Sunday, 1 May 2016

The swifts are back - proof the world is stil turning as it should

The Safari didn't get out until lunchtime today. Early morning rain was promising but didn't ease up all day. We thought there might be a Whinchat or a Pied Flycatcher or a even Woodchat Shrike (we should be so lucky!) somewhere once the sun had come out and livened them up out of their hiding places away from the weather. 
A look across the wetland soon had our bins coated in raindrops but of Whinchats there was no sign, no sign of much at all really. It was positively murky.
We met a soggy IMcC who'd was on his way back having not seen much other than two Grasshopper Warblers in a new place but he did think they could have been the pair from further up the track that had moved. While we chatted we saw a small number of Swifts (MMLNR #93) in with the huge number of hirundines, mostly Swallows. There were a few House Martins too.
We went our separate ways, he went home for lunch and we went to the viewing platform. We didn't stay long in the wet, the very close views of a male Blackcap was nice though. The rain had us retiring to the adjacent hide to enjoy the hirundine spectacle. These days we seem to find a Wren in every hide we enter.
From there we continued in the wet down the  main drag passing not a lot on the way. Even the Cetti's Warblers were a bit subdued today. Crossing the bridge we stopped at the east end viewing platform to watch the Swallows catching midges and drinking right in front of us.
There were a few Swifts here too. When the rain increased many of them went to roost/rest in the reed beds at the bottom of the mere.
From the hide we watched them some more and waited for the very close Cetti's Warbler to show itself...they rarely do! This one did, at the very moment we'd looked away. Never mind it would come round again on its circuit. Meanwhile we watched the comings and goings of a pair of rather wet Great Tits.
Reed Buntings were about the only lively birds around today zipping hither and thither and singing their simple little ditties.
Even the gulls weren't enjoying the weather today, not even bothering to bother a passing Heron usually they mob them or at least get upset by them. Today one decide to challenge it to a race.
Then we heard a Grasshopper Warbler but we thought it came from the reeds which could well make it something else. We retraced our steps and eventually heard the Gropper again, in the place IMcC had told us. Strange we could hear it from so far away and against the wind but it is a strange sound that does strange ventilocuistic things.
Nothing of note was on the scrape today, not even any Teal. At the side of the path there there was a Cuckoo Flower in flower, the first we've seen this year - bring on the Orange Tip butterflies!
Heading back to the car we stopped under a spiral of several swarming Swifts, even hearing some half-hearted screaming.
A little further on we heard another Gropper, then a third in its usual place behind the Raspberry canes and then a fourth at the wetlands so not a bad haul at all!
And so back to Base Camp we went more than a little damp.
Where to next? Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday so we've got an extra day's on safari to look forward to.

In the meantime let us know who's getting the wettest in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Love that photo of the Swallows in the reeds - I've never witnessed them resting en masse in the reeds like that before.
Nice Wren & Cuckoo Flower photos too.
No sign of my neighbours Swifts yet, I think it was 7th May they came back last year, looking at the improving weather forecast they could be around the same date this year, can't wait!