and the males' white wing flashes shine, and then a flock of four Pintails (P2 #75) flew south low over the surf. We then went back over the road and donned our wellies for a womble on the beach for half an hour or so.
It was disappointing to see the shells had been spread out by the far calmer sea overnight rather than being concentrated along a dense strand-line like yesterday. We had a good old rummage round all the same. Best finds were a few large Tower Shells and Common Otter Shells and a Queen Scallop complete with a Dead Mans Fingers sponge attached.
|Queen Scallop (bottom), Cockle sp (probably Prickly Cockle) partially buried, Blunt Gaper, White Piddock (damaged - they're very fragile) and two Curved Razors|
The sun continued to shine and there was comforting warmth on our cheeks when we faced out of the wind. At the base of the wall it was still shaded but a large runnel made a safe roosting spot away from charging dogs for a flock of about 15 Redshanks and half a dozen Turnstones.
We have to say it's been far too long since we were last on the beach and we hope the weather permits us to get down for so more shufties next week, there's yet another storm with 50+ mph winds forecast for this weekend so hopefully smething of interest will be blown itn or washed up.
Another look at the sea at lunchtime didn't give us anything other than the usual Common Scoters, there must be a Long Tailed Duck or Great Northern Diver out there with our name on it for our 200th species of the year.
A much more positive feeling sort of a day today, it a grear what a bit of winter sunshine can do for the spirits.
Where to next? Not sure what's going to be on offer, rather depends on the weather but we do have our 2 minute Goldfinch watch to do.
In the meantime let us know whao mysteriously turned up in your outback