Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Very wet at the wetlands

The Safari has been busy with all sorts of things since our last post including worrying family stuff concerning aging parents which have kept us away from the keyboard.
Here's the promised scaly Sardinian pics. They are either Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard or plain old Italian Wall Lizard. We're not sure how to separate the two species.
And we managed just one quick snap of a Moorish Gecko before it disappeared down a crack in the rocks.
Then there's those wasps we mentioned.
The black ones crawled from flower to flower never really showing themselves to their best advantage. The red one we one saw this once.
Around the hotel gardens we found lots of evidence of Wild Boars. This little digging rampage was very close to the pool and passed by hundreds of tourists every day, very few of them actually realising what had been going on.
Sadly although they are reputed to eat absolutely everything they don't seem to like the invasive Hottentot Fig.
They came closer than that being found very close to our digs with fresh poo being found daily.
Exciting stuff but we never got to see the beasties themselves.
There was a hotel cat which was friendly enough

but only to people...probably in return for tit-bits. But when reptiles are about they'd better watch out.
This is very worrying as not far from Base Camp there's a massive housing development very close to the dunes where there a small population of Common Lizards. If more than a couple of those new houses have wandering cats we can't see them lasting more than a few years before becoming extinct.
Our Bird Year List Challenge added the following in Sardinia; Sardinian Warbler (173), Spotless Starling (174), Cirl Bunting (175), Fan Tailed Warbler (176), Bar Tailed Godwit (177), Scopoli's Shearwater (178), Red Rumped Swallow (179), Spanish Sparrow (180) - there might also have been a Pallid Swift or two but we couldn't quite clinch them.
On Saturday we had a very wet trip out to a wetland reserve we've not been to for many many years. We met up with our long-time birding mates, it always seems to lash it down we we go out together, and had a look to see what we could see. The reserve is slightly different to whe nwe last visited all those years ago and now includes a couple of fishing pools we used to try to catch large Carp from in the late 1970s, we never did get a 20 pounder but did pull out a 7 1/2 lb Tench, still got the Instamatic photo somewhere. We started off with good views of the Cattle Egret that's been there for a few weeks. Only seen one in Britain before, now we've seen two this summer.
Also on the scrape were a few Dunlin and a Little Stint (181) among the various ducks, Black Tailed Godwits and Lapwings.
After a while we braved the elements for a wander round the rest of the reserve. Not a lot was happening, everything was obviously hunkered down away from the weather. Eventually we found a Ruff, just about the only bird on this part of the reserve.
But just look at all that New Zealand Pygmy Weed aka Crassula helmsii - what a nightmare that is likely to become for the reserve manager. The Ruff almost came to grief at the talons of a Sparrowhawk there really wasn't any more than the thickness of a feather between life and death.
The next hide had a few Teal and lots of rain
as well as a few Mallards in the mud
Crikey it was wet out there. A small group of waders on a little muddy island was mostly Dunlins but there was another Little Stint (or the same one from earlier beating us round there) and three Curlew Sandpipers. After a while a Greenshank dropped in and a Stonechat was found perched atop some distant bankside rushes.
Dinnertime came round quickly but our butties were still in the car in the car park so back we went. Once our faces had been filled with all manner of sliced pig and chocolaty goodies we hit the hides again. The rain continued to come down by the bucket load. 
Back at the 'Ruff' hide there was only a lone Lapwing to be seen, a mega reserve with just one bird! 
Green Woodpecker in the distance and a couple of Pied Wagtails flew past us but most of the time we spent watching the rain fall and dodging some of the biggest Common Wasps we've ever seen. A Jay and then a Rook peeked our interest until a second bird joined the Lapwing on the scrape.
Four Greenshank flew around at the third hide, but we didn't risk getting even wetter and returned to our cars after a fun but soggy day out.
That night we had to stop over at our childhood home, that gave us the opportunity for an early morning visit to  a childhood birding spot first thing on Sunday morning which we'll tell you about tomorrow - it was good - - really good! 
Where to next? Now where's that Yellow Browed Warbler
In the meantime let us know who's getting wet in your outback

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