The Safari is back to work after the holiday and with puppy classes and other stuff to attend to in the evenings we've not had a chance to put pen to keyboard to let you know what we've been up to and what we've seen.
Our trip to the Southside was a fun day out with our birding mates but we spent more time chatting than watching. The site we visited is renowned for its Stonechats
and wintering Short Eared Owls, there were four of these but by they time they got up to fly round mid afternoon we'd walked well past their favoured area so mostly only got distant views.
When we birded this area on our bike on the early 70s Little Egrets wouldn't have been on our radar, they weren't in the basic field guides we had at that time.
As is always the case with nature reserves these days there was a numpty with a dog who let it run all over the place without any control what-so-ever. Once over the river it ran miles across the farmland from where it disturbed a flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers.
Had there been livestock in some of the fields instead of newly planted crops and stubble the dog would have ended up getting itself shot by the farmer - it's almost a shame nature reserve managers don't have the same rights as farmers to protect their 'livestock' and were allowed to shoot unleashed dogs running amock on reserves.
At lunchtime the other day we got out to have a look for the local Snow Buntings, news from the birding website was they'd flown high and away the previous day but we went out feeling hopeful in good sunshine. After a good while and almost at the point when we had to think about going back to work empty handed they flew in from behind us and landed not 20 yards away. Edging round to get them in better light they were now only 20 feet away.
After work we met up with CR at the pier to watch the Starling murmuration over the high tide. There was a bit of a sunset too. A Sparrowhawk came in and bunched the Starlings up and just happened to become the only Sparrowhawk we've taken a pic of over the sea.
Our various lists stand as follows:-
Garden - 8
Patch 1 - 14
Patch 2 - 12
Year List Photo Challenge - 17 - some of the other challengers are well over 50 already and over a third of their way to their target - - we're 'pacing ourselves'!
Grand Total - Long Tailed Tits going to roost in the dark gloomy drizzly fog on Patch 1 while out with Monty in the very last of the light yesterday were #50 for the year.
Where to next? A weekend busy with family stuff may mean little time for wildlife again but we're sure we'll see something somewhere.
In the meantime let us know who was only feet away in your outback.