Plagued by good weather?

The Safari has had little time for keeping you all up to date with our goings-on of late, what with good weather meaning we've been out n about a lot and some serious family stuff to contend with there's not been much time for putting finger to keyboard.So here's a very swift catch up of what's been aboutSwift (155, PYLC #124) - rubbishy pic taken at Lunt Meadows which we hope to improve on but they do seem to be horrendously scarce round these parts this year.Sedge Warbler (PYLC #125) Lunt Meadows againGrey Partridge (156) a pair seen as we drove out of Lunt Meadows and unable to get a pic, the Little Owls in the nearby barn weren't one show - AGAIN!!!A stunning full sum plum Black Necked Grebe 157, PYLC #126) rocked up on a local park lake and was thoroughly enjoyed by hordes of birders showing down to point black range while the resident...

Bird bingo

The Safari joined PT to lead the North Blackpool Pond Trail's Bird Bingo family event last Saturday morning. The birds were on fine form, showing well, it's just a shame the families didn't make such a good showing too. Maybe people are doing other stuff on Saturday mornings and Sunday might be a better day for more people to be able to come along.The birding is quite easy at Kincraig Lake as the birds are more than willing to come close and grab a beakful of whatever is on offer so you can get some nice portrait shots of old favourites like this male Mute Swan.The sun shone bringing out the finery of the drake Mallards.Also present was a very tame Heron which has become accustomed to eating bread - Can't be good for it!Note its iris, it seems to be deformed and not circular like its other one, an old injury perhaps or was it born like that...
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Hope that wasn’t summer

The Safari had a couple of early morning wanders around Marton Mere last weekend, arriving at just before 07.00 hours. It was lively both mornings but better on Saturday. Grasshopper Warblers (147) reeled, Cetti's Warblers exploded, Blackcaps warbled, Lesser Whitethroats rattled and fresh in that day Whitethroats (148) scratched. The place was alive with bird song in the almost warm sunshine.Willow Warbler (PYLC #117)We took the outside path and sauntered slowly down to The Nook returning via Mere View where we found three Tree Sparrows (PYLC #121) mostly secreted in the dense Blackthorn thicket. We didn't get a pic but went back the following morning to get this one.It was a bit harrowing (pun intended!) to see the farmer rolling the pasture, OK they'll say they have to do it to get better grass growth but if there were any Lapwing nests o...

Spring springs on at last

The Safari had a day out in north Lancashire with CR last week. We started out at Sizergh Castle where we (as is becoming the norm) dipped the Hawfinches. It didn't help that the place was busy and a couple of gimmers parked next to where C'd dropped the seed bait and faffed around getting their kit out of the back of the car for at least 20 minutes. Very dull cloudy conditions leading to rain didn't help the photography either. A Nuthatch flew in grabbed a sunny seed and bombed straight back in to cover.But a Chaffinch hung around not flitting far when the faffers were moving around. Look at its legs and feet, the poor little b*gger has Papilloma virus. The rain sent us to Leighton Moss where there is shelter from the rain. However the rain had eased a bit and that gave us the opportunity to have a look at the Black Headed Wagtail (144, PY...

Scales and fluffy stuff

The Safari took advantage of some early morning sun in the weather forecast and planned a trip down the coast to the local lizard hotspot. CR drove the few miles south and pulled up in what he thought was a rather unusual spot, it was the right place and it is possible with a bit of luck to spot our quarry from the driving seat of your motor.It wasn't to be today as we had to walk up and down the bank a few times, taking care not to let our shadows fall on the vegetation. It took a while but eventually persistence paid off. Hiding under an extensive amount of overhanging Marram Grass was the first Common Lizard of the morning. Cautiously we approached as close as we dared to get a good luck at the little beauty.They like bare patches of sand that are lightly covered by vegetation. For some reason they don't seem to like to bask out in the o...

Spring is hardly springing along

The Safari had a very pleasant surprise on Sunday. After a wet and miserable Saturday when we planned to go to have a look at a new car but decided not too because of the weather we had a browse on-line and found a similar one much closer to Base Camp, the original one wasn't viewable on Sunday so we nipped out for a look at the nearer one in dry bight warm and sunny conditions - a proper spring day. Long gone are our days of the fuel thirsty but fun and capable Land Rovers now we're looking at hybrid hatchbacks, they're not the same but needs must!!!Anyway the salesman was showing us what was on offer on his forecourt when we heard a commotion of gulls above our heads - we had to ask him to hold his patter for a few minutes while we picked out a passing Osprey (138) the gulls had alerted us too. It was low overhead as it circled slowly nor...

The simplest things give the most pleasure

The Safari was walking Monty along the top of Chat Alley the other morning expecting to see a  Wheatear or Meadow Pipit or two and secretly hoping for something a little more exotic like a Stonechat or a, heaven forbid, Black Redstart or even a grounded Ring Ouzel. No such luck with the exotica but we did hear a couple of Meadow Pipits overhead. It was a no bins no camera dog walk and as can only happen when you're optic-less up pops a stonking male Wheatear on to the fence only a few yards in front of us...absolutely awesome; it stayed put giving ever closer views as we carefully inched forward towards it. The sort of sighting permanent memories are made of, but sadly not digital images - if we'd have had the big lens we'd have had to wind the zoom right in and still step back a few yards to get it all in the frame we were that close!...

Dip tick undip

The Safari has failed to see many fresh-in migrants so far this week. We've been looking at our toes when an Osprey flew unnoticed over our heads and not connected with any of the several others that have passed through close by so far, we've not heard any Chiffchaffs singing from the 'Golden Triangle' of scrub on Monty's early morning walk and there haven't been many Wheatears along Chat Alley.Then the other morning we did have a couple of Wheatears grounded well out on the beach with a Meadow Pipit with them and almost another two dozen overhead.Yesterday we were able to get out a little further and decided to have a look for the two Cattle Egrets about 10 miles down the road. We stopped at the place shown on the maps provided by the bird club and even saw some some cows but couldn't find the egrets, we now think we were looking in the wr...
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A Welsh week on Anglesey

The Safari had a busy week with family duties but did have the chance to stop off at Marshside RSPB to have a half hour look to see if there was anything about. There were plenty of Wigeon and Black Tailed Godwits but on the whole there wasn't too much about. The water levels with all the rain and melting snow were a bit on the high side. The other side of the reserve gave us a walk down to Nels Hide from where the Scaup were nowhere to be seen. Several flights Pink Footed Geese left the freshwater marsh flying low over our head over to the salt water marsh as we walked down to the hide. We were asked if we'd seen the Avocets, which we hadn't but as we were being told there were a few about two flew past the window (123, PYLC #101) They joined a small group of others doing their best to shelter from the ferociously cold wind behind a l...

A bit of luck brings success

The Safari had a Mothers' Day wander along the prom at Rossall with Wifey and Monty. The tide was well out but the distant sea as flat calm, perfect for spotting any Harbour Porpoises or Grey Seals that might have been out there. We saw neither but did see a large raft of Eider ducks but too far away to count effectively or see if there was anything else with them.We did bump in to the local flock of Linnets (PYLC #97) at the far end of our walkand a few steps in to our return walk looking the other way across the beach watched a Grey Plover fly in and land not too far away. Monty had fun, always on the lookout for other doggies to play with.A Stonechat was unusual in that it was hopping about on the dog walking field rather than sitting on a fence post between the thin strip of dunes and the golf course. Monday first thing out with Monty g...