Sandwiches on the beach

The Safari was hoping that the early morning low tides would permit a roost of Sandwich Terns providing there hadn't been too much doggy or fisherman disturbance before we got out. We took the bins and big lens to work and fortunately there was a roost well down on the beach and better still it was directly in front of us and there was no sign of any forthcoming disturbance. So that was it, the wellies went on and we set off down the steps onto the beach. To make sure we didn't disturb them and get in the best position for the pretty rubbish light - we were still on ISO Stupid - we headed off to their left well in front of them with the intention of walking back towards them slowly and stopping every few yards so that they got used to our movements. If we got a hint they were getting fidgety then we could walk back up the beach a bit away f...

Murphy’s Law hits hard

The Safari was eager to get out with CR this morning and had most of our gear ready last night butties were in the fridge, the camera's spare battery was charged, all we had to do first thing was make up a flask. And then about an hour before lift off Wifey calls out Monty's eye is bad and he needs the vet asap, who of course don't open until about 09.00 in other words 40 minutes after lift off. So we had to let CR know we'd be on a shortened day and our original plan to visit the big reserve to the north would have to change. We got Monty to the vets and were seen quickly. He'd been playing rough with a ball on a string yesterday and taken a serious whack to his eye which had gone orrible over night. Fortunately he's suffered no lasting damage but if he were a boxer he'd have a huge black eye. Once out of the vets we gave him a bit of...

Well that filled our wellies

The Safari had a well attended weekend of National Whale and Dolphin Watches and the Moth and Bat Night at the nature reserve drew a good crowd too. Sadly the weather wasn't good for dolphin spotting with the sea far too rough for observing cetaceans - but you have to try! It was pretty much a birdless desert out there too. Sunday proved to be the best day for birds with a Kestrel going south well out to sea and a little later a Great Skua was seen giving some terns a bit of trouble way out towards the windfarms before giving up on them and heading deep into the bay round the corner and out of sight. Maybe next year they'll pick a week when the weather is warm sunny and calm!The moth and bat night we helped out with was disappointing for bats, one flew past quite early on while it was still very light and that tempted us to take the group f...

Weekend wildlife wander

The Safari has had an enjoyable mooch about across several different sites this weekend. And thankfully the weather has been quiet kind and conducive to wildlife spotting. Recently we've been fretting about the loss of the Sneezewort at Monty's favourite walkies site. We were worried that all the tree planting that had been done on the site had shaded it out. Luckily it turns out it's still there and we'd been looking in totally the wrong place, those trees had changed our point of reference. Not only was it still there but there seemed to be more of it than we've seen in the past.Sneezewort - phone picWell that was a relief! It was also a bit of a relief when we were allowed to go out to the nature reserve for a couple of hours with CR and without Monty.We had three 'B's on our hit list. First was a Blackcap - yes we're still missing ...

All change down in the fields by the brook

The Safari had a family day out with brother P and niece M who were over from Italy on a short break back home. A few years ago they took us on a very pleasant walk around the Karst limestone area just east of their home in Trieste so it was time to return the favour...but where to go?We decided to take them to the new nature reserve that was fields of carrots, spuds, cabbages and cereals when P was a lad before he set off on his international wanderings. He is also one of the members of the Year Bird Challenge but hasn't added too many species yet despite visits to the Confluence of the Niles at Khartoum and Etosha National Park in Namibia. He gets to exotic locations but probably doesn't have much time to devote to sight-seeing or bird photography. With him not being in Britain so far this year we thought we give him a chance to add ...

Summertime bird lull

The Safari has been up to the nature field with Wifey and Monty in the evenings. By that time of the day most of the enormous numbers of butterflies have gone ot roost even Monty and his pals charging through the grass only manage to disturb small numbers of Small Skippers and Meadow Browns. The birds too are mostly inconspicuous except for the gulls flying over, the Woodpigeons flying about and the House Sparrows roosting noisily in the big Blackthorn thicket.There's ususally something to point the camera at though.And if you like beetles there must be trillions of these Red Soldier Beetles. Ass the evening draws on small numbers of Swifts congregate loosely overhead catching the last of the rising insects. They are usually too high for the 300mm though.Monty likes a game of rough n tumble with his doggy friends and if there's no-one about...
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Too busy to blog

The Safari has been out looking for wildlife every day this week with much of our time taken up in the evenings with Brownie and Beavers groups. They've been working in the pond and have successfully released a tiny Froglet in to the garden. Our work's pond is raised with high sides so there's no way it could have escaped in to big wide world on its own. There's at least one big tadpole still in there too.We've been so busy educating the kids in the wonders of wildlife that we've not stopped to take any pics. But then again there's only so many gruesome pics of dragonfly nymphs chomping down on poor unfortunate 3-Spined Sticklebacks you readers can take. We've had a couple of brief visits to Patch 1 with Monty to see if we could increase our tally of just a single White Letter Hairstreak. No joy with those as no more have been seen but...
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Missed the biggie of the year – no, not the Amur Falcon

The Safari was later in to work than normal due to the enforced office move even though we were working at our 'normal' place. That had a bit of a bad knock on effect. Back at Base Camp we missed a call telling us there were half a dozen Bottlenose Dolphins close inshore and by the time we'd got the message it was well after our usual leaving time so we got frustratingly stuck in the morning commuter run that previously we've avoided. We went straight to the watchpoint to meet LB and FB who put us on to the Bottlenose Dolphins right away letting us use their scopes as we'd brought no optics with us. Unfortunately they were now well to the south and a long way off. Then LB showed us a sketch he'd just made in his notebook - a Risso's Dolphin. Had we been on our normal routine we might just have caught it! We're not totally sure but it could ...

Better not to be on the wrong end of the food chain

The Safari has had another busy week entertaining groups of children at our work's pond. Before all the fun started we took Monty for a wander across the dunes with Wifey and came across these little gems, Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet moths. It was a warm sunny afternoon but other than these beauts was very disappointing for insects, it was almost as if the whole dune system had been sprayed with insecticide; in a couple of hours out we only saw a handful of bumble bees and not a single butterfly and hardly any other unidentified/unidentifiable little flying things - all very worrying.Monday saw the pond ransacked again, the poor inhabitants must be getting pretty fed up of being netted, hoiked out and dumped unceremoniously in a white tray! This year is a little odd as there's loads of 3-Spined Sticklebacks and a good number of Darter ...