Saturday 14th April
There has been a little inertia on the patch of late. Things seem to be moving slowly, held up no doubt by the poor weather of late (only got my first 5 Sand Martins of the year yesterday). So, when a very good friend of mine decided to go out on the town with the girls I decided I'd get an earlyish night and hit the patch crack of dawn. Well, I musta dropped off about 1am...
5:00am - phone alarm goes off and I'm thinking 'Are you really gonna do this on 4 hours kip?' Hit the snooze button.
5:05am - alarm goes of again. 'Of COURSE I'm gonna do this!' Drag my bleary ass outta bed and sling on some clothes.
5:10am - Weetabix and coffee.
5:15am - I'm off :)
5:35am - I'm at the patch and checking the Big Hand Ranch for Little Owl (nothing), Lapwing Lane for Tawny Owl (nothing) and Upper Moss Side en route to the balck and yellow gate for Barn Owl (nothing).
5:45am - walking past the first pier (see Roozull) and there's a fox in the undergrowth to my right. It slopes off into the woods. Dawn chorus has started up; Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff... The chiffys haven't really started up yet judging by the numbers... 2 today, 5 yesterday afternoon, bit early for them maybe, but there are about 5 Blackcap and maybe 6-7 Willow Warblers singing this morning along the track to Halfway House, so looks like the next wave have arrived. Check the Factory Horse Paddocks on the way for Wheatear (nothing) and on the MSC there's little up and about apart from the resident Mallards and Tufties and a family of 5 Mute Swan strung out in a loose line; the 3 youngsters snorting intermittently to each other.
5:56am - Set up fezzie chair at Halfway House. High tide's not for an hour or so and it's a low one (1.2m). I'm quite excited.
5:57am - 1 Canada Goose, 4 Black-headed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Shelduck. I'm not so excited. Now come on! I have dragged my sleepy ass outta bed at stupid o'clock so there's gotta be something about! Spirits rise as the sun starts to peek through the bushes of The Prom over my right shoulder.
6:04am - decided to scope down river. 7 Shelduck, 4 Black-headed Gull, 4 Mallard over. There's a Reed Bunting singing and Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Wren, Blue Tit and Song Thrush... but visual sausage is in short supply...again.
6:08am - 2 Canada Goose over, 2 Mallard over, 1 Cormorant over. This is pretty dire. Stick with it Mark!!!
6:27am - 12 Shelduck (west), 7 Shelduck (east), 7 Carrion Crow, 54 Black-headed Gull, 1 Cormorant. Just ain't gonna happen here today is it?
6:35am - Now those of you who have read Noodle Park... and I hope at least some of you have... will be aware that my eyesight has of late been called somewhat into question. So much so in fact that i actually DID get my eyes tested and they're perfectly fine. I just need slightly stronger reading glasses. SO... when I spotted the two Giant Potoo on the roof of the factory by the MCS, I was unsure what to think :o Well, I quickly flitted mentally between small flock of Stock Dove huddled together and said Potoo, but just couldn't decide. In the end there was nothing for it but to set up the scope to settle it once and for all. That, however, was a painful exercise today. Last week I f**ked my wrist at ice hockey and so any manipulation of my rather heavy Manfrotto tripod was to say the least uncomfortable... unclip one leg... OW! then the next OW!... thene the next OW!... then turn the knob to twist scope toward Potoo / Stock Dove...double OW!! But I got there in the end. Mystery solved. It was... da.. da da.. daaaa... A pipe. Not even a f**king bird! A goddam pipe. What was I saying about my eyes?? It got worse...
6:45am - decided to head through Daisy Field... if there were any early Grasshopper Warbler about, this is where they usually drop in. None today, but a good sprinkling of Willow Warbler in the rather flush plantation that now engulfs the field thanks to the work of The Forestry Commission. Come to think of it... doesn't look anywhere so good for Gropper anymore since the trees have taken over, so maybe they WON'T drop in here this year. Grrrrrrr. Anyway, on to check for Little Owl in the sunshine of the Balloon Hut Field.
Now I knew immediately that the giant Wallaby that sat menacingly at the end of the path glaring at me couldn't possibly BE a giant Wallaby. My brain knew this... but f**k if it would convince my eyes! It just sat there. How the hell was I gonna get past the thing? I mean clearly it was intent on ripping my throat out from the look on it's face. It had already killed a Wood Pigeon !!!
Ummm. Oh but t'were true. No, not only was it NOT a Wallaby, but t wasnt even a face! It was an arse!! A sheeps arse at that... in the field at the end of the little path... Don't even ask!!!
SO, no Little Owl, but a few Skylark singing and a pair of Grey Partridge in the WH Path Field were nice though. And that was it. My short early morning jaunt to the west end of the patch complete.
Nothing left to do but grab a Maccies breakfast and get on with the rest of the day :) SO, I'm on my way down the express way to ASDA and the McDonald's when I spot it. There's a big truck in front of me with a sign on the back that says FANNY FIRE-ART... it was only when I was practically on top of it that i realised it said Fahy Freight... Oh Dear. Maybe I need to go back to the opticians :| Watcha think?