Thursday, 20 January 2011

Thwarted in no uncertain terms

The Safari woke up this morning to a thick blanket of freezing fog. The thermometer was showing a return to the pre Christmas chill at - 5ºC – marvellous!!!
The pavements were like a skating rink, even Frank’s four hairy paws were sliding about beneath him. We slithered around Patch 1 as quickly as we could, a few Robins twittered but not as many as on recent safaris. A count of the roosting Magpies came to 41.
The full moon was shiny brightly through the fog in the dark depths of the park casting an eerie light and weird shadows around the place, rather beautiful and serene.
Returning past Magpie Wood the fog had lifted and we could see that the Peregrine hadn’t moved since we saw it up there while we were playing footy yesterday tea-time. Within a few minutes the fog had come down thick again and we could no longer see the tower never mind the Peregrine sat near the top of it.
No chance of any Little Gulls, or anything else for that matter, being seen at Patch 2 because from the office window we couldn’t see Patch 2! Our count of either six or 12 Little Gulls yesterday was easily beaten by JP who had over 30. Bizarrely ace sea-watcher BM over on the South-side at the same time didn’t see any at all so they must have been very local to us this side of the river! JP also had two Harbour Porpoises later in the afternoon a little further up the coast past the town centre. Botanists/ecologists have you got your copy of his very excellent field guide yet?
Reports also came in of Waxwings being about in several places in town over the last couple of here’s hoping...
Even by lunchtime there was no sign that the fog was going to lift but we were still determined to get out and have a look to see if anything could be seen. Visibility was less than 100 yards perhaps less than 50 at times.

We had a chat to a fisherman who was packing up as the tide was now dropping he’d had nothing but lost a Dab and told us that the dead fish we’d spotted on the beach yesterday were Flounders. He also mentioned that one of his friends saw a seal yesterday (The Safari’s note - probably a Grey Seal). After talking to him we decided to take a pic looking down the slade towards the beach to show you just how bad conditions were for sea watching, couldn’t even see the sea! The bottom of this slade is where we found and filmed the Sea Mouse yesterday.

Looking at the fisherman’s mess he or that which his colleagues had left behind we noticed a small clump of seaweed that had got caught on the line and been reeled in, it was a piece of Sea Oak, a grand name for a rather small slender seaweed.

On closer inspection we saw that towards the end of the frond there was another seaweed growing epiphytically on it...absolutely no idea what this one might be but we don’t think it is Polysiphonia lanosa which tends to be found on Knotted Wrack...any seaweed experts out there in Blogland???

A wander along the wall to see if anything was visible resulted in us coming across a roost of Redshank, 10 went past us, then going down the first set of steps we saw another nine roosting in the gloom whilst photographing them we had another 11 go past out of the cloud one of which was one of the nine, 29 altogether if our maths is right.

With visibility getting no better we called it a day...with our back leaning on the wall we took a pic of our offices behind the Mirror Ball, you can just about see the building.

Where to next? Won’t matter if the fog doesn’t lift - wont be able to see anything no matter where we safari to.
In the meantime let us know how thick the fog is in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Bah! fog! I hate fog the most out of all the elements the weather throws at us.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Can't agree more Warren - fog sure is sh*te!!!

Monika said...

Definitely hard to pick any more year birds out of that soup - I hope it clears up (and warms up!) for you soon. I think you've still got a good shot at 100 before the end of the month, but only if you can see what's out there!

Neil Spiers said...

Wow that Sea Mouse is impressive. I must get down to the beach more often... I mean come on I live in Blackpool!!!!

Highlight for me... a flock of around 60 Linnets roosting in works car park in Preston. But because of the fog not much else to see :-(

Stuart Price said...

That mirror ball is the tackiest thing in NW England....................yet strangely endearing too........