Thursday, 20 December 2018

Well that was unexpected

The Safari had a wander out east with GB the other morning. Before we met him off the tram we took Monty for a quick stretch up the prom where, while he was having a merry old sniff, we spied these two interesting clouds which we guess were hailstone cells but we're no meteorological wizard not by a long chalk.
GB's tram arrived on time and Monty gave him his usual over-exuberant welcome. Once in the car we started chatting and one of the first thing he mentioned were the weird clouds he'd seen from the tram.
Half an hour later we turned in to the car park at the River Brock and very atmospheric it was too. Just before we reached the last turn before the car park gate a Jay flew over the car and a second was already perched in the roadside tree it flew too...still not got them on our Photo Challenge but that seemed like a good omen. A Buzzard also cruised the field possibly what flushed the Jay...not the best place to be a Buzzard hope it stays safe and well away from any gamekeepers.
While we were putting our boots on we could hear a Nuthatch calling from somewhere around the feeders and then a second in the trees behind us.
By the time we were shod a bit of a mist had settled over the river looking all picturesque where the sun was shining through the trees.
Further round in the sunlight we found one shaft picking out an epiphytic fern quite high up on a tree bole.

The woods were livelier with birds than they often are, GB picking put a Goldcrest with a second one a couple of spindly trees further back. A Treecreeper was spotted too. But more was to come; down by the old mill we heard a sort of familiar but very seldom heard monotone rattle, and then a few seconds later there it went again...this time it really did sound like a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling from the tall trees on the other side of the river. WOW!!!! But could we see it up there, sadly not. We've never heard (or seen) one there before but 20 odd years ago there were a few sightings by Bird Club members in the woods a mile or so further up stream. It's a while since we've visited those woods and decided to have a peek today. Blimey the road/track has deteriorated since we were last there and was impassible to the 'normal' car we have now, the old Discovery wouldn't have had any problems - it looks like this...or did several years ago when we filmed it but you don't really get the full impression of how steep the drop to the river and climb out are

It was an interesting reverse out today as we couldn't get down the lane as far as the turning round space. The woods look much as they always did but what they look like to our eyes and what they are really like to the various species that inhabit it now, is it better, worse, same???

Round the corner is Beacon Fell where GB treated us to a coffee while we sat out close to the feeder they have there. It was busy with Blue, Great and Coal Tits with a Robin hanging around and a couple of Chaffinches coming in and out. 
The sun was still out and creating harsh lighting conditions at the feeder where the benches aren't in the best place for photographers but are great for all other folk just sat out on the benches having tea and a bun.
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Great Tit
A great way to sit and watch and shoot for as long as it takes to drink a cuppa...Time to go and get some pies in! one the way to the pies we were on another single track road when two vans appeared coming the other direction as we reached a tight corner...good job we'd had that bit of reversing practice coming out of the woods earlier.
Pies successfully scoffed we headed back to Fleetwood to take GB home passing the Marine Lake on the way to see if there were any Red Breasted Mergansers on there, GB, Fleetwood born n bred, has never seen them on there and doesn't believe they actually exist! Once again he was right there weren't any; but there were three Goldeneyes close to the roadside, a male, a first winter male and a female. While we were searching for the mythical mergansers a Black Headed Gull with a yellow Darvik ring unfortunately we weren't able to get a read of it as the letters were round the rong side of the leg and then a passer-by came along and it flew off and although we waited a while it dodn't return...shoulda saved some pie crusts!

In other news the big lens is back but we don't know if the workshop has been able to resolve the intermittent problem it was having, they cleaned up all the contacts and tightened up all the screws but it didn't misbehave for them...will it for us tomorrow - hope not and we hope that's the last of the problem too.

Where to next? The Marton Mere Otter has been seen daily so we'll try a wander round there early doors tomorrow...with the big lens.

In the meantime let us know who's rattling away in your outback.

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