Saturday, 18 June 2016

Great way to christen the new scope

The Safari was up and at em early this morning to open the moth trap. Once again we could only use the 'little' lamp but what would we find within?
Not a great lot was the answer, 13 moths of seven species of which six were Heart & Darts. Pick of the bunch had to be the first Bright Line Brown Eye of the year.
There were only three micro-moths today, one of which was this very tatty Brown House Moth which despite their name do live outside too.
 The sun began to peak over next door's roof illuminating this prickly Herb Bennet seed head.
Close by we spotted a female Blue Tailed Damselfly basking in the first rays of morning sunshine to reach the pond edge.
The sun also brought the males out.
We carefully tried to get a bit closer and flushed it, or did we? We were sure we'd not moved in too close yet and had been making sure our shadow was nowhere near it but off it went. It settled again close by after flitting round a couple of other leaves looking like it was sussing them out for angle of inclination to the sun - but we were wrong we hadn't noticed it had picked off a tiny insect...Breakfast!

By now the sun was shining on our patio table so we made a cuppa and had a sit down to catch up on the overnight news.
Somewhere in the blue above us a Curlew (Garden #27) called. A little later from somewhere down the bottom of the garden we heard the first 'autumnal' peeep calls from a Dunnock...surely it can't be autumn already we haven't had the summer solstice yet!
After a hearty breakfast we had another look at the garden before Wifey had to go out. A Greenfinch was at the feeders.
This was the particular Greenfinch we wanted to get some pics of, it's ringed. Unfortunately it wasn't really playing ball not showing its right leg well at all. But we rattled off several volleys of shots as it shuffled round and got almost enough pics to get the code but not quite.
Looks like it might be ?T?0599? not sure how many digits there might be before the T and after the second 9. Any of the local ringers recognise it? We've got four mornings left before going back to work to nail it, providing it's bright enough to warrant getting the big lens out.
Once Wifey was out with Eh-up Muvver we were allowed a short drive. We had a tough choice of where to go but decided on the prom a little to the north of the northern end of Chat Alley where the cliffs are pretty high and there's an more uninterrupted view than Chat Alley.
Looking north towards the Lake District
Piel Island and Castle - where Bottlenose Dolphins have been seen earlier this week
We took Wifey's new little scope and sat on a bench enjoying the wide open vista of the seascape. It was warm in the sun but the wind could have a bit of chill on it from time to time, visibility was quite good, not too hazy. We planned to sit there for a couple of hours and in that couple of hours we only saw a couple of Gannets and a couple of Common Scoters other than the local Starlings and gulls. The Starlings were collecting food for their nestlings from the grass verge but every time they came close enough for a pic someone came along and inadvertently flushed them. The gulls were a bit easier, some cruising along the cliff edge only a few yards away.
Great Black Backed Gull
Herring Gull
Herring Gull again
We weren't really looking for birds but concentrated on searching for marine mammals, particularly a Grey Seal or two (or more) and perhaps if we were lucky a Harbour Porpoise. An elderly lady came past and told us 'someone' had seen a whole big "shoal" of dolphins at 10.30, which would have been just about high tide. We hadn't got out for two hours after that so weren't really expecting to see any and with this news our expectations were realised - we'd missed them. After about a couple of hours on the bench a couple who'd recently moved into a flat on the prom came up for a chat asking what they might see from their balcony - other than superb sunsets. We told them the Bottlenose Dolphins were in town for the summer but we'd missed them today. After a good old chinwag they wandered off back towards home and we put our eye back to the scope to see a huge splash and then another in the far distance in the general direction of Walney Island. They hadn't got far so we called them back and let them have a look through the scope but they didn't see anything other than some large white horses on the edge of the tidal rip - had we made a schoolboy error? Off they went after a few more minutes of chattting and once again we put our eye to the scope. They'd gone out of earshot this time when we saw another, slightly nearer splash and two fins, we'd most likely been right first time! There were at least three and perhaps five or more Bottlenose Dolphins out there - well we hadn't really expected that at this stage of the tide! Over the next half hour or more we were able to get another couple and a lad with a broken bike on to them and had some pretty spectacular views even if they were quite a long way off shore. They were deffo feeding, again maybe somewhat unexpected as all the angling boats were coming back in as the tide ebbed quickly - just goes to show dolphins are more cleverer than anglers when it comes to knowing when the fish are going to appear.
To say we're well happy with the result for the little scope's debut venture into the big wide world would be the understatement of the year! Chuffed to little mint-balls!!!
Where to next? More mothing tonight and tomorrow we may well try to get out for the high tide and give it the whole afternoon on the cliffs. Might have to give the big lens an outing and hope the blubbery ones come in close.
In the meantime let us know who's turning up at the wrong time in your outback.

No comments: