Sorry, this is one of those posts that runs contrary to the nature of time. After telling you about the visit to Gibraltar Point I still had plenty to tell, and was going to post a second installment on Wednesday. However, as you know, I had a lucky escape yesterday, (or a frustrating waste of time, depending on point of view), and wrote about Carsington Water.
I could have written about my view of the National Health Service, but why bother. They waste enough of my time without me going over it all again.
So, going back in time two days, imagine yourself standing on a windswept saltmarsh, with just a visitor centre, a car park and some bits of whalebone for company.
There’s no explanation with the whale bones, they are lined up and left on the grass. I’m assuming that it hasn’t been done by the person responsible for grass cutting. These could be from the 1985 whale, they certainly look old enough and the size seems right. However, there are a lot of dead whales knocking about on that part of the coast when you start looking at the links. Mass strandings and art installations are all part of the story, and according to this report a sunfish and blue shark were also washed ashore in 1998.
The first birds we saw, whilst walking back to the car, appeared in a big noisy flock, flying between trees. They were against the light and just looked like tubby brown birds. We didn’t have the telescope with us (no more will be said on that subject, as Julia is of the opinion that I mentioned it enough on Tuesday) and we couldn’t get a good look with the binoculars. I couldn’t even get a decent photograph, though we did manage to see streaked underparts, white face markings and black breast markings.
I haven’t seen Corn Buntings for a while, but that’s what they were. In addition they were very vocal (a song described as “jangling keys” in the book) and (biggest clue of all) there was a flock of 40 Corn Buntings recorded in the sightings book.
It was a good start to the day, which got better when we drove to the other car park and heard the call of waders. Two curlews flew over as we were standing by the car deciding which way to go. That made the decision easier.
In the first hide, after mentioning that things would have been better with a telescope (I’m reporting what I said, here, not actually commenting on People Who Forget Your Telescope) we immediately saw a variety of birds, which became better when two avocets flew across to join an assortment of dots in the distance. The dots proved to be more avocets (23 in all, when we managed to count them) though, due to lack of telescope, we had to move hides to complete the count.
There were other birds about, including (on the other side of the road) a male Goldeneye that kept diving just as I tried to take the photo and a pair of mating Mallards. I would normally have allowed them some privacy but the fact they disappeared underwater completely several times made it more more interesting. By the time I got round to using the video button they stopped and swam away. It’s quite clear that Mallard drakes aren’t gentlemen.
There was a lot to see, and we saw quite a lot of it. However, there is still a lot more to see so, as with everywhere we go, we will be going back.
We went home the long way round, but that’s a story for another post.