Saturday, 24 June 2017

Some you lose and then you win big time

The Safari had a good start to the week with some decent weather and a flat calm sea giving us an early morning Harbour Porpoise and a couple of Grey Seals. The tide was out and what we wanted to photograph was well out of range. 
Back in the office we had an email from SD telling us he'd had at least one Bottlenose Dolphin too. 
The following day we were out with the camera again to try to photograph our target species for the Year Bird Challenge but a scan of the sea didn't reveal any at all but there was a flock of lively gulls away to our north. A good look at those was called for in case any of our quarry were with them although they were too far away to even think about aiming the camera in that direction.
There was a reason for the commotion - a big splash and a dark shape burst through the water's surface. Still too far away but we fired the shutter off anyway.
We'd got Bottlenose Dolphins...but how many?
For the next half hour they came closer parallel to the shoreline but not much closer inshore. The best count we could get three, one in the lead and two following a good way behind.
The following shots are in the order they were taken. Right on the limit of our small lens.
Missed - not quick enough on the shutter button!
They were tricky to get pics off as they weren't doing any big leaps but let's just say we were grinning from ear to ear when we hot back into the office. Still no additions to our Year Bird Challenge though. That would happen at lunchtime when the tide was in - not the best pic though so we'll try to get another but at least Sandwich Tern (YBC #140) has been added to our photo album at last.
There'll be loads roosting on the beach in a few weeks time, big flocks of them, but by then they'll be in their winter garb.
This week we've played host to a young lad on his Work Experience week. One of the tasks we've being doing with him has been a lot of weeding in the Dementia Friendly Garden. The earlier part of the week was very hot and humid. On Wednesday morning we didn't notice any Ladybirds but as the temperature climbed and the humuditity increased there must have been a big influx around lunchtime as we spotted hundreds of  7-Spot Ladybirds returning to our thistle pulling after our break.

There was also a notable influx of Red Admirals flying through the works garden and on Patch 1 as well. 
Our first Swift (P2 #52) of the year here was heard screaming then seen overhead on Wednesday too.
Our young lad was a geography student and interested in climate change and all that goes with it so we took him to the nature reserve to show him how it is involved with the drainage system of the town and if sea-level rises too much then we could become an island. At the end of June 27 years ago we came for a job interview and before going in thought we'd have a wander around the reserve to familiarise ourselves with it as we'd only visited once or twice previously. That day was like this day with warm sunshine and we remember hearing a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away in the rough lower ground to the right of the track and thinking "Hey that's not bad, I could work work here" or at least something like that. Could it have been a descendant of that Grasshopper Warbler that was reeling away from almost the same spot today??? Little did we know way back then that a few years later we'd be instrumental in getting that patch of rough ground included within the Local Nature Reserve.
As well as the Work Experience lad during the day we've entertained Rainbows and Brownies in the evening. They've both had the nets out and ransacked the pond. The Rainbows pulled out a big surprise. Our pond is raised for safety reasons so we would never expect to find tadpoles in there as Frogs and Toads wouldn't be able to jump or climb the wall to reach the water so seeing three of these was a bit of a shock.
We can only imagine that some well meaning person with a pond at home, possibly one that was in danger of drying up in the hot weather has affected a jam-jar rescue and put them in our pond.
The Rainbows found several damselfly nymphs and a fair few dragonfly nymphs but just a couple of days later the Brownies only managed a single damselfly nymph but a great many dragonfly nymphs.
Probably Common Darter dragonfly nymph
All exciting stuff and then the weather changed from a lovely hot and humid, 28C must be one of the hottest June days ever recorded here but the following day was cold wet and windy back down to, a well below average for the end of June, 15C - it felt like 5C in the wind!
Wit the wet and windy weather coming the wildlife seemed to went and the last couple of days have been a bit sparse for sightings although it has grounded the 7-Spot Ladybirds and forced them to pause their journey to who-knows-where as we were still seeing plenty during our last bout of weeding yesterday afternoon.
Where to next? It's the weekend so there might well be a safari somewhere and next week we will be entertaining more Brownies, this time they'll be rockpooling on the beach so watch out for their super finds.
In the meantime let us know who's mysteriously appeared in your outback

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