Some you lose and then you win big time

The Safari had a good start to the week with some decent weather and a flat calm sea giving us an early morning Harbour Porpoise and a couple of Grey Seals. The tide was out and what we wanted to photograph was well out of range. Back in the office we had an email from SD telling us he'd had at least one Bottlenose Dolphin too. The following day we were out with the camera again to try to photograph our target species for the Year Bird Challenge but a scan of the sea didn't reveal any at all but there was a flock of lively gulls away to our north. A good look at those was called for in case any of our quarry were with them although they were too far away to even think about aiming the camera in that direction.There was a reason for the commotion - a big splash and a dark shape burst through the water's surface. Still too far awa...

The trouble with barn owls

The Safari was out early on the hunt for a scarcish bird to hopefully add to our Year Bird Challenge. We were at the site with the scope set up only a few minutes after 07.00. All was peaceful, the sun was already warm on our back and almost all of the sounds were the sounds of nature. It was good to be out almost like being in a scene that might have been painted by John Constable.We had a good scan for our intended quarry but to no avail. There were plenty of other waders and waterfowl but not the one we wanted...yet.LapwingOystercatcherRedshank Overhead Skylarks serenaded us and from the hedge behind us a Whitethroat sang incessantly but the most obvious sound was the calls from the group of about four dozen Black Tailed Godwits feeding and resting in the pool right in front of us. Further down the lane there was a Gypsy lad with a ...

Some you know some you don’t – always something new to learn

The Safari has had a busy week. We've been entertaining the Brownies on the beach and doing a bit of exploring around and about for ourselves too.We always find it amazing that the beach can change so much in such a short space of time. On Tuesday evening the Brownies found loads of shellsbut only one live Green Shore Crab - and that came out of the sand close to where they were standing probably in response to their pattering feet. It wasn't for want of trying either as we had well over a dozen nets being wielded in the rockpools and runnels. They did pull out a huge number of Brown Shrimps including many large ones and a solitary Common Prawn. We found them half a Compass Jellyfish floating in a pool, much more likely battered on the rocks by the previous day's storm than bitten by a hungry Leatherback Turtle. While gently caressing ...

Wet in the rain and the hope for a boar

The Safari wasn't able to do the dolphin watch we'd hoped to do for World Environment Day due to bad (= atrocious) weather, nor was there any chance to move it World Oceans Day a few days later due to solemn family duties. The following day we had a bit of a chill out day with Wifey to clear our heads and have a bit of a walk out with Monty somewhere he's not been before.We had a walk along the river listening to mostly Blackcaps, Robins and Song Thrushes. We had to listen as we didn't see any birds at all in the dense woodland. There was a bird we did want to see and photograph, a Dipper or two, but arriving on site mid-afternoon the amount of doggy disturbance so far, which we added to to be honest, probably put paid to any chance of seeing them. Almost at the end of the woodland section of the circular walk we eventually came a acro...

On the trail of the lonesome bee orchid

The Safari was out yesterday morning joining a guided wildflower walk just a few hundred yards from Base Camp. The sun shone and the small group wandered around the Community Orchard to begin with before moving further afield. After ticking off the obvious species like Nettles, Cow Parsley, Cleavers and Cock'sfoot grass in the orchard we spent time looking at Red Clover, Ox-eye Daisies, Lesser Trefoil and Crested Dog's Tail grass out in the open. On the hard clay of the open plateau is where the Bee Orchids can be found. Indeed we knew there were at least half a dozen or so lurking on the edge of the denser vegetation as we;'d found them earlier in the spring. But today try as we might we couldn't relocate them and it should have been easier as they ought to be in flower by now. Eventually we did find one and it took some serious tracking d...

It’s June so it’s #30DaysWild again

The Safari has been struggling to get out as much as we'd like due to work and family stuff but when we have got out we have had some great sightings.A brief look at the sea on Patch 2 the other lunchtime had us watching a flock of about 40 Gannets diving for fish. They were very distant though and the terns with them were little more than a couple of shiny white pixels in the telescope. Chasing them with ultra agility was a slightly larger dark speck, an Arctic Skua (161, P2 #51). Much closer in and away to the south was a bottling Grey Seal.Last weekend we had a visit to the nature reserve to try to add some more species to our Year Bird Photo Challenge. We had in mind Blackcap and Reed Warbler with the hope for Swift if conditions were right. Standing nearr the end of the causeway at the wetland we had stereo Reed Warblers but in the dam...

Sitting at the dock of the bay

The Safari was able to get an hour down at the old dock where mooring pontoons have been commandeered by a colony of nesting terns. Actually there wasn't anywhere to sit so we were standing against the railings.The terns are sat on their nests right below your feet!and offer crippling views  as they come and gosometimes bringing food for egg incubating matesRight by the huge Mute Swan's nest was this Arctic Tern sitting tight. The swan's nest is constructed between heaps of driftwood.The Common Tern's nest in the first pic got trodden on by the male Mute Swan as he clambered aboard the pontoon to join his mate. Somehow he only managed to kick a bit of cardboard over the eggs and managed not to crush them. Not the best place to build your nest - bit like pitching a flimsy tent in the inside lane of the M6 and hoping the trucks won't squ...

To Botallack and back

The Safari has been away for a few days down to the far south west, just about as far south west as you can get. Since we've been back we've been on family duties with another terminal illness which ended with the inevitable conclusion yesterday. No matter how prepared you are it's still a shock to the system. Processing the holiday snaps and blogging has necessarily taken a bit of back seat. We went down to the Cornish tin mining village of Botallack in the heart of Poldark filming country, although he wasn't there at the time showing off his poor scything technique and 'his' mine is nowhere near there being half way between Helston and Falmouth. Cornish tin has been sought after since the Bronze Age over 4000 years ago and has its value led to the trade and immigration of people from all over Europe well into the Iron Age.Most of wha...

Frustrating ticks

The Safari has been out and about to all sort of weird and wonderful places this last week. The week started well with friend LGB phoning to say a couple of Little Terns were on their way to wards us past his watchpoint down the prom. Great stuff and a big thank you as they aren't a species we can guarantee to see on Patch 2. The eventually came past but were a little distant to 'enjoy' properly still they made it on to the list, Little Tern (147, P2 #48). More enjoyable was the lone Black Tern (14, P2 #49) milling around going back and forth with 11 Arctic Terns followed by a couple of Common Terns (149, P2 #50). So at last we got to see one of the throng of Black Terns that passed through the country last week, what a relief! No chance of getting any of those on the Year Bird Challenge though, the easy two we'll pick up later in the seaso...
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Somehow we missed all the Black Terns

The Safari could practically smell the Black Terns the other day. We had family matters to attend to on the South-side so wasn't able to get out early. News came in from far and wide of prodigious numbers of the wafty little waifs including not more than a mile from our destination. What better than to pop in to one of the sites before our visit to give Monty a run and fire off a few shots. But when we arrived the water was devoid of life bar a handful of gulls. We had a good walk round and still came across nothing of note apart from hundreds of people enjoying a lovely spring Sunday afternoon in the fresh air. We had to leave to go visiting and once home discovered that had we stayed another 30 seconds or so we'd have been in luck. Not only that one of our Twitter chums  @arborist2222 was watching several all the while we were there ...