Monday, 15 February 2016

Shoulda stayed out later

The Safari didn't have the best of days yesterday. We were at the nature reserve by lunchtime spending a fair bit of time on the east embankment listening for the Bearded Tit(s?) without success. At the same time we scoped the few gulls that came and went to no avail. From there we decided to have another look at the Long Eared Owls and were able to set the scope up on one of them so that some passing families could have a look and hopefully inspire them to buy a pair of binoculars. 
On the way back into the reserve we were accosted at the gate by a woman with two dogs off their leads who had apparently had a run-in with another birder. She had been 'told off' for allowing her dogs to run amok in the reserve but said her dogs wouldn't harm anything they were only having fun and anyway her husband was a falconer who really respected wildlife...err by killing it???
It wasn't long before we met up with the teller-offer and a couple of other birders, he's dead right nature reserves aren't the palce to exercise dogs, bring yours with you by all means but keep it on a short lead so it can't stray from the path into the habitat or jump up at people - wouldn't it be great to have a few Lynx about with a sign saying WARNING if your dog enters the habitat it may get eaten! Has anyone dome any studies on the effects of disturbance on breeding success and survival (particularly in winter) of wildlife by dogs other than at the coast?
After putting the world to rights and deciding we didn't like the majority of dog walkers - how come so many people get a dog and lose the ability to read?
While chatting we did see a decent flock of Fieldfares in the field behind us and a good number of Lapwings (MMLNR #74) too, it's a shame the Golden Plovers no longer visit these fields. TS had a sneaky mooch off piste  over that way and said there was a huge muddy flood that looks great for all manner of waders to drop on to it - pity it can't really be viewed from anywhere convenient.
Two Kestrels were on the gable end of the big barn and a third hovering in the icy wind at the far end of the reserve.
Going our separate ways we headed for a look at the waterfowl although from the hide it appeared Wigeon and Teal numbers were well down, so much so that we didn't hear or see a Wigeon all afternoon.
Meeting up with BD we spent a long time in the south west corner of the reserve willing the Iceland and/or Mediterranean Gulls to appear - neither did, like the waterfowl it was  very quiet for gulls too. We persevered getting colder and colder to no avail. 
Another wander down to the embankment gave us a couple of lumps of ancient Bog Oak which had been dug out during the spillway improvements last year - they'd make an interesting display up at the Visitor Centre. We must bring a net one day, maybe around the next spring tides to have a dip around the lower reaches of the stream to see if there's any Elvers making their way into the mere. Still not a 'ping' from the Bearded Tits owe had a little rummage along the reed edge in the north east corner fluching about a dozen Snipe in the process, one or two may have been Jack Snipe on their diving straight down into the reeds rather than towering and flying around behaviour but we being only as tall as the reeds we were unable to get proper look at them. Round the corner we heard then all too briefly saw a Cetti's Warbler under the big Sycamore tree. We had a look from the new hide but the hinterland to it was more interesting than the view in to the bright sunlight, there were several plants of Common Fumitory in flower.
Reaching the Viewing Platform we were informed by TS that we'd just missed a drake Goosander, that's going to be a real tricky one to catch back up! We watched and waited for the Bittern to show as it had done to TS yesterday but it was noticeable by its absence.
The others wandered off late afternoon heading back towards the big park and town while we continued round to the car parked at the bottom end meeting PS in the south west corner on the way. We stood and chatted for a while until we were joined by other P and K. Cetti's Warblers sand, Water Rails sharmed, Woodpigeons flew over but still the Bittern didn't show. By now the wind had eased a little and although the sun had dropped and clouds were about it didn't feel quite so numbingly cold as earlier when the sun was much higher.
The low sun illuminated the far reeds with a golden glow but the Bittern didn't climb to the top to bask in the last of the warm rays like they used to in the old days.
The two Ps heard a ping from the Bearded Tit very close by but K and us missed it, they scanned the adjacent reeds furiously but it never revealed itself by sight nor sound. 
By now our toes were being to seriously feel the cold, more and thicker socks required next time! We left only to get home and discover that had we stayed a mere ten more minutes we'd have seen the Bittern and had we stayed another ten we'd have seen a second Bittern!
Some days you see more than others, Sunday was one of those others but we still had some great sightings despite the cold and if you don't get out you won't see nowt - that's guaranteed!!!
Where to next? More Patch 2 sea scanning tomorrow
in the meantime let us know wgo succeeded in avoid you in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

You'll get 'em all next time Dave - or the time after that!