Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Keyhaven Seabirds, Seaweed & Seashells & Toad Watch Update....

Cold and bright here today. We spent the morning at Keyhaven, a coastal nature reserve not far from here, and had a walk and talk with the site manager who was a mine of information. A Ruff was spotted there yesterday, and a Dartford Warbler, and also a Spoonbill. We saw the latter. Has the photo worked any better than those I took at Farlington a few weeks back?


Umm, not sure. Can you see the spoon-shaped bill?

Oh well. He was some distance away.

Little Egrets, Redshank, Lapwing and Black-Tailed Godwit were closer......


 


The Black-Tailed Godwit were On Form with some Particularly Obliging Stances....







Daffs, Gorse & Pussy Willow are now blooming along the banks and hedgerows...


 


The sea was glittering magically in the light.....


I managed to find Evidence Of Moths :o) This fluffy stuff is (I think) the web of one of the Processionary Moths and inside it will be hundreds of tiny toxic black and ginger caterpillars who'll soon be out.....


I have renewed my long-term fascination with texture and form and the shape of things since reading Jennifer's excellent blog on stone carving here. These thoughts were very much in my mind when I went for a wander along the shoreline and found these amazing shells lying in their hundreds just beneath the surface of the water. The tide was coming in so I committed them to the camera's memory. The small, pointy shells are Small Winkles and the more rounded ones Periwinkles of some description....
   


Here are a clutch of Small Winkles alive and well on their rock. They reminded me forcibly of that lovely story poem by Julia Donaldson, called The snail and the whale. Do you know it? It's the tale of a tiny snail who is bored sitting on her rock and (much to the horror of her fellow snails) wants to go adventuring so she hops on the back of a whale who takes her round the world. At one point, the whale gets beached and nearly dies, but his friend the snail saves him by using her slime to write a message on a board in a local school. When they get back to her rock all the other snails decide to hop on too and they go adventuring with the whale. It is delightful, one of my all time favourite stories.


I've always loved the sea. Maybe it is being born and living on an island, but the mystery, power and magic of it resonates with me. I'm especially drawn to the shore, to that magical realm that is neither land nor sea but suspended somewhere between both, a place whose inhabitants can breath in air and water alike....







So, a magic day and I have topped up my sea levels, which is Good :o)

Tomorrow, a talk to the first years on butterflies and then after that things should start to slow down a little and normal life will resume (as much as it ever does!).

In the mean time, we are on Toad Watch every night. I've been asked by Froglife to record all sightings, which means live toads, dead toads and all the toads we carry across to safety. Seeing so many dead on the road breaks my heart a bit every night, but I am trying to focus on the live ones and keep telling myself they would be dead too if we weren't helping. I hope our homemade signs are also saving a few. I think most people care enough about wildlife to go the other way if they can and so avoid the toads.



I've also just taken delivery of my new pupa box, and have installed the two pupae I am looking after in it. I hope they will survive because I really want to know what they are. I have a sneaky suspicion the big one is a Large Yellow Underwing, but I don't have a scoobies what the other one is....
Neat little house, no?





That's all for now. Hope everyone is well and I wish you all a peaceful evening.

CT :o)

30 comments:

  1. Hey CT,
    The Spoonbill is rather wonderful. I often drive past Hayle Estuary, and there are usually bird watchers there. I think it must be a lovely past-time. The Snail On The Whale is a favourite here too. One of her best I reckon.
    Leanne xx

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    1. A peaceful past-time. I have enjoyed a day of looking through the binoculars and photographing the birds. A nice and easy kind of day spent outside in the sunshine and fresh air :o)

      I agree- snail and whale def one of the best children's tales ever written. I love the flow of the words and the sentiment always makes me just a little bit weepy (in a happy, good, joyful sort of way).

      Hope all's well with you and the brood xxx

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  2. What a lovely post and Keyhaven, and all around ther, is a good place to visit.

    I can relate to your paragraph "I've always loved the sea. Maybe it is being born and living on an island, but the mystery, power and magic of it resonates with me. I'm especially drawn to the shore, to that magical realm that is neither land nor sea but suspended somewhere between both, a place whose inhabitants can breath in air and water alike"

    It is so relaxing, inspiring, at home feeling being beside the sea or indeed water, a lake or a river.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hi Jan :o)

      We were on the Pennington Marshes side today- great countryside there and so much to see.

      I agree about water- couldn't live far from it either :o)

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  3. Lovely pictures especially of the willow and the godwit - such wonderful poses! Sarahx

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    1. Thanks Sarah :o) It was a perfect (if chilly) day to spend outdoors by the sea. Hope Tavi's getting on OK? xx

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  4. Can see the Spoon-shaped bill, all your birds are lovely, have not seen most of them.Still waiting for Daff's to open. Sea and shels how wounder full , we are going to Northumberland next week for a few days , just love the sea...
    Amanda xx

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    1. I LOVE Northumberland, so am v envious. Part of my family hails from that neck of the woods. Will look forward to reading about your trip. Hope you see lots of interesting things xx

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  5. Your posts are always such a treat. Wonderful bird photos, especially the spoonbill. We saw one last year but he was a bit far away for photos. I'm a big fan of the sea as well, and The Snail and the Whale of course, it's been read many, many times here. In fact I can recite bits of it by heart. CJ xx

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    1. Hi CJ :o) Thanks for your lovely comment- I'm so pleased you enjoy the posts. We're getting towards that time of year where so much will be out and about there shouldn't be any shortage of subjects!
      I think I can still remember bits of the book too- especially love the bit at the end when ' on climbed snail after snail after snail' xx

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  6. Yup, saw the spoon bill! A most impressive bill too.
    The Godwit looks itchy....lice?
    Love the sea,and miss it so very much. We intend to relocate to the East coast when we retire because we miss the sea.
    Jane x

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    1. They did seem particularly itchy :o) Do you have a long drive to get to the sea now? I would miss it so if it weren't nearby.

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    2. Bit more than a quick hop away then! x

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  7. I know what you mean about the sea, it draws me in too. Well, not literally, not when it's this cold! Love the godwit.. :)

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    1. Yes, def need regular top-ups of the sea.

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  8. You are doing a great job for the Toads. great to see the Spoonbill and the photos of birds are fantastic. Great to spring some spring growth around..

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  9. Oooh, a Spoonbill. Oh you jammy devil! I thought I'd struck lucky just seeing a White Egret in the New Forest recently!

    There's something about the sea that calls us isn't there? I think it harks back to when we mankind used the shoreline for food resources and it was part of the pattern of life - I guess our seaside holidays in the summer are all that is left of that need to be by the sea.

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    1. Right place, right time. It's only the second one I've ever seen in my life so I was thrilled :o)
      So many folks have that connection with the sea, it's very interesting.

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  10. So many wonderful things!!! It is amazing to see all the different birds and wildlife. I hope that your toad and chrysalis projects both go really well and that you make lots of saves! xx

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    1. Many thanks Amy- hopefully, in a few weeks I'll have pictures to show you of whoever hatched out! xx

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  11. Great pics and what an obliging Godwit! Sounds like an interesting place to visit. Good luck with the pupa raising - will be fun finding out what you have there. xx

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    1. It's one of those places that is very reliable in terms of seeing lots of interesting things. Great to have it so close to us xx

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  12. It's okay you wishing everyone a peaceful evening after a post like this! :)) Actually I've just come in for lunch and am thoroughly enlivened after reading this. What amazing and exciting and mind whirring pics - the Lapwing ones are wonderful, then the polleny fluff of Pussy Willow and then those snails. I hadn't heard the whale and snail story, enchanted, just gives me sensations looking at the seaweed. I think you need a warning on your blog! And your sign - brilliant. Haven't seen any toads here yet. Thankyou so much for the mention - what glory there is at our feet if we care to look. I think you've just sown the seeds for at least half a dozen sculptures!

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    1. There is so much in nature to inspire, it's just having the time to notice it all. So pleased you liked the post- I was actually thinking of you when I photographed the seaweed, if that doesn't sound too weird! The shapes and texture were absorbing my attention because they reminded me of that wonderful otter of yours.

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  13. I can see the spoonbill's spoon bill no bother at all! Great pictures, the shells in such numbers, golly...

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    1. Hooray! I was worried it was a bit indistinct. I photographed two a few weeks back and they were mere white dots in the distance, so this fine fellow is a definite improvement!

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  14. Yes, I too can see the spoonbill's bill :) Love the Godwit poses and Pussy Willow shots - the latter is coming out round here now :)

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    1. Apparently, there were five there the day before! :o)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x