The Safari had an hour watching the feeders before Wifey surfaced this morning. It was much more lively than yesterday, there were even three, yes THREE, Goldfinches - where were they for yesterday's survey? The twig balancing Blackbird was back too along with a pair of Chaffinches and a Robin.
Then we saw something very pale flit from the Crab Apple Tree down on to the ground, it seemed so pale at first we thought it might have been a Canary but once it came back and we got the bins on it it was obviously a Chaffinch albeit a somewhat washed out one. The kitchen window was still soaking wet as it hadn't sopped raining yet and it hadn't got properly light either so the pics aren't brilliant but you'll get a feel of how unusual it was...never seen it round here before, wonder if it'll stick.
The twig balancer came back but we had to look twice, it wasn't the usual female this was a male that's either copied or learned the trick. We'll have to video it for you, they don't find it as easy as it looks in still pics.
Once Wifey had gone to eh-up muvver's we went to the nature reserve. On the walk in we found an Italian Alder tree with well developed catkins. No others of that species we passed were showing any sign of catkins.
Once in the reserve we went to the Viewing Platform (Teal View) where just at the side of the path was a small patch of Bluebells poking through the leaf litter. There's Daffodils at work almost six inches tall already as well.Willow twigs showing pussy willow beginning to open, there's more quite a bit further advanced on the other sided of the reserve but we forgot to take a pic of it.
Just about the first bird we saw when we looked at the water was a female Pintail (MMLNR #106) a scarce but just about annual visitor here. The calmer conditions meant that most of the other waterfowl were on view and not hiding in the reeds, a nice mix of the commoner species with two female and a male Goldeneye but no Pochard today.
We had a stroll round to the far side passing the now completely laid hedge (our pics didn't come out) it's all down but just needs staking and tidying in to finish it off - looks pretty good too.
What didn't look good were someone's helium balloons stuck in the top of the Blackthorn thicket, only one way to get them down is to cut the shrubs down. Please please please folks never use helium balloons ever, there's just no need and they far too often become litter and a hazard to terrestrial or marine wildlife or livestock.
CR was in the hide trying out his new lens for the first time, we had a chat before moving on to the next hide - he was a bit time limited today. A Woodcock flew round over the scrub opposite us, probably disturbed from the scrub by some numpy's unleashed dog. He left and we went further round, he'd warned us the overflow was a bit on the excessive side - he wasn't wrong!
The dyke was full to busting even though the tide was out, it had over topped and spilled into the fields over night.
Earlier in the day some of the Bird Club had been out on the island hacking away at the reeds, not an easy job at the best of times but more difficult today with the water level several inches up. Looks good though lads n lasses - impressive views cross both the old and new scrapes now, thank you.
The afternoon was drawing to a close so we hung round for the chance of the Little Owl (200, MMLNR #107) coming out - it popped up on to the barn roof twice but didn't stay out long.
We got a better but much darker view as it sat on the edge of one of the broken sky lights. Great to have a good look at it, we've not seen it there for a long time, we didn't see a Little Owl anywhere last year!
By now it was almost dark and time to watch the Starlings come in to roost and murmurate but only about 50 turned up gave a short murmuration and then dropped in the reeds. Back towards the car we awaited by the wetland for the Short Eared Owl(s) to show - they didn't but we did hear a Water Rail and saw a Snipe fly off to feed. As we turned to go back to the car we met a couple we'd shown the Little Owl to earlier and they told us we'd missed the Short Eared Owl quartering over the island at about the time we were watching the Starlings, from where we'd chosen to stand we couldn't see the island - dohhhhh.
All in all a good afternoon out with our target reached in our Year List Challenge with Monika, but how many dogs...after the totally crap weather yesterday the wildlife could have done with a disturbance free day today to catch up on some serious feeding instead of being flushed every five minutes.Where to next? Back to Patch 2 for a look before the next storm wangs in.
In the meantime let us know who's on the not so hot tin roof in your outback.