The Safari could have gone to twitch the 'Herring/Glaucous Gull hybrid thing' (aka Viking Gull) this morning had we looked at the Fylde Bird Club's website late last night or early this morning but we didn't but opted for a full morning at the nature reserve with thoughts of all manner of spring migrants.
All was remarkably quite again with just the regular Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers proving spring, or at least a bit of it has actually arrived. A Grasshopper Warbler fired up just as we were passing but it was reeling from deep in cover and so well out of view.
Along the track we could see a gaggle of birders hanging around in a likely looking spot so we made our way to join them and eventually heard the rattle of the Lesser Whitethroat (165,85). It was some time before it showed itself giving fleeting titillating glimpses deep in the bushes and half a glance as it flew from one bush to the next. It did briefly sit out on the sunny side of a Hawthorn bush but within a second or so darted back in.
Another birder came round and told us he'd had a white Wagtail and a few Wheatears in the recently ploughed field. Before going down that way we decided to have a shuffy from the adjacent hide and see if we could see the Cetti's Warbler - We did and saw it well, but it didn't show well enough for long enough for a pic - ear-splittingly loud when it sings close by tho! A distant Buzzard soared around briefly and a bit of cloud cover brought in three Sand Martins that shot through southwards - going home - had enough?
A small number of Swallows jinked northwards throughout the morning but no House Martins were seen.
Moving round to the SE corner we soon found the Wheatears and White Wagtail, not the world's best pics of either! You can just about make out the clean white flanks showing it is a White and not a Pied Wagtail. 5 Wheatears were counted in the end, not a bad total for the site.
Whilst watching the wagtail a Reed Warbler was singing behind us, one of three we heard this morning.
We stopped at the duck feeding area and once again there was little interest in the five loaves that were scattered over the floor. We were able to get a couple of nice close up pics of this female Mallard, prefer the one with the water apart from that stone right above her bill.
The pair of Tufted Ducks were a little closer today too but once again the female was camera-shy! Good hair from him though - remind you of anyone?
Just one Black Headed Gull came in to investigate the copious amounts of flour-based chum - we're not so happy with the results today - too much sun has blown the whites - or we don't know how to control the white balance on the camera.
Seems to have lost its head...careless...
Seems to have lost its head...careless...
A couple of hundred yards further o is a wildflower area we started nearly 20 years ago with a couple of donated bags of Snake's Head Fritillaries and a handful of rescued Cowslips - it's looking good now and judging by the big patches of Meadow Cranesbill and Agrimony is going to be a colourful show most of the summer.
Another double loud Cetti's Warbler was heard here.
Frank was getting tired by now, we'd been out over three hours, so we headed straight back to the Solihull Special not stopping at the Feeding Station on the way. Along the path past the the hide the warm sun had brought out a few butterflies including this nectaring Peacock. Dandelions are such a good resource for the spring insects its a shame that so many get mown off in the name of 'tidiness'. (Tidiness' is also mentioned on Pg 264 of this month's British Wildlife magazine)
Little stunners!!! If they weren't so familiar they be really exotic!
Also seen were our first dancing Speckled Woods of the year - also mentioned in British Wildlife is the stalled northward expansion of Marbled White - come on guys get a shimmy on!!!
British Wildlife also has snippets covering Nature Deficit Disorder - one of our hobby-horses...bring back the nature table in schools and back it up with a proper syllabus on the curriculum from Reception to GCSE! And Juniper restoration in Scotland, maybe if the heather moors weren't burnt so often for the benefit of a few toffs Juniper in England too might stand a better chance of coming back from the brink...might alsso help with flood attenuation, carbon sequestration as well as much improved biodiversity...can't have that when there's Red Grouse to be shot by the thousand can we?
Where to next? A newting we will go, a newting we will go, hey-ho the merry-o a newting we will go.
In the meantime let us know what's fluttering around in your outback.