The Safari has been out a couple of times early morning to the nature reserve. Our first visit didn't give us a repeat of the previous blog with no Ospreys flying over nor any Ruffs wading around in the scrape. In fact we didn't see much at all. Patch 2 gave us nothing that day either.
Yesterday all went horribly wrong almost from the off. We'd not got far along the path the other side of the wetlands when our shoulder suddenly felt far too light and half an instant later that was a sickening crash from behind us. The bracket holding our camera to it's strap had sheared. We bent down and picked up the beast it didn't seem too badly scarred but then we realised it wouldn't turn back on. Ah well it;s sort of a computer so we turned it off, counted to twenty, then turned it back on again - nothing, not a flicker. Not only that we tried and failed to release the big lens from the camera body it was stuck fast. Now we were stuck carrying round 6 or 7 kgs and over a grand's worth of broken optics. We were devastated.
Worse was to come, after we'd met LR on his way back home and told him our tale of woe the sun came out and so did the birds after she'd told us it was all very quiet. Later down by the panoramic hide we had the really annoying view of two Lesser Whitethroats out in the open in great light almost together - a perfect photo opportunity, we even half-heartedly raised the camera just in case a miracle had occurred and the birds stayed put; no doubt if there had been life in the camera they'd have instantly done a bunk.
The bushes were alive with other warblers too, there were several Whitrethroats, Blackcaps and a Wren but no Garden Warblers today.
We got back to work in a right state of distrautness, but things were to change for the better when we spoke to a very nice and extremely helpful insurance lady. An hour later another insurance chap phoned asking details of the wrecked goods and told us replacements would be with us early next week. Out we went at lunchtime to Patch 2 feeling an enormous amount of relief and promptly found a Great Skua (172, P2 #72) giving a young gull a right serious chase which lasted well over five minutes before the gull finally succumbed to the skua's aggression.
This morning we were out at the usual time on Patch 2 to see AB already watching the sea further down at the next shelter. We didn't stay out long there wasn't much to see at all. After no more then quarter of an hour we were back inside with nothing more than a roosting flock of about 1000 Knot and probably more than 500 scattered Oystercatchers feeding on the mud as the tide began to creep up despoiling the notebook's page.
After about half an hour sat driving our desk AB phoned saying there was a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull on the beach close to were we stand. We didn't need any persuading to dash out with the scope. It didn't take long to find it with AB's directions and it being quite obvious among the few Black Headed Gulls hanging around. Mediterranean Gull (P2 #73) on the Patch 2 list at long last - just how many tens of thousands of gulls have we looked at over the last eight months trying to find one?
There'll be a different one we'll find all on our own next time we take a peek over the wall no that the duck has been broken.
We had to go out again at lunchtime but we didn't last long it was very poor. After lunch we were just about to set off for an appointment when our colleague buzzed through to tell us a package had arrived - yes it was a brand spanking new camera and 600mm lens. That was some superb service we've received from our insurance company for which we are very grateful. We quickly assembled the kit put in the battery and card from the broken camera raced outside and fired off a few shots at a passing gull, just cos we could! And here it is - nowt special but surrounded by a powerful of relief.
Where to next? We're leading a moth n bat night tomorrow but the weather is looking a bit in the iffy side at the mo. We might get ouut somewhere before that though.
In the meantime let us know who's throwing themselves to the floor in your outback.