Saturday, 14 January 2017

A quick dart up the Prom

The Safari wasn't expecting to get out very far today. but slight changes to Wifey's plan meant we were able to have a good few hours out in today's better weather than tomorrow's drizzly rain. It did mean we had to take Monty with us though, his first 'proper' safari - how would he get on; or more importantly how would we get on!?!
We packed him into the boot of the car and headed northwards. At the marine lake we had a particular quarry in mind. To find it we get the pooch out and had a wander along the lakeside path where we soon discovered holding a 5 month old pup and using bins single-handed in a bit of a cold breeze is a bit tricky and not conducive to aiding accurate identifications. We had a good luck for our quarry but to no avail. We did however get a few year birds but had to put Monty back in the car and come out again with the camera; bins and dog was hard enough camera and dog would have been impossible and probably expensive.
At work we watched a Kittiwake (59, P2 #14) battle its way north against the fierce gale yesterday, that could be one of the species we see fairly often throughout the year but end up being unable to get a pic of for our Photo Challenge.
Anyway back to today we soon added Mute Swan (60) to our year list
with a couple of pairs hanging round the lake margins for the inevitable hand-out of copious amount of bread. Much further out were a trio of Goldeneyes (61) , one male and a couple of females, too distant for any proper pics unfortunately.
And two pairs of Red Breasted Mergansers (62) again always way too far out for a proper pic
On the little island we hoped to find one or more Purple Sandpipers roosting over the high tide with about 200 Turnstones and 150 Redshanks but it wasn't to be today; where were they - there were three there yesterday - how annoying! There was another bird for our Photo Challenge though, a Grey Heron.
The smaller lake had a been drained and a bit of a gull roost had formed, mostly Black Headed Gulls but scanning through them hoping for a Mediterranean Gull we soon found a couple of Common Gulls snoozing deeply on the far bank.
After 20 minutes or so locked in the car while we had our photo session Monty needed to stretch hos legs again so we took him up to the Prom where we soon noticed the flood barriers had been fitted. he met loads of new friends and we saw few birds as the tide was almost up to the wall already. Only a couple of hundred Sanderlings roosted on the highest shingle banks. We bumped into some friends we see at work and then CR came along after he too had been unsuccessful with the Purple Sandpipers. We wandered back to the car park with him and then drove back to the lake where we hoped the top of the tide might have pushed the Purple Sands off the last bit of beach and onto the island with the Turnstones, sadly it hadn't. We went our separate ways CR went home and we decided to have a look at the nearby Nature Park aka dog toilet - Monty loved it!
There were dogs everywhere including swimming in the lake but the birds didn't seem that bothered - they must be really used to it! Again we lt Monty have a run round and a play with some new friends before we locked him up and had a few minutes with the camera.
We can't believe it's half way through January and we only saw our first Coot (63) of the year today.
Similarly with Tufted Ducks (64) of which there were several and approachable which they often aren't at many other sites.
There were hundreds of gulls coming off the adjacent landfill site to the pools to bathe before going up on a nearby factory roof to roost, it was a shame we didn't have the time to do them justice we're sure there'd have been a goody or two sooner or later. 
By now it was long past Monty's dinner-time and he wasn't the only one getting a bit peckish so we called it a day. A very enjoyable day out at that with some great birds and doggy fun.
Where to next? Monty is going to meet his cousin Roguey for an afternoon of rough n tumble and we'll take the camera in-case there's something to point it at; the weather doesn't look too promising though.
In the meantime let us know who's playing hide and seek in your outback.

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