Sunday, June 27, 2010

Autumn Clues

I decided to give ringing a miss on the principle that a little lie in wouldn’t come amiss, plus as autumn draws near I fancied a bit of just birding because “you just never know”. I did one of my usual mixes which consisted of Conder Green followed by a walk along the shore at Pilling. Not much new then with my choice of locations, but the combination gives me a nice selection of birds, and on a bright morning I might even get a few photographs.

At Conder Green a Spotted Redshank in the creek, still almost totally blackish in summer plumage, immediately stood out from the 120 or so Redshank and a couple of Curlew, whereby there was no need to search for the dusky one amongst the crowd of commoners. I just wish I could get a picture of the bird in this plumage but it seems just as unapproachable as its cousins are. Less obvious to the eye were 4 Dunlin, a species that is one of the early autumn returns, black-bellied adults that almost disappeared in the middle of the crowd of taller redshanks that picked through the stones and low water of the channel. A single Common Sandpiper kept as they usually do to the edge of the channel unmolested by the crowd of other birds.

On the islands an Oystercatcher still sat on eggs whilst another adult flew back and forth from another island where a chick of the year is not yet ready to fly. The Little Ringed Plovers have been far from obvious this year but a single bird did show on the far margins of the pool today. But I must say I haven’t seen any evidence of breeding yet, and the birds need to get on with it soon or it will be too late.

The regular 2 Grey Herons put in an appearance, as did a hunting Kestrel plus still singing Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting. There were several Swifts and House Martins whizzing about but as yet I hadn’t lifted my camera in anger, the pictures below from a previous sortie.

Little Ringed Plover

Redshank

Meadow Pipit

I took a slow drive to Lane Ends via Moss Lane then Thurham where I noted three roadside Sedge Warblers, then in the fields approaching Lane Ends 80 Lapwings in a loose flock and several Curlew interspersed with them. At Lane Ends three warblers sang loudly, Blackcap, Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff with several Swallows and House Martins hawking insects over the mound. It was a good morning for insects, sunny with a warm breeze, which probably accounted for the 20 or more Swifts I saw here and another 8 up at Pilling Water.

It may seem strange to talk of autumn birds in June but the earliest spring migrants are always the first to reappear in summer, so it was no surprise to see a Wheatear on the marsh near Pilling Water as late June is a classic date for the start of their return passage. Also on the marsh here alongside the Damside ditch were 11 Pied Wagtails, mostly juveniles birds, and 3 Common Sandpipers, with on the pool a pair of Teal plus loafing Lapwings and Oystercatchers.

Wheatear

Pied Wagtail

I took a little time out to photograph a group of Swallows, adults and young birds that settled on the metal fencing here in between hunting for insects over the reedy dyke. Exactly the spot I got some similar shots almost twelve months ago.

Swallow

Swallow

Swallow

4 comments:

mick said...

That sounds like a very nice morning's birding. I wish I could see some of the shorebirds you mention - most are not ones that we see down here in Australia.

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil. A very nice Sunday walk for you with a nice mix of birds. Excellent images...the swallows posed very nicely for you. Pity about the black spotted redshank...that's one I would like to capture !! Keep up the good work.

Unravel said...

Autumn migration started!?
Wow I should go out and look for some migrants as well.....
(IF the weather allows me to)

Stu said...

Some great shots there, nice to see some fine weather in Lancashire!

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