Thursday, 23 June 2016
Its...Its a Bio Blitz
Boy I want to warn you
It'll turn into a bio blitz
I started with a walk down the Leas before I got to Souter. This section of coastline is one I've only discovered in the last year or two and I love it. The twisty cliffs are so different to the long sandy beaches I'm used to in Northumberland. It's also great for migrants and one of the best places I've found to watch Fulmers as they keep soaring up over the edge of the cliff right in front of you. The birds were singing, the seabird colonies smelt magnificent and I found a rather faded looking Painted Lady.
It was finally turning dark and Souter Lighthouse at sunset was looking rather lovely. The sky to the north was cloudy, though the nearly full moon to the south was shining brightly in a fairly clear sky. We also managed to spot and identify three different planets, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter, though we couldn't make out any moons as it was still fairly light.
We managed to get the tape lure working for the Storm Petrels, and then fancying a bit of a change I had a drive around with Doug and Trevor, looking for Hedgehogs and Foxes, without any success. They dropped me off with Jason, who was doing some newt surveying in the pond near where John was keeping an eye on one of the moth traps. He'd caught what he called another Ghost Moth but which could well have been the one I'd found.
We all headed back to the bird nets at the cliffs where we found that nothing had been caught at all. This wasn't really a surprise at this point, because all night people had been giving me reasons why we wouldn't catch any Petrels: it was still early in the season; the moon was too bright; the sea was too rough and loud; it was too clear. There'll be other opportunities though, this year, and as I said at the time, even with all those factored in, my chances were a lot better than if I'd stayed in bed.
It was getting on for 1 am by this point, and it was looking like things would be relatively quiet until 6.30 by which time I'd have to be thinking of leaving, so I cut my losses and managed to blag a lift home with Andrew who, as luck would have it, was dropping Georgia off a few streets away from my flat.
Just as we were leaving, Andrew got a call from Jason at the nets, and we ran back, thinking he'd maybe got lucky as soon as we left him alone. It turned out that he hadn't caught a Petrel, (they were at it until 3.30 and never got one) but a Pipistrelle Bat had flown into the net, so we got a good close look at that as he released it.