Wednesday, 20 April 2016

We've been busy

The Safari has been out n about quite a bit already this week. But before we tell you about our adventures Wifey managed to identify a Song Thrush singing close to Base Camp the other evening taking her list to 82.
Monday morning was a tad blowey and flippin cold but we got out on the wall to see an Arctic Skua and several Gannets with Manx Shearwater (138, P2 #58). Also going through were a few Swallows (P2 #59). At lunchtime a Sparrowhawk (P2 #60) floated over the garden being chased by the local gulls.
There aren't so many Cowslips in our nature garden this spring, but those we do have are now in flower.
In the afternoon we had a school group out exploring the pond as one of their seasonal studies. Not much happening in there yet but they did see the nightmare that is the giant Goldfish...couldn't catch it though, more's the pity!
Ramshorn Snail
3-spined Stickleback
We had a quick evening safari to the nature reserve with our Best Boy LCV who'd made the trip up from the Midlands for a day's birding in the Fylde with us. He'd stopped off on the way up at our teenage patch to see this beauty - no chance of it being there when we were hanging around as the lakes hadn't been dug then it was just potato and barley fields. 
Drake Smew
It was quiet out on the nature reserve apart from the Cetti's Warblers and three much quieter Grasshopper Warblers. We had hoped to show him the Long Eared Owls but they are now long gone unfortunately.
On Tuesday morning we hit the road to the point stopping at the marine lake first. The sun was good and bright.
Reflection of the training lifeboat
 There were loads of Turnstones some turning into their stunning summer colours.
Did you spot the Dunlin?
The main interest on the lake are the Red Breasted Mergansers, sadly today ensconced over on the far side.
Down at the point we had a Harbour Porpoise almost immediately while looking for sea birds. Most of the action was much closer, right down on the beach beneath our feet.
Dunlin and Ringed Plovers
Dunlin and Ringed Plover
Dunlin among the pebbles
Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling
Ringed Plover
The amount of doggy disturbance here is horrendous the birds don't get a chance to settle for more than two or three minutes before the next mutt comes along, all they do is waste their energy before the tide drops enough for them to start feeding again. Not good when they've got huge distances across seas and oceans to fly. So much so we had to have a 'chat' to one lucky dog owner. LCV didn't know where to put himself; it was like 'Dad's being soooo embarrassing!!!' We weren't rude to the chap just put our point about the amount of unnecessary disturbance firmly but politely. To be fair he hadn't even thought about it only saying he had noticed the birds keep flying away and was genuinely interested in where they would be migrating too once he knew they did - - hopefully he'll tell his doggy walking friends why the birds shouldn't be disturbed.
An all too typical and frequent view
We were getting so frustrated and wound up at the point we had to leave and set off north over the river. We ended up at the creeks where there were plenty of Shelducks.
The tide filled the creeks forcing the Redshanks on to the grassy banks of the saltmarsh. It didn't take long to find the Spotted Redshank who is looking rather fine and dandy now, if a little far away.
A bit of commotion from the mixed bag of waders, ducks and gulls had us looking up to find an Osprey (139) circling overhead being mobbed by a Buzzard. After missing so many this season it was a relief to find our own.
Well chuffed!
A Greenshank emerged from the serried ranks of Redshanks too.
On the pool by the road all there was of particular note was a Common Sandpiper. But the tern nest boxes have been laid out and the sheep are creating a mosaic of short and long vegetation by nibbling the choice species and leaving those they don't like.
From there we went a little way back down the coast to look at the mouth of the estuary. Here we soon heard then saw a couple of Whimbrel (140). The stars of the show weren't the Whimbrel but the Wheatears and the huge flocks of Linnets and Golden Plovers in the fields.
Stunners - worth their weight in gold and more!
 The Brown Hares were still about in numbers too.
Once we'd exhausted the possibilities here we headed back to the nature reserve.  We walked in from the east end passing under a kettle of four Buzzards stacked in a tight thermal. The lower-most one was persistently hanging in the wind as ably as a Kestrel.
This is our regular bird - easily told by the pin-prick in its right wing
The reason for their interest in this small spot might well have been the heart, liver and lungs someone had weirdly deposited just inside the gate - generous (although in a bit of a bizarre place) or poisoned???
Continuing our curcuit we met dome of the volunteers and had a chat. whilst chin wagging we had a Swallow (MMLNR #89) and a House Martin (141, MMLNR #90) go over. And then it was back to Base Camp for a well earned ginormous steak pie with lashings of homemade onion gravy.
Today we added Grey Plover (P2 #61) missed a couple of Harbour Porpoises, three Mediterranean Gulls and another Goosander. We did see a Grey Seal and later a distant large cetacean that can only really have been a Bottlenose Dolphin.
All good stuff and all the better for the company of LCV.
Today's pics have been a mix of ours and his, proper camera, phone, camera-scoped and phone-scoped - can you tell who's is which?
Where to next? More school pondy stuff tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's turned up in your outback at long last.

1 comment:

Stuart Price said...

Great selection of birds there David............