The Safari hasn't been out as much as hoped this week. Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our large Elm tree. There wasn't anything inherently wrong with it it had just become too big for the small space it was in and had begun to send up suckers all over the garden which could easily become a digging out problem in a couple of years time and could pop up in neighbours' gardens too. Sadly it means that there will be no chance of the local White Letter Hairstreak setting up a satellite colony at Base Camp as was the original hope when we planted it. Perhaps now the small subservient Rowan will be able to grow and maybe one day attract a Waxwing or two if the Blackbirds leave any berries for them.
|Many thanks to CP and his skill with the Stihl|
Today we took Monty down to Marton Mere for a quick spin in the sunshine, once the early morning rain had cleared. First stop was the (to our mind) somewhat over-zealously cleared Feeding Station. There was little about apart from a couple of Pheasants and a Grey Squirrel, no sign of yesterday's reported Bullfinch.
From there we could hear the volunteers' strimmers not too far away. We thought they were continuing to work at the little bay view point they made last week that we're not fond of, we think the time and effort could have been spent better elsewhere on the reserve. When we got there we saw we were wrong, they weren't there but further down at the first hide. We had a quick chat but it was too noisy for Monty's sensitive doggy ears. They did tell us that there were two Otters over against the far reeds. We looked and looked and saw 200 or more Coot panic but didn't see any Otters.
We left the vols to their tasks and walked down to the next hide where we didn't go in but snuck round the front and flattened the area of reeds to the left to open up the view for the winter, our first bit of volunteering here, we're sure there'll be more!
We also had a look at the new reed island from this angle...it's massssiiiivvveee!!!!! And the ducks seem to like to loaf in its lee so perhaps it's not all bad...still going to be a nightmare though.
Once again we were time constrained...how does that happen when your retired?? so we had to head back. This time the strimmering team were having a tea-break and all was quiet enough to join them again. This time we were told the Otters were having a swim round again. Wow, we got superb prolonged views of them with the bins, if a little distant, on the far side of the mere. Excellent!!! Awesome!!! Other expletives are available. Just a little to distant for our 300mm lens we brought out today - typical; and we're not entirely sure why we opted to leave the 600mm back at Base Camp - won't make that mistake again in a hurry!
Well chuffed but later found out there were two Bitterns flying round together in the afternoon, long after we'd had to leave though.
Almost back at the car we spotted a few flowers of Meadow Cranesbill enjoying the last of the year's sunshine.
In the afternoon we joined our local Wildlife Trust's Living Seas team for a Sea Watch at Rossall tower. A chilly and blustery afternoon but the event was well attended. We got a count of 50 Eiders roosting on the new shingle island, there were a lot of Oystercatchers and Turnstones roosting over there too.
It took a while for the only Grey Seal to put in an appearance and we missed it. While searching the waves and troughs for it we spotted half a dozen Little Gulls, five adults and a first winter, flying west out of the bay. A nice find even though we say so ourself.
Not much else was out there for the others to enjoy, a few more Eiders and a few Common Scoters on the sea and a small flock of Ringed Plovers, Dunlin and a Sanderling on the beach.
Where to next? More gardening at Base Camp tomorrow but we'll keep our ears open for anything passing overhead.
In the meantime let us know who's gracing the waters in your outback.