Source Dave McGrath Wildlife Safaris (

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 our lens, shame we didn't have the 600mm with us that day. Eider became the 96th species photographed on our Year Bird Challenge so the initial target of 100 shouldn't be too much trouble and not too far off but how many over the ton do you think we'll manage - we've a new target in mind, some of the other challengers are already very close to that number!
Earlier in the week we had a look through a new improved up-graded scope. We were able to compare it with our old stalwart and the wee one we won in the competition a few months ago. The little one retails at almost only 1/10 the price of the one we were thinking of getting but on a cloudy evening it held its own way past the point we expected it too and it was almost dark by the time it 'failed', out birding you'd have probably packed up by then unless you were deliberately staying out for a crepuscular or nocturnal species.

So did we or didn't - well actually we didn't but we do have a bit of a plan for a slightly different upgrade ay some stage in the future.
Closer in the future we had a sunny lunchtime trip up towards town on the trail of an individual gull, an old friend of ours. Armed with a few slices of slightly mouldy bread we pulled a few bits off scattered them around and waited for the fun to begin and our friend to arrive. Within seconds we had a horde of expectant Herring Gulls surrounding us. More gulls came in but our friend wasn't with them. The only non- Herring Gull to come for a slice of white was this rather bolshy Lesser Black Backed Gull, it didn't like any  other birds near it grabbing them and giving them some serious feather pulling pecks if any came too close.
Spring is still trying to sprung with both Tree Bees and Buff Tailed Bumble Bees being seen this morning.
Where to next? This weekend it seems winter is coming back with a vengeance but we've got to go to the nature reserve for a meeting so we have to have at least a quick look round while we're there, be rude not too!
In the meantime let us know who didn't turn up to the party in your outback.