Saturday, 30 July 2016

National Whale & Dolphin Watch 2016 so far

The Safari has been doing an hour's watch midweek during lunchtime for National Whale and Dolphin Watch but without success. Indeed we've probably had negative success when we recovered another dead baby Harbour Porpoise which is now awaiting a post-mortem. Today we learned of another youngster dead on the beach 'one day last week' which was found on the tide-line to the south of us along the toe of the dunes - what's going on with them? There does seem to be an awful lot washing up. Best of the rest has been daily Grey Seals, two today but always distant and not so easy to get the generally inexperienced at using telescopes volunteers on to them. Eventually everyone got at least a few seconds look at it/them. Thursday morning also provided a decent birding session when at least 20 Sandwich Terns and 10 Common Terns were fishing quite close to the wall. It's a pity it was so dull as they were probably just in range of the lens. Today bird excitement was limited to a brief build up of Gannets at a small bait ball just this side of the horizon to the south west early in the watch. There were never more than 20 and they soon either dispersed or drifted back over the didn't amount to much at all and that was about it bird-wise for the next three and a half hours. Apart from the rather strange sighting of a pair of Common Scoters coming over the road from inland and landing on the sea just behind the surf - never seen that before!
Here's some pics from our trip north of the border to the capital of Bonny Scotland last weekend.
Edinburgh Castle with flaming torches
Late 16th century building skills - engineered onto the solid basalt rock The original 12th C castle was destroyed during a siege in 1570s

We were there to enjoy what may or may not have been Runrig's last UK gig after 43 years on the road. If it was the last it was an absolute cracker to end with and we can say "we were there", if it wasn't we'll have to go back!

Bruce - Canadian from Nova Scotia...New Scotland; so we suppose that's OK then

Here's Wifey's pics of the Greyfriar's Bobby pub we found by accident after the gig. What a dedicated doggy he was.
Oh and on the drive up we saw a real choo-choo train with smoke and all!!! Chooowwooooo. In Lancashire too! Showing our train-spotting 'knowledge' it might have been a Black 5.
After watching no whales or dolphins this morning we took the camera into the garden at Base Camp this arvo but there wasn't really that much to point it at.
A Small White butterfly was fluttering around Wifey's Nasturtiums so we went to have a look for any eggs finding some tiny already hatched caterpillars had started muching holes in the leaves - they'll be defoliated before too long!
Also lurking on the underside of the leaves were a few Blackfly, but with Aphids a few can very soon become very many!
The big one in the middle is exuding a drop of honeydew from its backside
On the upper surface of a nearby leaf an rather nicely marked dipteran fly of a totally unknown species was taking in the afternoon sun during a welcome break in the clouds. It's possibly a parasitic Tachinidae maybe Dexiosoma sp??????
Far easier to identify was this 'Batman' hoverfly, Myathropa florea. It's a whopper and an excellent wasp mimic.
Even easier to ID were the Red Tailed Bumble Bees  on the Thyme flowers. Plenty of Honey Bees on there too.
Where to next? The last throw of the Whale and Dolphin dice tomorrow. This time we're up at the start of Chat Alley - wonder  if there'll be any migrant birds on the cliffs below our watch point.
In the meantime let us know who's playing hard to get in your outback.

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