Thursday 16 February 2023

The Interlude

A light south wind, low cloud/fine rain all morning, but largely dry and overcast in the afternoon.

Just my stuff today (MD), and precious little of it. A morning check of saltmarsh to Red Nab
Rock Pipit 2 - 1 each on foreshore and Red Nab
Kingfisher 1 - it flew out from the culvert and was lost as it headed to the outer edge of Red Nab. I had thought that it had moved on as I haven't seen it for a few weeks.
Shelduck and Wigeon c50 each on Red Nab (the tide had already left the rocks).

Nature Park
Jay 1
Bullfinch 2
Greenfinch 6
Goldfinch 8
Chaffinch 2
The other day I was talking to a regular post reader about recognising bird songs and calls. I advised to start with the obvious ones and quoted the "wheeze" of a Greenfinch as a good example. Unfortunately I failed miserably to explain what it sounds like. So I took this clip today.

A quick check of Imperial Rd fared little better
Little Egret 4
Wood Pigeon 16 - perched in the same tree as yesterday's Buzzard

Middleton Nature Reserve 
A late afternoon check, it had been dry for some hours by this time.
No sign of any Stonechat today despite a thorough check.
No Pochard or Gadwall either - the rest of the wildfowl unchanged 

I was approaching the Tim Butler pond when I noticed this small female newt laying, apparently dead, on her back. The spots on her throat identifying her as a Smooth (Common) Newt.
Female Smooth Newt
But when I picked her up there were signs of life, and the warmth of my hand seemed to revive her a little.
Presumably she had come from hibernation this morning when the fine rain would have been ideal, but now she was obviously very dry, and you can tell by my mitts that is was still cold. So I took her to one of the permanent ponds and placed her on the water ..........Nothing! 
She didn't attempt to move. "Playing dead" is a typical amphibian ploy, but don't think she needed much acting. So I pushed her below the surface tension.
She settled by a rock and at least looked more normal now. There was no more I could do, so I wished her well and left.

Today's title will mean little to most of you, but when I was young there were regularly gaps between the television programs (my granddaughter insists that I must be the last person on earth to still call it a television!). The gaps were euphemistically called "interludes" and filled with stock footage. I remember a windmill and a potters wheel. Today felt like a gap between sightings, I couldn't find a potters wheel, but this wind turbine, turning through the low cloud was close enough to a windmill. If you put it on a loop and watch for about 5 minutes you'll get a sense of what a television interlude was like. Although, to be fair, they were generally better than the programs!
Hopefully, normal service will resume tomorrow