Thursday, 14 July 2016

More gore

The Safari took a call while setting up on the morning of the family event mentioned in the previous post. It was from British Divers Marine Life Rescue local contact TH telling us there was a Long Finned Pilot Whale washed up dead on the beach to the south of Patch 2. It had been all over social media earlier in the morning but being busy we'd missed the news.
Not sure who's pic this is - lifted off Facebook, apologies to the photographer
Look at those scratches, is it a Risso's Dolphin, they get tooth rake marks from their social interactions or are they marks of aggression from a Bottlenose Dolphin or scratches from netting or ropes? TH sent some close ups later.
The teeth are inconclusive, if there are any (or if there are tooth sockets if the teeth have fallen out) in the upper jaw then it is a Long Finned Pilot Whale, if there never were any teeth up there then it would be a Risso's Dolphin.
The tangled fishing gear around the pectoral fin is a bit ominous but could have become attached after death.
We didn't get to see it in the end as it was removed from the beach to landfill. 
TH also told us she'd seen a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins not far off the prom earlier in the week too and has some pics looking back towards town we hope to be able to share with you soon. not only that she made a very generous offer to find out more keep an eye on our social media posts there may be the chance of some exciting opportunities coming up.
In other news on Tuesday we didn't see much from Patch 2 but that little was pretty good, a Little Tern (166, P2 #65) flew north dropping to catch fish occasionally with five Common Terns, a good find for our short visit  as they aren't guaranteed along our coast.
Our evenings have been taken up leading Brownie groups on bug hunts and pond dipping. The first night one of the Brownies came up to us saying she'd caught 'Stripe'. We lifted the pot and saw nothing! And then it moved - tiny! About the size of two large Springtails we could hardly see it without our specs on, and not much clearer with them on and the magnifier on the pot's lid. We'd no idea what it was, it ran rather than hopped. We tried to get a photo which was nigh on impossible with the wrong lens on a gloomy evening while being hassled from all sides by a gaggle of inquisitive Brownies and the darned thing just wouldn't keep still.
The pot is 5cm diameter and the line it's on is about 1mm wide
To be honest we don't even know which group of insects it belongs to, bugs, beetles or something else. Whatever it is it's distinctive so has anyone else ever seen anything like it before? There was enough sunshine to bring some other insects in to play too.
Small Tortoiseshell
And again
Small White
Common Wasp on Figwort
Red Tailed Bumble Bee on Ragwort
The following night wasn't quite so productive for bug weirdness but the Brownies did pull three Common Darter nymphs from the pond. It's not a species of dragonfly we see very often around the work's pond.
They also found a couple of damselfly nymphs, probably Blue Tailed Damselfly
We saw a nice grass that wouldn't have interested the Brownies. We think it could be Small Timothy, it does look pretty delicate compared to 'normal' Timothy even where it's growing quite tall.
While we were trashing the pond the green was being used for a most unusual sport, well a most unusual sport for round these parts. We see footy every day, cricket quite often, rounders fairly frequently but never have we seen hurling - until now!
Patch 2 gave us a distant Grey Seal today but not a lot else other than a nice fly past of four Manx Shearwaters together.
After work we had a quick nip down to the marine lake where we dipped a female Mandarin Duck that's been seen a few times since the weekend. Don't know where it was hiding this arvo but we sure couldn't find it.
There was some other interest though, we particularly liked seeing the family of Tufted Ducks, would have been better had they come a little closer.
Resting on the lawns were plenty of Canada Geese, Mallards and many Black Headed Gulls.
Away over on the edge of the island we spotted a Lesser Black Backed Gull poking at something. It turned out to be an almost fully grown ex-Cootling. It took a while but it went down whole in the end!
The feet are on their way down!
Where to next? We've got another children's event tomorrow, hope it doesn't rain.
In the meantime let us know who's got the brightest stripes in your outback.

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