Not so wet in Wigan

The Safari is taking you back to Pennington Flash to show you what we found after the rain had stopped the other day and we were able to 'escape' the excitement of the feeding station.After eating our butties at the car we had a quick look through a couple of flocks of gulls, one on the field in front of us and the other behind us lurking round the edge of the flash. Almost all were Black Headed Gulls there being no sign of the Mediterranean Gulls that are seen in the roost later in the day. Out on the water there were a small number of Goldeneyes (PYLC # 82) a pair of which came fairly close in, much closer than they ever do at Marton Mere these days. We didn't stop long at the famous Horrocks Hide as there were very few birds to be seen and that icy blast coming through the windows was cruel - we soon moved on! The next hide was more...
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Wet in Wigan

The Safari shouldn't trust the weather forecasts so far in advance! We'd arranged to have a day out on safari with CR this week and at first it was looking like Monday was the best day then the forecast changed to Tuesday being better so we booked Monty in at the sitters and made the necessary pick up arrangements only to find that as the weekend drew to a close the forecast had changed again and Monday was back to being the better day. But now Tuesday it was for the further flung safari.Monday was chilly but bright and we headed out to Marton Mere for the morning.With nothing to stop for at the feeding station we went straight round to the  viewing point at the south west bay where our old cabin used to be. As soon as we raised the bins we spotted a small flock of Pintail (MMLNR #52). Great to see, even if a little distant across the ...
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A little bit of snow and a little bit of sunshine

The Safari has had family duties out of town two days this week so we've not been able to do as much safari-ing as we'd normally do. Snow fell hard in the morning at the start of the week and even stuck a little. We walk up the hill on Patch 1 adding Starling (P1 #22) to the Patch list and then Collared Doves (P1 #22) followed by a Sparrowhawk flying over the road on the way back (P1 #23), a productive few minutes! The chilly weather brought new garden visitors for the year in the form of a pair of Collared Doves (Garden #14, PYLC #73). A Wren was poking about in the tatty remnants of last year's flowers in the tubs too but wouldn't stay still enough for a pic.By the afternoon the snow had stopped and the light improved a little and we were able to get another pic of the pair of Collared Doves now feeling loved-up in the milder conditions.P...

A pleasant potter around Stanley Park

The Safari spotted some sunshine the other day and without further ado was picked up by CR for a photographic jaunt in Stanley Park. Well why wouldn't you after all the dull and wind and rain we've endured recently a bit of sunshine wasn't to be wasted.A check of the rail in the lake proved fruitless for Mediterranean Gulls but there were a couple of Black Headed Gulls sporting rings and one of those also had a Darvik ring - White 4FC - a Danish ringed bird reported about annually in the park during the winter since 2013, except 2016 - was it somewhere else or just not reported?A short walk to the other side of the lake saw us peering up at the old Great Spotted Woodpecker hole where a pair of Ring Necked Parakeets have taken up residence, one was high up in the tree top the other nowhere to be seen until it emerged from the depths of the h...

Twitching in the sunshine

The Safari joined the North Blackpool Pond Trail volunteers on Thursday morning to assist in a bit of pond clearance at one of the top ponds along the trail, so good for its aquatic life it's listed by the Freshwater Habitats Trust as one of their Flagship Ponds.It is having a bit of trouble with Willow bushes and Reedmace becoming dominant and excluding the open water species the pond was identified as being important for so several days of work parties have been arranged to knock back the vegetation succession to provide more open water so the scarcer species can thrive again. We did a little bit of branch dragging to keep the dead-hedge (built to protect one side of the pond from unnecessary access) team supplied and took a few pics. Unfortunately we had to leave before lunch so you're only seeing half the work that was done...we'll have...

Weather still affecting safari-ing

The Safari was undecided where to go on Monday morning with a bit of a wind still blowing but not quite as howling as of late. It was dry for a change too so off to dunes we went but dull so it as bins only, no camera today. It always makes us giggle at the rate Monty flies up the steep loose slope while we're lagging behind puffing and panting slipping our way to the top. He's on the beach before we're half way down the the side. Once on the beach we had a quick scan along the toe of the dunes and any strand lines just to check ho much food/seeds might be available for the Snow Buntings. Today the wind had blown fresh sand over everything at the bottom of the dunes so there'd be no seeds there, time to check the strandlines. Plenty of fresh washed down the rivers/off the marshes/dragged off the lower dunes by the storms vegetation so a goo...

A week of wild wet n windy safaris

The Safari has been busy 'enjoying' the wintry weather as storm after storm lashes our coast. We've had a day out with CR and then LCV came to stay for the best part of last week so we've been out every day far and wide in search of the commonplace and the exotic for our 2018 Year Bird Photo Challenge with varying degrees of success. We've had a sunny frosty day or two but mostly dull days with strong gales and heavy showers.A crisp day at Marton Mere gave us some good views across the mostly frozen mere TealBut the feeding station is in deep shade DunnockChaffinchFrom there we headed south on to the beach at Starr Gate to try to find the Snow Buntings, it didn't take long they were only a few yards away along the beach as we dropped off the dunes. Carefully walking past them out further down the beach we were able to watch them at a safe d...

The end of the first week

The Safari has been busy out and about this week enjoying the local wildlife when wind and rain have permitted. To be honest we expected to be doing much more writing now we're retired but we note we've only writted 20 blog posts since the end of September whereas we reckoned we'd be doing at least three a week.Mostly we've been trying to keep our Photo Year Bird Challenge YBPC) ticking over, it's going OK but we have some missions to accomplish as this year's pics are supposed to be better or different to last year's so we haven't added some species we could easily have got yet. We're up to 28 species but the front runner has already snapped a substantial lead on 84.A sunny but crisp wintry morning was spent in Stanley Park. Down at the boat house a plethora of pigeons wait for someone to arrive with bread or grain for the ducks and swans....

One out one new one in

The Safari joined our long time birding chums south of the river for a wintry day ornithologising at Martin Mere WWT reserve the other day. We started off at their new fully glazed hide to get a bit of warmth in our bones before we ventured out in to the wild wet weather.The problem with a fully glazed hide is that while it may be more comfortable it does make you a bit queasy when looking through the bins at an angle through the glass and isn't that good for pics either, although we could have been anti-social and gone and sat in the end wing with normal opening viewing slats but this was a holiday get-together with the gang not a full blown twitching expedition.There was the usual fine selection of winter wildfowl in good numbers...except for Pochards which are hugely down on recent years...such a shame as they are a splendid looking bird...

A bit of distant festive whiteness

The Safari has had a family and friend filled festive holiday and hopes you have too. On Boxing Day we had a wander up the prom with Wifey and Monty. It wasn't a bad day with little wind and some sunshine so everyone and his or her uncle was out walking off their excesses from the previous day. We didn't see a great lot of wildlife to to be honest we weren't looking too hard. Away on the top of Bowland's highest peak point, Ward's Stone, the afternoon sun was lighting up a little cap of snow, now if it fell on the fell before midnight that would make it a white Christmas in Lancashire.The following day we were visiting friends just over the Cumbria birder where a walk to the pub gave us lovely views of the Lake District fells showing their good covering of snow on the higher ground. In the snow; L>R Bow Fell, Pike o' Stickle, Gimmer Crag...