The Safari has been struggling to get out as much as we'd like due to work and family stuff but when we have got out we have had some great sightings.
A brief look at the sea on Patch 2 the other lunchtime had us watching a flock of about 40 Gannets diving for fish. They were very distant though and the terns with them were little more than a couple of shiny white pixels in the telescope. Chasing them with ultra agility was a slightly larger dark speck, an Arctic Skua (161, P2 #51). Much closer in and away to the south was a bottling Grey Seal.
Last weekend we had a visit to the nature reserve to try to add some more species to our Year Bird Photo Challenge. We had in mind Blackcap and Reed Warbler with the hope for Swift if conditions were right. Standing nearr the end of the causeway at the wetland we had stereo Reed Warblers but in the damp and windy weather they were staying low in the reeds and we couldn't see them. The slightly iffy weather did mean there were parties of Swifts moving through most of the time we were there but trying to get a pic proved difficult especially as we were on the wrong side of the light for photographing fast moving dark shapes against a pale background. Male Blackcaps seemed to be singing from every other bush but again we didn't see a single one.
Along the reserve's embankment we managed a pic of a singing Reed Bunting but the numerous Reed Warblers down there still eluded us, one teased us by showing well at the edge of the reeds for a few second, until we raised the camera of course.
At the bridge we were slightly better positioned with regard to the light to get some Swift shots, which we did. (YBC #137)
Crikey they're tricky! So flippin quick!!! Eventually we got the pic we wanted but at ISO stupid it's still not perfect
With Swifts in the bag and little else doing we went round to the big park to look for the Treecreepers. We're not sure there's any left in there after so many of the larger trees full of nooks crannies and niches have been removed but word on the street is there is still one pair left. Of course we didn't find them but did see a few cheeky Grey Squirrels demanding peanuts from everyone passing by.
A trip out to the countryside with Wifey and Monty had us failing to find any of the hoped for Tree Pipits, although the time of day was wrong. There were lots of lens voiding Siskins but no Green Hairstreak butterflies, we might have missed those by a week or so, it was a lovely afternoon so they should have been on the wing.not far away there's a lovely riverside walk where we took Monty for a splash to cool off. While he was playing in the very low stream a Grey Wagtail dropped in on the rocks on the far bank to collect food fore its youngsters.
Back at Base Camp thundery weather brought screaming Swifts (Garden #27) into earshot but they were very very high. That is one of the quintessential sounds of summer but has sadly just about gone from Base Camp now. A decade ago it was heard daily with small flocks racing round the rooftop in the evening the last couple of years we've heard them just once or twice a summer and the wheeling flocks are long gone - very sad and our home life is very much the poorer because of their loss. young children growing up round here now will never know them and think that is normal - all part of the Shifting Baseline syndrome and collapse of bio-abundance.
Best not get too maudlin as there is still some great wildlife to enjoy, what we need to do is appreciate and cherish it so that the baseline starts to shift upwards rather than downwards and the biodiversity we keep hearing about becomes ever more abundant.
At Base Camp male Greenfinches have suddenly appeared gorging on the sunflower seeds they've ignored all winter - there must be some broods of chicks not too far away.
And at work we spotted a tiny Nomad Bee/Potter Wasp buzzing around the Ox-eye Daisies went to get the camera but it had gone never to be seen again by the time we got back. We did see a different solitary bee collecting pollen from the Ox-eye Daisies.And by eck did it collect a lot of pollen!
At first we thought it was probably Colletes daviesanus but it was eventually identified via Twitter as Halictus rubicundus by none other than Steven Falk, author of the recently published field guide to bees. Amid the drivel, nonsense and adverts on social media it's great to have almost instantaneous access to real experts who are willing to give their time and expertise to help out anyone who asks.
It's now June and once again the wildlife Trusts are asking us to find and explore our inner wild and share our experiences on social media. With all the guff around the General Election it's a blessed relief to have some uplifting posts about people interacting with wildlife braking up the time-lines. Only one of the parties mentions the environment yet without a healthy environment to support us all their other policies and especially GDP so loved by the tories (SPIT) are nothing - why can't they see that???
So show the politicians of all persuasions that the environment is important to you by getting stuck in to #30DaysWild and sharing your experiences.
Here's some of the suff we've come across so far
|Mating Small Whites on Meadow Cranesbill in the work's wildflower area|
|What's round the next bend? Let's explore|
This beautiful lady was!
|Yes we do have a licence to molest them like this|
There were also a couple of Toads and a single Smooth Newt under that piece of rubbish. Always worth turning over anything that's been lying around awhile but remember to turn it back once you've finished.
Yesterday afternoon we took a half term family group down onto the beach to do a bit of rockpooling, their best find was this huge Mermaid's Purse
|Eggcase from a Thornback Ray|
Where to next? We'll be out looking for something wild today - what will it be??? We hope you'll be out in your outback looking and sharing too.
In the meantime let us know what you've already #30DaysWild-ed