Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Arrivals And Departures

All my birding spots are a bit like a UK airport or train station at the moment, bodies everywhere, arriving from all directions and leaving generally in a southerly direction towards the Mediterranean, or alternatively just hanging around and feeding up until it’s the time is right to go. Or, more likely in the in the current clear days and night conditions, many are on the move but fly unseen and unheard at 30 thousand feet with no reason to break their journeys.

The Swallows were clearly building up for departure this morning when I counted many parties of them on my way through Stalmine and Pilling, gathered on overhead wires as they chattered away to each other before some set off in flurries of excitement in mock departures to nowhere in particular, circling around for a while and then joining back with the rest of the assembly. It must be the continued fine weather that gets them going, both the urge to migrate and the enthusiasm they display, but there is no doubt something was in the hirundine air this morning.

Swallow

Swallow

Swallow

I had an hour or two before babysitting duties so made my way to Lane Ends to walk the wall. There were Swallows and House Martins on the move here, with birds flying low over the salt marsh, heading west but pausing occasionally to rest up on the remains of a tree left on the marsh by recent high tides. I counted at least 140 Swallows and 25 House Martins, and whilst I half expected a Hobby to appear in the warm and calm conditions, the best I could muster was the usual Peregrine sat (or is that stood) a distance out on the marsh where it remained for the next hour or so. I guess the Peregrine had already eaten because it seemed in no hurry to eat again. The pools gave me 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret late departing the sometimes roost and the now resident but elusive Kingfisher. I had a couple of Grey Wagtails over plus 3 “albas” and 2 rasping Snipe as they flew high towards Cockerham.

Along the sea wall it was a Meadow Pipit and wagtail morning with 30+ Meadow Pipits seemingly off-passage for a while, feeding in the area of Pilling Water and the UU dump. Likewise I found three Pied Wagtails here with a single Grey Wagtail and 2 more calling overhead, plus a single Wheatear on the rocks. Finches today were 25 Goldfinch and 15 Linnet, and I almost forgot, one calling but hopefully more than a single Greenfinch at Lane Ends.

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

A biggish count again of 11 Little Egrets here, plus the two earlier Lane Ends birds reflects the counts in North Lancashire and elsewhere this autumn as the species goes from strength to strength. Even the cold winter has not dented this bird’s growing population. I didn’t trespass to see the Greenshanks today, I didn’t fancy panicking 100 Red-legged Partridge, the numerous fattened-up Mallard and the wild and wary Teal, but even from the wall I clocked the Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 2 Reed Buntings.

Reed Bunting

A very pleasant and productive hour or two, and even the babysitting wasn’t entirely without birds when “sans bins” I saw 3 Little Egrets on Knott End shore while waiting to treat Olivia to a ferry ride to Fleetwood. We certainly know how to live it up in these parts.

3 comments:

Unravel said...

The first photo looks nice and warm! Swallows are staying in flocks here in Thailand as well. There's also a roosting site just a few kilometres away from my house where thousands of them stay at night during winter.

Errol said...

Cracking 'photos again, Phil, as usual. Keep it up.

Luuuuuua said...

f frumoase fotografii,bravo

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