Wednesday, 27 April 2016

That wind's still a bit cruel

The Safari didn't get too much on Patch 2 this morning, our first double figure count, just - 10, of Sandwich Terns and only three Sanderlings took the top spots, yes it was that good! The sun was bright but the wind was fiercely cold and yet there was an orrible haze from only about a mile out. 
At lunchtime we were out again and there was even less out there because the tide had come in and flushed what few waders there are still hanging around off the beach. 
The view up the Prom was summery...but that wind!!! And yes that is a hailstorm between the pier and the tower.

Back in the garden we had a look in the sheltered areas for any solitary bees on the Dandelions, there weren't but there was a Red Tailed Bumble Bee. Dandelions are essential for early spring pollinators and other insects helping them get their season off to a flying start - Please do NOT DIG/HOE/SPRAY them - leave them alone!!!
After lunch we were out on site looking at siting some new eco-built bat boxes. If you're doing bat box schemes please consider using these hand crafted items designed and built by a local lass; they're a similar price to the 'market leader'.
Once our site meeting was over and suitable trees selected we had the opportunity to have a look at some newer trees that were planted only a few years ago. We also hoped there might be a bird or a butterfly about in the warm sunshine...but in that wind it was still cruel! There were some signs of spring but then again winter still had a firm grip on the place.
Red Dogwood stems
The ground flora isn't particularly spectacular here except when the Buttercups are out but there was some interest today with patches of Germander Speedwell scattered here and there under the still open canopy.

Of the trees the Silver Birches were the most advanced followed by the Rowans.
But only a few yards away there's no sign of life on the Teasels we didn't see any new rosettes.
So what about the 'Big Two', Oak and Ash? Are there any signs of life and if so from which? If the Oak is out before the Ash we shall have a splash; if the Ash is out before the Oak we shall have a soak - if you believe these old sayings!
Ash - no sign of life yet
 And what about the closest nearby Oak only a few feet away?
BINGO - Buds are opening - dry summer coming???
Many of the Oaks had been attacked by Oak Apple Gall Wasps, the hole shows that the inhabitants have left.
By now we'd realised there weren't any birds around other than the local House Sparrows and Starlings nicking about taking beakfuls of food to their nests in the roofs around the site and gulls going over. We saw no invertebrates at all. And then we heard the gulls start squawking and looking up, hopefully for an Osprey, to find a Sparrowhawk gliding low over the rooftops, probably a local bird rather than a migrant. This site is close to the coast and has a good open vista to the south so should be good for vis migging raptors and finding grounded passerines, maybe we should spend more early mornings here instead of thrashing the nature reserve at every opportunity.
To the east there are restricted views between the houses to the distant hills, the Yorkshire Dales National Park showing a dusting a snow...brrr, told you it was chilly out there.
We just had to get a gull in the pic didn't we!
Where to next? Back on Patch 2 in the morning, will it have improved?
In the meantime let us know who's defying the winter chills in your outback.

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