Thursday, 17 March 2016

Oh we do like a flat calm sea

The Safari has been left to our own devices this week with Wifey working away seeing yet more Red Kites on her travels and adding the likes of Pheasant (Wifey #53), Kestrel (Wifey #54) only two in over 500 miles of driving in reasonable weather conditions isn't good, and Pied Wagtails (Wifey #55) typically poking around on a car park. At this rate she'll be catching us up!!!
We've been able to get quick looks at the sea in the mornings and the visibility has been exceptional, so clear you could almost see climbers on the Lake District fells about 50 miles away! By lunchtime it's got as hazy as hell making it almost impossible to focus the scope and the bright sunshine made looking south out of the question.
We haven't seen much of note on the sea apart from a pair of Shovelers (P2 #44) which were only the second record for us here in 10 years, last year being the other, will they make it a three in a row hat-trick next year?
A Harbour Porpoise, or maybe two, put in an appearance for SD the day before yesterday, possibly as we passed him scoping from the cliff-top bench on our way to work. Not to be out done we had a definite two yesterday, one looking smaller than the other so perhaps a female with a well grown calf although we have to say our several sightings of them were very brief as the surfaced and rolled back down very quickly. Good to see all the same and only our fourth mammal species of the year, we seem to be struggling for mammals this year, not even seen the Long Tailed Field Mice in the garden yet.
The Friends of North Blackpool Pond Trail had their meeting the other night and before we went in we had a look in the pond near the community centre and found a fairly impressive dollop of Frog spawn.
The House Sparrows have been heard again from the door step when setting off for work which is more good news.
Today we've been feeling pretty grotty coming down with man-flu of the worst order and so with a pounding head, drowsiness and increasingly snotty snozzwanger we made our excuses and left work an hour early. We headed to the nature reserve to get some much needed fresh air and open space and found the main gate wide open, a van parked up and caterpillar tracks leading off down the main drag.
From the Viewing Platform we could see the bright orange arm of a digger working in the distance. We had a quick scan and picked up the Iceland Gull straight away. We weren't in a counting frame of mind but there must have been at least 30 of each of Wigeon and Shoveler, both looking splendid in the bright sunshine. We saw several big bumble bees but were only able to positively identify one, our first Red Tailed Bumble Bee of the year. 
Down at the far end we came upon AH and IB inspecting the works - they look impressive, the works that is! The digger had excavated several ponds already, the largest will be an educational dipping pond for visiting groups. The others will be linked to it by a path and the last one will be left undisturbed to its own devices...provided the flippin dog walkers don't find it.
One of them is in the shape of a flying bat...not to attract batman but to provide extra length of margin apparently. Can't wait to see how they develop over the summer. Interesting times ahead.
IH told us he'd found more Bee Orchid rosettes near the others we found a while back after he had mown the area so we stopped to have a look on the way back to the car. It took a bit of methodical searching but we found the three new ones eventually. Further on we searched quite diligently in other areas where they've popped up in the past but had no luck.
At the gate a cacophony of gulls alerted us to raptor, Osprey??? No, a much more likely Buzzard and just about right over our head.
By now we were hot and in desperate need of a brew so it was back to Base Camp as quick as maybe. Not at all bad for an impromptu hour though.
We also came across this simple survey for you to get involved with, looks like fun too so get yourselves registered and start counting those garden butterflies.
Where to next? More Patch 2 tomorrow but will it be bright and clear or as wobbly as jelly out there? 
In the meantime let us know who's been digging all the holes in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Nice pose by your Buzzard there Dave. Looking forward to checking out the new ponds at the mere over the summer, hopefully they'll bring in even more wildlife.

Thanks for the butterfly survey link, I've signed up for that, just need some butterflies now - maybe tomorrow :)