Monday, 11 February 2019

Broke a few ducks this week

The Safari spent much of last week at Marton Mere where we broke a few ducks. The first was our first ever pic of a Great White Egret grounded there. Shame it was obscured behind the reeds.
The following day we saw it again stood on the correct side of the reeds but we were at the wrong ens of the mere so had to quickly walk down to the Fylde Bird Club hide for a closer look but as CR was unlocking he door it flew off. how annoying!
Our next duck was broken a few minutes later when at long last we stumbled across the pair of Stonechats (PYLC #78) that have successfully evaded us so far this year.
The male was a bit of nightmare for facing away almost all of the time.
After a while the pair sat up together on the edge of the marsh.
The males are bright but the females are quietly striking.
On our third visit we bumped in to a small group of House Sparrows (YLPC #79) bathing in a puddle.
More excitement followed when we let another birder in to the Fylde Bird Club hide and while we were chatting he called out "Bittern". A lifer for him and year bird for us as it flew past the hide
And then turned to land in the reds close to our right but unfortunately in the shade of the trees beside the hide.
Bittern - PYLC #80
Round corner the Stonechats were sitting high up at the top of one of the few bushes along the embankment - duck well and truly broken.
The female soon dropped down in to the tall grass below the embankment and disappeared but the male did the same and stayed on show.
With time short today we headed straight back the way we came rather than doing the full circuit. Getting back close to the feeding station we heard the first Great Spotted Woodpecker we'd had on site this year. A quick dart in to the hide and a short wait later and Bingo it hopped on to a tree before getting a feast of peanuts from the hanging feeder nearby.
The next day there was a high tide and a really strong wind so we headed to the coast to see if the wind had blown anything out of ordinary inshore. Not a lot over the sea but the tiny bit of beach left was the haunt of Turnstones.
And Sanderlings both of which where perpetually disturbed by dog walkers letting their mutts run on the minuscule bit of beach left uncovered by the waves. We'll risk the wrath of everyone with a dog but suggest that on any designated site like a County Biological Heritage (Local) Sites, Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar Sites, SPAs, SACs etc etc and a dog is out of control chasing, or even encouraged  to chase, the wildlife or causing other disturbance it should be shot just like farmers can do with livestock! Constant disturbance can be a real life threatening problem for some species if it interferes with their ability to feed or provide for their young.
In the few quiet times a couple of the Sanderlings made time to have a proper bath, even though it was in saltwater.
Also on the beach was this Pied Wagtail (PYLC #81)  hopping around looking for Sandhoppers and Seaweed Flies disturb by the incomiing waves.
The wind was still strong on Saturday so we had a family day out along the coast to watch the waves and see what else was about. On the marine lake a lot of the Turnstones were roosting out of the wind on the small island but they were skittish moving around a fair bit.
A good sized flock of them wanted to feed on the roadside grass bank at the edge of lake and they were to-ing and fro-ing from the island when people passed by.
They should have been easier to get better pics given how often they were flying round our feet but our lens was playing up something rotten - it's got one last chance back at the repairers before it goes in the recycling and we have to fork out for a replacement.

Where to next? We've had a short safari out on a wild goose chase to tell you about

In the meantime let us know who's doing the duck breaking in your outback.

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