Apologies first for yesterday posting again a duplicate post from last week. This was a bungled attempt to update the blog and Google wasn't very forgiving of my blunder. Doh!
What with one thing and then another I’d not been out birding or ringing for a good few days. Finally today I attempted a few hours out in the less than ideal conditions of yet another cloudy, grey morning.
A drive along Backsands Lane at Pilling revealed the grand total of three Pink-footed Geese and a far cry from the many thousands of recent weeks. There’s not been the same numbers of geese in fields close to home, towards the river at Stalmine or even flying to and from the direction of Pilling, their usual route overhead. I get the distinct feeling that the mild weather of late has sent many pinkies heading back to Iceland.
And just this week I have noticed a gang of 30+ newly arrived, noisy Goldfinches coming to the garden, plus the usual garden birds in song. I suspect that at least one pair of Blackbirds, a pair of Greenfinch and a pair of Song Thrush nest building in the thick hedgerows and conifers of some neighbours’ gardens. Spring is almost here.
Today at Gulf Lane the Linnet flock was down to 35 only, a major drop from the 300+of late January and as late as 3rd February.
The still flooded and ever distant flood at Braides Farm held 200+ Curlew, 120 Lapwing, 30 Wigeon, 15+Redshank and a couple of Shelduck.
At Conder Green I watched a Great White Egret hunting the water’s edge and to then take a fish. Intent on watching the egret I hadn’t spotted a Grey Heron close by. But as the egret grabbed a fish from the water the heron launched an immediate ambush and flew at the egret in trying to snatch the fish or intimidate the egret into dropping its meal.
I was somewhat pleased when the slightly smaller egret reacted very fast and managed to swallow the fish in one motion before the heron could win the contest. I don’t recall ever seeing the two species so close together before so it was quite instructive to see the size comparison, even at some distance.
Great White Egret
Great White Egret, Grey Heron (and Blackbird)
Otherwise the pool and creeks were comparatively quiet by way of 25 Wigeon, 15 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 60 Teal, 10 Curlew and 1 Little Egret. There now seems to be 4 pairs of Oystercatchers on territory with 15+ Oystercatcher in total.
A swimming Redshank
Storm Doris is on her way across the Atlantic Ocean and due to hit us overnight. Tomorrow may be a day for reading in which case I’ll take a look at my review copy of a new field guide due out in March.
The book’s is entitled “Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East”, an entirely photographic guide by Frédéric Jiguet & Aurélien Audevard at http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10983.html
Birds of Europe, North African and the Middle East
Read about it soon on Another Bird Blog.