Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Where's the dolphins gone?

The Safari has been out on Patch 2 for the last couple of days doing a lunchtime hour's watch as part of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch. So far we've had plenty of people joining in and several passer's by asking about what can be seen out to sea. But the only blubber we've seen is a single Grey Seal. Yesterday there was a big bait ball of fish which drifted in on the ebbing tide with at least 50 Gannets and many more gulls in attendance, three Kttiwakes were seen too. If there had been any Bottlenose Dolphins in the bay they surely must have been attracted to that commotion so we can fairly confidently say that unfortunately there's none around...YET. Will we see any tomorrow? There's plenty of time to go before the event ends on Sunday.
We did a rough count up of all the Grey Seals in the top end of this side of the Irish Sea and came up with about 1000 depending on how many hang out, haul out on the eastern side of the Isle of Man...that's a fair blob of blubber so why don't we have any mammal eating Orcas resident in the area? Wish we did, getting very jealous of Monika's recent escapades over on San Juan island in Washington state. Maybe we did in the dim and distant past of the 16th or 17th centuries and we humans managed to kill them all.
This morning on the way in to work we stopped off at the nature reserve to watch the Fylde Ringing Group's demonstration which was postponed from last week due to the bad weather. By the time we arrived they'd already started and processed some Reed Warblers. These turned out to be order of the day. Several were brought from the nets in the reedbed to the ringing station where the assembled early risers were shown the methods by which the birds are aged and sexed as well as how all the various measurements are taken, including looking at the pattern of spots inside the birds' mouths. All very fascinating and a superb opportunity to get to see the birds close up and personal!
A couple of Gatekeepers kept us occupied while the ringers were away in the scrub checking the nets.
Back at the office we got a txt saying we'd missed the star bird of the morning, a juvenile Cetti's Warbler proving that they have bred on site again this year. Not only that the Bittern that was spotted earlier in the week was seen again, and again later in the day too, this is likely the earliest 'autumn; bird for the site. We last saw one there on 19th March and we're not sure if it was seen after that by anyone else. Could it have been on site all that time without being seen???
Back at Base Camp the ringed Greenfinch was back again briefly the other evening, we managed to fire of a few shots but the angle was poor and the light worse so we weren't able to get a clear shot of the missing digit. 
Also about are a fair few young Herring Gulls fresh out of the nest and not that brilliant at flying yet. They're landing in all sorts of places we never see the adults.
They get a bit nervous when the can't see ma or da and start calling with that piercing shrill anxious cry they have.
Where to next? More whale and dolphin watching tomorrow lunchtime and we'll probably sneak in an early morning peek too.
In the meantime let us know who's giving ear piercing squeals in your outback.

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