A bit of warmth is great isn’t it

The Safari has enjoyed another sunshine filled day today, well we would have done even more if we'd been able to get out and about a little more. We didn't get a look at the flat calm sea early doors but did have a little run out at lunchtime to the waste depot. Driving round the corner we saw there were a lot of gulls on the roof today but up at the top and out of sight from the only car parking spot.Most were Lesser Black Backed Gulls as is expected at this time of year, most of the Herring Gulls and Black Headed Gulls that frequented the piles of rubbish only a couple or three weeks ago are now in their breeding colonies/areas, whereas the Lesser Black Backed Gulls are still moving through.The gulls didn't move around much at all, we could have done with a Buzzard flying over to mix them up a bit and prove to us the Iceland Gull was defi...

It was there but…

The Safari was able to get out to the big park before family duties kicked in on Sunday. It only took us a couple of minutes to find the Chough. We'd expected to see a large crowd giving us a clue as to where it was but there was no-one with bins and scopes to be seen. However, as it happened it was only a few feet from where it had been seen the previous day.With the dreadful conditions and long range our pics weren't up to much and this dire effort is the best of a very bad bunch. Still a Chough (115) is a very welcome addition to our Year Bird Challenge, indeed it was our 100th species photographed giving us a 'hit rate' of 87%.Monday's weather was much better but sadly we were stuck in the office driving the desk and unable to take advantage of the sunshine.During the week we had the opportunity of a quick scamper down on to the beach t...
Continue Reading » It was there but…...

A cracker and a bad dip on a very wet day

The Safari was able to get to the nature reserve fairly early this morning. We walked in past a quiet and very wet wetland seeing very little on the way to our first stop at the Feeding Station. There was a bit of activity with several Chaffinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits coming and going. A bright male Pheasant displayed furiously to a non-plussed Woodpigeon while a pair of Dunnocks skulked around in the Brambles waiting for a lull in the fighting on the feeders to do a lightning smash and grab raid on the seeds.A tidy male Reed Bunting (MMLNR #48) appeared briefly and Rabbit refused to come out in to the open for a pic. Just outside the hide there was a pile of droppings on a stump which looked rather Stoaty; a species we've not seen for far too long.As ever we were time constrained and had to move on after a few minutes. Before we reach...

Spring is still trying to sprung

The Safari hasn't had many opportunities to get out an about this week. On the odd occasion we have we've been out we've been on the look out for a Wheatear or two. No such luck. We have seen a flock of about a dozen Siskins (114, P2 #31) fly over the work's garden. We thought they looked like they might drop on to the feeders and join the local House Sparrows but there were too many people around so they circled round and left towards the coast.A quick look over the wall the other lunchtime had us watching a drake Eider drifting past on the dropping not too far out, legging it back for the camera we hoped it would be still there when we got back. It was but quite away further down the prom, took some catching up that tide runs a lot quicker than you think. By the time we did catch it up it was a little further out, right on the limit of ou...

Migrants, drugs, sun and rain

The Safari hasn't been able to get out much this week, work has got seriously in the way. There are signs of spring springing up all over the place now, including the works garden where we found this little snail seeking shelter from some dawn frost under a Daffodil petal.Yesterday we had family business on the South-side and it took us to within a mile of the regular Cattle Egrets (113, YBC #93) you know the ones that are so regular that they weren't there last time we stopped at the site. Most people have seen them just over the hedge in the horse field. Today they were miles away across the fields...just typical of our luck lately. This is by far the best of c100 pics, but at least this local scarcity is on the list and the Year Bird Photo Challenge too.Today we had a quick walk with Monty passing this very early opening Red Valerian on ...

A bit of warmth in the sun at last

The Safari arranged to meet up with CR for an early morning jaunt in the big park.We arrived a few minutes after 08.00 and walked straight to the lake as CR was after getting some pics of the Great Crested Grebes doing their weed dance. However we couldn't see any grebes at all.The sun was peeking over the trees on the other side of the lake and lit up the woods we were looking into. Before we set of we had a bit of a list of target species to add to our Photo Year Bird Challenge. It wasn't long before we came across a photo-opportunity of one we should have had on our list already. This morning we'd already heard several but not seen them tucked up in dense patches of vegetation. This one kept moving from song perch to song perch keeping a wary eye on us all the while. This must be one of the few Wren (YBC #89) pics in which its tail is st...

Our year bird photo tally creeps ever upwards

The Safari nearly had our eyeballs blown out of their sockets on Thursday lunchtime as the much vaunted Storm Doris blew through with a vengeance. There was no chance of keeping the scope still to see if there was anything out on the sea. It was well past high tide but the fierce wind had kept the ebbing tide tight against the sea wall. It was a good job it was a very low high tide, had it been a 10m+ one then things along the prom would have got just a tad wet!A quick look on Friday gave us reduced numbers of Common Scoters and a nice male Eider (106, P2 #24) heading north in the middle distance, far too far for a pic. Saturday was a family day and the only thing of note we saw was a flock of Canada Geese (Garden #17) over Base Camp and a few Buzzards on posts along the motorway.At last Sunday came round and late morning we were able ...

And so on to that frustrating fog

The Safari met up with the Community Arts team again on Saturday to do a bit of a history talk followed by a wander round the park to see what we could see. They had all sorts of activities planned too, one of which was 'seed bombing' and we were to look out for a suitable area for their wetland mix of seeds during our walk.Filling a seed bomb - more like a seed scatterer actuallyAs with Thursday's event we were on the look out for interestingly shaped and/or patterned trees. We found a large Small Leaved Lime tree we didn't know was in there, it was a giant but the trunk forked too low down to be able to do the measuring the age with a tape measure trick. Hawthorns often have good bark and trunk shapes, these two are right by the children's play area.Did you spot the litter between the trees? fortunately some of the group were armed with b...

A busy week followed by frustrating fog

The Safari had a few opportunities to look at the sea this week but there wasn't much doing. On Thursday we joined up with a local Community Arts group to see what natural materials and things wild we could find for their project. We started off at the chapel at the entrance to the old cemetery  We measured some trees, finding out their age with a tape measure and a clever piece of card and a friend to discover their height. One some of the trees have had a garnish of bat boxes placed around them.Anywhere where there's old(ish) trees we look for faces in them. This one's probably no the best we'll ever find. Beneath the trees we found a few fresh fungi coming up through the grass.We found a Holly tree which had been attacked, like almost all Holly trees, by the Holly Leaf Miner fly. This one has hatched rather than the larva within the...

Still a bit dull, damp and dreary

The Safari hasn't seen much on Patch 2 during the week, the garden feeders remain totally untouched despite there being flocks of about 50 Greenfinches and 25 Goldfinches roosting nearby. Even the Peregrine on the tower has become a little unpredictable.A visit to the nature reserve for a look round before a meeting saw Monty there for the first time, which curtailed our birding a little. The best bird we came across was the Barn Owl (94, MMLNR #39) on its usual window ledge at dusk. The only pic we took to add to our species tally for our Year Bird Challenge was this grotty attempt at a few Wigeon (YBC # 70) in the gloom.On Saturday Wifey had family duties so we were able to take Monty on a more serious birding safari. We decided to take him north over the river with a few target species to aim for. We parked up and walked along the little...