Saturday, 17 November 2018

Noisy green aliens

The Safari came over all arty at the Rock Gardens earlier in the week. We couldn't find any moving wildlife close enough or in the light enough to point the camera at so opted for some stationary autumn colour/textures pics instead.
Ash keys
Cherry leaves
Greater Reedmace seed spike
A lovely morning to be in the park and very nice to chat to two other photographers out n about enjoying the early morning light before the cloud drifted in to become a wet afternoon.
In other news we've had a couple of visits to Marton Mere this week. We knew that there was going to be some reed clearing along the caravan site bank starting imminently so we wandered round that way stopping at the Feeding Station first. Grotty light means silly ISO numbers and often there wasn't too much to point the camera at, mostly Grey Squirrels and Pheasants along with a few Woodpigeons and Magpies, a couple of Blackbirds and a Robin or two - where are all the small birds?
On our first visit we saw the reed works hadn't yet been started so we mosied on down to the Fylde Bird Club hide. Again all was fairly quite but then all of a sudden one of the closest Mallards went on high alert
It had obviously seen something or been alerted to the presence of something by other birds, then we saw a load of Coots steam past all bunched up.
From a little further away other ducks had taken flight.
The gulls were circling in a noisy panic too, there was definitely something they didn't like about but from our vantage point we couldn't see what it was. Was it a Bittern stalking the waterside edge of the reedbed or an Otter swimming around? Whatever it was these Coot certainly weren't hanging around to become lunch.
And it's not often you catch a Coot in flight
We never did get to see the cause of the kerfuffle but we meet TS after leaving the hide and discovered the Otter had been swimming around in the middle of the mere for a good 10 minutes or more, dohhhhh must have been just a few feet to close to us not to be visible over the tops of the reeds to our left from where we were in the hide.
The rest of our visit was far less eventful with just a few Redwings seen in the scrub and along the hedgerows. They're so flighty this time of the year and very hard to approach close enough for a pic.
A couple of days later were were back, the early morning sun we'd been promised was obscured behind a veil of light cloud. We did our best with some processing back at Base Camp to bring some detail out of this Long Tailed Tit that posed nicely for us - thank the Lord for software wizardry!
The stars of the show today were a gaggle of noisy Ring Necked Parakeets at the Feeding Station - we've never seen them on the feeders here before - like we always say there's always something new to see see and discover in nature; it's impossible to get bored with it, you just need to get out and look around you.
First there was one parakeet, nervous when it first arrived, checking the coast was clear - or more likely weighing up the options as to which feeder was going to be easiest to raid. They aren't too happy with the presence of the Magpies and Grey Squirrels so it might have been waiting toil the coast was clear.
Minutes later it was down scoffing away
Not sure if it's using its bill as a third foot or it's trying to cut the wire to get in
And then there were two
And then there were three
Mum, dad and junior we think looking at the tail length on the right hand bird. No matter what you think of them being aliens and all, taking food from the native species and competition for nest holes, or not, they certainly brighten up an otherwise dull day.
Round the corner at the Dragonfly Den hide we found what we'd been hoping for, ranger and stalwart volunteer almost up to their necks in the cold water hacking away at the enormous reedbed and making a significant impression too.
Great jobs chaps (and T on the bank raking up) many thanks - much appreciated!
We went again yesterday with the intention of helping out with some bank work but there was no work party to join unfortunately. We had to make do with sitting in the hide enjoying the newly much widened view. Almost as soon as we sat down and were getting Monty settles the Bittern flew in from the left and landed right in front of us - had we been settled in our seat and had our camera ready already we'd have got a couple of awesome shots as it stalled and put out its great big yellowy-green feet to grab the reeds. Dohhh timing but what exceptional views and so close too!!
Back at the Feeding Station the Ring Necked Parakeets were back in action.
Back again with the CR today, only one Ring Necked Parakeet on the otherwise quiet Feeding Station. No Bitterns or Otters, the only photogenic subject were two of the three Goldeneyes on site.
We narrowly missed getting a pic (this is becoming a habit!) of a Stoat at the Fylde Bird Club hide when just as we were packing our gear away to move on it darted along the waters edge below us and stopped standing tall on its hind legs when we pished at it - again stonking views but sadly no pics - we'd just put the lens cap on the camera when it appeared. Maybe next time.

Where to next? We've got a dancing date on the promenade tomorrow afternoon, the tide will be up at sunset when hopefully the thousands of Starlings will be murmurating before they go to roost under the pier.

In the meantime let us know who's all big, brash and green in your outback.

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