Saturday, 13 February 2016

Don't think two out of three was good enough

The Safari has been a bit busy this week but we have been able to get out and see some great wildlife.
It started on Wednesday morning with a fine sunrise as we turned into the work's car park.
We got out on to Patch 2 as soon as we were able, crossing the road and climbing the steps up to the mirror ball we saw a bird on the sea wall, blimey a Stonechat (P2 #35) a Patch 2 lifer! We sort of predicated it arriving last week, but got the location wrong by 50 yards. We just about got the scope on it, it was almost too close for it, and got a poor record shot with the phone...shoulda taken the proper camera!
Poor pic, great find!
Then more spookiness happened, looking at the beach to the north there were a lot of gulls to look through so we took the scope to the gate where, on the top of the wall, was a discombobulated Sea Mouse, we mentioned not seeing them for ages in our last post - weird or what?
Later in the day we had a school group coming and while we waited listened to this Starling singing away imitating an Oystercatcher.
The youngsters had a great time in the sunshine, a much better day than their postponed day a couple of weeks ago. They found loads but a Blue Tailed Damselfly nymph was their best find.
Once school was done we had an evening meeting but had an hour to kill so had a quick look on the big park for Treecreepers and Nuthatches without success, bit late in the day really. We did find a ringed Coot from 2014, wonder how many of the others ringed at that time are still alive - keep an eye out for them they could be anywhere in the country by now.
From there we headed to the nature reserve for our meeting seeing a Barn Owl (104, MMLNR #69) away in the north east field as soon as we crossed the bridge. A heavy shower sent it running for cover and that was the last we saw of it. The sunset was a fine spectacle though.
Behind us a Pied Wagtail (MMLNR # 70) flew over and a little later a Mistle Thrush (105, MMLNR #71) appeared on the barn roof.
The following morning news broke of a Black Redstart seen at the bottom end of Patch 2 so at lunchtime we had a rather warm walk down that way but had no luck. All we could find were a Pied Wagtail and a Magpie (P2 #36). Walking back to work we then saw a record breaking eight Magpies on the neighbouring hotel roof.
A quick look at the sea gave us a fluke, an angler's boat flushed about 500 - 600 Common Scoters and hoping for a Velvet Scoter we gave them a good look through when they were in the air. We didn't find a Velvet Scoter but a female type Long tailed Duck (106, P2 #37) instead - happy days.
After work we met up with CR at the pier for the Starlings bumping into a gang of birders from Leeds who had come over for the spectacle.
It was another great sunset.
The Starlings came in their droves and as the tide was out landed on the beach. They covered an area we estimated as about nearly an acre
They don't murmurate so much when the tide is out but do look spectacular when they lift, shame the whole flock doesn't go as one - where are the dog walkers on the rare occasions you need them.
That's not all of them, there were a decent number of earlier arrivals murmurating and going to roost. We guessed at somewhere in the region of 70000.
Today we were able to get to the nature reserve around lunchtime where we met MJ, KB and TS who immediately put us onto an adult Mediterranean Gull (107, MMLNR #72). We'd gone there to see if the Iceland Gull would put in an appearance, sadly it already had and left not long before we'd arrived. Fortunately it reappeared later; always good to get such a stunner on the nature reserve list, Iceland Gull (MMLNR #73).
So two great gulls thoroughly enjoyed. In the meantime TS had gone and done a circuit and round the far side opposite us had a Bittern fly towards and past him low along the reed edge. It landed between him and us but we all missed it. We waited and watched and watched and waited but sadly it didn't show itself again. We've not seen one anywhere since 2013 and that one was here at the nature reserve - about time for another sighting then!
Where to next? We'll be back at the nature reserve with our fingers crossed, might go somewhere else first though.
in the meantime let us know who's been secrecy cloaked in your outback.

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