Thursday, 25 August 2016

Mixed fortunes on the beach

The Safari has had three days of groups on the beach on the trot which is good. Yesterday we were out early before work on the nature reserve again. The signs promised a good session and we were thrilled to see the Elder bush by our old cabin full of birds again. The, or most likely a different, Garden Warbler was feasting away with Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds and a couple of Chaffinches, but strangely we only saw one Blackcap.
It all went quickly down hill once we left there though with very little else seen until we got to the scrape where the Garganey was still in residence and still too far away for a pic. Today there were three Teal with her. Behind us in the trees both Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs sang and we heard Long Tailed Tits conversing with one another but didn't see them. A Cetti's Warbler sub-songed from the reeds in front of us.
We couldn't see any waders on the scrape but the water level was up a bit after Monday's torrential rain, so we walked round the corner to get the other angle. From there we couldn't see any either. Walking back we passed another Elder bush full of ripening fruit and this one too had a Garden Warbler in it, that's the first time we've ever had two on site in one day! The rest of our visit was very quiet and even the Elder bush by the cabins had now been stripped of its ripe berries and the bids departed.
The sun got up and it got hot, just right for exploring the beach. but our group today was thwarted by the doldrum-like calm weather which had left the 'rockpools' full of debris washed off the marshes and lowest sand dunes by the recent spring tides. We looked and looked but couldn't find much in comparison to the day before...the normally super-abundant Brown Shrimps, Common Prawns and Green Shore Crabs were hard to find, even the shells on the beach weren't particularly inspiring; thank goodness for the Blennies and Sand Gobies...How different can two days be!
Today was totally different again. There was lots to find. The Sand Gobies and Blennies were still about in good numbers but so were the shrimps and prawns. As for the Green Shore Crabs, loads were potted, some really big ones too. It was an altogether different day. A wanderr along a bit of a strand-line looking for shells to show the group had us finding this little beauty. An Oyster Drill shell, we've only ever found one or two of these before so were really chuffed to show it to the children even if they weren't over impressed by its diminutive size.
Other goodies we spotted down there were a very old worn piece of Native Oyster shell and a large piece of broken Iceland Cyprine, the gang didn't believe Oysters used to be the fast food of the day and didn't think a shell could live for several hundred years.
Sadly once again our hands were too wet and sandy to get the camera out so we only have the saved Oyster Drill shell to show you - that's going in our collection to take to schools and events.
Our marine life is jam-packed with fascinating facts to learn so get a net and get out there exploring.
Where to next? We've got a long weekend so an early start on the nature reserve is looking likely tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know who's just lying there waiting to be discovered in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Briliant resource those Elder bushes davyman, they should be compulsory in every back garden ;-)