Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Year Ticking

I got out early to try and catch up with Leach’s Petrels at Knott End where the early morning dropping tide might harbour a few stragglers coming out of the bay after the overnight storm.

The light was poor and the rain threatened but I got a Leach’s for my non-existent year list as one followed the tideline towards the jetty then crossed the river to Fleetwood. I got a second year tick in the form of a Bonxie, a Great Skua, that steamed across the water much faster than the petrel did, but luckily the petrel journeyed a few minutes before the Bonxie, otherwise there may have been a meal in the offing for the bigger bird. It seems that the word Bonxie comes from the Norse Bunksi, meaning an untidy old woman. I found this great web site for fans of this super aggressive animal.

Great Skua - Bonxie

With the atrocious forecast of more wind and rain that looked every bit like coming to a wild and wet fruition, I decided that it is possible to have too much of a good thing but also that discretion was the better part of valour, so headed north to spend some time at Leighton before my appointment in Kendal. What’s more there was a chance for my incredible third year tick in the shape of Black Tern as three juvenile birds had been there yesterday. Leighton Moss looked bleak as the rain, the wind and dark clouds hurled in from the west without any respite. I set my camera to ISO800 and it stayed there until I left about 2pm.

Black Tern

I had time to walk the public footpath of the causeway where 3 Black Terns moved between the areas of open water but they didn’t come close and often disappeared from view at the far end of the reserve or melted into the grey of continuous heavy showers. As the showers came and went the hirundines did the same with at one point hundreds of House Martins, hundreds of Sand Martins and dozens of Swallows feeding over the open water. Roosting on the reserve were hundreds of Redshank, dozens of Black-tailed Godwit and at least 10 Greenshank, but impossible to count with much certainty as they were distant, bunched tight and huddled down against the wind and driving rain.

I also got a few photographs of common or garden stuff but it wasn’t the best morning for a camera.

Shoveler

Cormorant

Snipe

Snipe

Red Deer

That’s enough year ticks for a year, next I need to do some serious birding and ringing.

3 comments:

Mark Young said...

A bad day birding is still better then a good day working! ;)

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow, I have missed some posts and I so need to catch up. Your Cormorant and Snipe images are really swell Phil, and the Red deer, what a great looking animal~ Hope your week is going good, and hey, what about sending us some of your rain~

Stu said...

Seems like you had a pretty good day, I never managed to get a Leachs Petrel in the NW but did manage a Bonxie once...........

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