The Safari has been suffering an horrendous attack of manflu this week, coughing and spluttering all over the shop so we've not been out n about wildlifing other than seeing nowt through the rain soaked kitchen window.
Today we felt a little bit better and it's the first day of our Christmas hols, not only that it wasn't raining this arvo so we risked an hour out in the fresh air.
Since our weekend owl-fest over on the south side of the river the regular Long Eared Owls have turned up again/at last at the nature reserve so it would have been rude not to pay them a visit and get reacquainted with them. The first day they were discovered there were five on show, three yesterday but only two today and they weren't easy! One was obscured by lots of still-to-die-back vegetation, the second was easier to see but only for taller folk as it was perched low down behind a Bramble thicket. Hopefully a bit of decent wind-free dry weather over the holiday period will get them sitting up more out in the open so that lots of peeps can bob down enjoy them.
The Apples have attracted a good number of Fieldfares and although we didn't see many we could hear them chacking almost non-stop in the scrub. There were Blackbirds aplenty too and we had a brief glimpse of a Redwing.
We couldn't stop long and wanted to have a quick look over the water too so mooched round that way passing an unseen Goldcrest just before we reached a Hawthorn bush that was bursting in to leaf - it's not even the end of December yet never mind spring!
Our look across the mere gave us a Little Grebe in the pool below the hide and a count of at least 145 Wigeon and three Goldeneyes, two females and a male - why do those little stunners never come within range of the lens? Hundreds of gulls kept getting up off the flood at the far end along with a couple of dozen Lapwings but time was short so we weren't able to nip down there and have a proper look in the fields.
Where to next? We'll have to have a longer wander round tomorrow provided Wifey doesn't have anything planned for us
In the meantime let us know who's got themselves secreted deep in the undergrowth in your outback.