Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Dangling by a thread

The Safari promised you the pic of the Long Tailed Tit eating a sunflower seed while dangling by one leg, well it's been posted here - worth a look, has anyone seen this rather odd feeding behaviour before? PE has some other cracking shots from his travels around thew Fylde and further afield.
Yesterday there was a low mist over the sea obscuring the top of the tower - which for the first time in eight long years no longer has any scaffold round it, the repairs are complete at last!) Above the mist was a layer of clear air before much higher still some thicker cloud. The sunlight was reflecting a pink glow off the snow on the top and in the gulls of Yr Wyddfa rather beautifully when seen through the scope.
Today rain was to either side of us but it was clearing to the west on the brisk wind. We weren't hopeful of connecting with yesterday's Black Guillemot, more than likey it had long since cleared out. 
However, it wasn't a bad session, and fortunately we were able to spend a bit more time out today. Almost first up was a Peregrine (P2 #49) which came from over land to the south and headed out to sea away from us at first but then turned made like it was hunting something down on the waves a few times then had a half-hearted stoop at a Cormorant that took last minute evasive action. Eventually we lost it in the gloomy haze right out on the horizon which it appeared it was about to continue over. Next up was our first Sandwich Tern (124, P2 #50) of the season, rather oddly going south, the 'wrong way'! Then an Arctic Skua (125, P2 #51) came past in the middle distance making up for the unidentifiable skua we had in the stormy weather earlier in the winter. Right out on the horizon a couple of Gannets swooped north followed closely by a Fulmar (126, P2 #52) and while watching that a male Red Breasted Merganser (P2 #53) flew past southwards much closer in.
In between the over-exciting bits we had a couple of flocks of Knot totaling about 300, c50 and c250 and a single Red Throated Diver.
All jolly good and we were more than happy with that but there was more to come. Just down form us at the first shelter was another birder who turned out to be Young Un AB. He'd been there longer than us and seen plenty but somehow missed the Peregrine and the Fulmar. He txtd us to let us know he'd had a Goosander go past but that was well before we got out, then another txt to say he'd had an Arctic Skua which could possibly have been the one we had earlier then he phoned. We thought he was just going to confirm his previous txts but instead, almost taking our ear out, shouted down the phone "Get yourself out now!!! There's a Hen Harrier coming your way over the sea!!!" We grabbed the scope, ignored the coat and made record time down the corridor and out of the front door. Luckily he was still on it and it hadn't quite reached him so we were able to pick it up very easily. Years ago we watched a fairly distant Marsh Harrier come in-off away to the north but this was different. The Hen Harrier (P2 #54), a stonking male, wafted gently just above the wave tops make short shrift of the stiffening breeze...absolutely awesome views as it passed in front of the green buoy. It was no more than half a mile out, crippling!!! Got to be one of our all time birding highlights, wasn't expecting that when we set off to work and it just goes to show anything can happen at any time in the wonderful world of wildlife. And mega big thanks to AB for the call.
Lets hope it stays safe this summer and doesn't come to an untimely end. To make it a bit safer please sign this petition to have driven grouse shooting banned - that's the source of all the illegal persecution and you pay for it through higher water bills, higher home insurance premiums cos it's implicated in worsening the effects of flooding and your taxes through farming subsidies go towards subsidising some of the richest land owners in the country like royalty and Arab sheiks - we'd be better off without it and so would our upland wildlife. Lets get it to 100,000 signatures and show these people we won't stand for their criminality any longer.
We couldn't match the excitement at lunchtime with just a Grey Seal and a single male Eider of note. 
No time for pics today, sorry
Where to next? A Ring Ouzel in the works garden first thing tomorrow would be good - or is that getting greedy? We have car issues in the morning so won't be there early doors so it might have to be dropped by a shower in between the bouts of severe dog walking.
 in the meantime let us know who's wafted through your outback.



Warren Baker said...

I think I have got a pic of a LTT dangling by one leg while holding food with another Davyman :-0

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Nice one Warren, a behaviour spread far and wide across the land. Fascinating to watch