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 sheltered and provided great views over a smaller flash which held a Heron, several Shovelers and Teal. A birder already in the hide showed us superb pics of a Roe Deer he'd seen swimming across the water between a couple of the small islands and then told us had e been there a few minutes earlier we'd have seen a Kingfisher but it hadn't stopped, just shot through. Most of the hides had very nicely positioned Kingfisher perches just outside the window...top reasons to go back - - soon!!!
The next hide had deeper water and just one island - the Isle of 'G' populated by a number of Goosanders and Gadwall...just don't tell the Teal they don't begin with G and shouldn't be there.
Moving on we passed the adjacent golf course and saw a flock of smallish birds feeding on the greens, a look through the bins revealed them to be about 30 or more Redwings (PYLC #83).Fieldfares that had been reported as being with them. A little further on a Kestrel swooped in and landed in a nearby tree nicely lit for us.
Time was running short now and as we headed back to the car the pair of Mistle Thrush we'd seen earlier were still on the lawn near the car park so it would have been rude not to have a quiet sneak up on them and get a few pics (PYLC #84).
The following day we nipped over the river for rather unseasonal Turtle Dove that had been found over the weekend although it now seems other residents in the little village had been seeing it for about a week before it turned up in top local birder PE's garden and the news was out. We arrived after news was that it had been seen that morning so we were hopeful. Two hours and a bit later it had gone to ground all morning and only been seen very briefly when we were at the other end of the village giving Monty a bit of a leg stretch and not seeing much on our travels. The best thing we saw was a decent sized flock of Linnets (for these days at least) and we failed to take the opportunity to add another species to our challenge tally...we shouldn't really struggle for a Linnet pic though. Strangely the small area of marsh and the beach were virtually birdless save for a Redshank and a few Shelducks, which was unusual for here.
Not a lot of other news as later in the week the weather deteriorated again, best was a Great Black Backed Gull (P1 #25) cruising the airspace above and around but not directly over, Base camp.
Where to next? A busy week ahead, back to dip the Turtle Dove again - we hope not!, a kid's birding group and another further flung safari with political cartoonist GB possibly back to Pennington Flash...
In the meantime let us know who were the stars when the rain stopped in your outback.