Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Pilling

A change of tactics today meant I washed a few weeks’ worth of muck from the car in the morning and left a walk until the afternoon; and I know I work Pilling close to death but it’s still the local patch that holds the ever present optimism for new discoveries. Today I split most of my precious few hours between watching a newly arrived Wheatear and observing the Skylarks and their territories.

The first find was not a disappointment, a very juvenile, scaly Wheatear, fresh in from goodness knows where as it sat on a post below the sea wall. It took thirty minutes of gentle persuasion before it finally saw the meal worm in the spring trap, then bingo, I took a closer look. With a wing length of 99mm and more growth to come in the next few weeks the bird was almost certainly a male, but could be of either the nominate race Oenanthe oenanthe, or the Greenland race O.o. leucorhoa.

Wheatear

Wheatear - juvenile

The area around Pilling Water was much the same as recent days, 40 Linnet, 18 Greenfinch, 8 Goldfinch and 4 Meadow Pipit, with 4 Common Sandpiper and 3 Grey Heron along the outflow. It was good to see the young Kestrels have finally emerged from the Damside nest box, with 3 birds together, alternating between hunting the silage fields, fence hopping below the sea wall and exploring the outer marsh.

Kestrel - juvenile

The next discovery was another Skylark nest to add to the one yesterday. This latest nest was just a couple of yards from the still visible remains of a previous nest where I ringed the chicks on 7th June, so this new one is almost certainly a second brood from the same parents. Today’s nest was at a handy stage whereby the three youngsters were an ideal size to ring, feathers just emerging from their sheaths and legs fully formed. Because of a Skylark’s almost completely open nesting situation, only a few leaves of vegetation overhanging the nest, the straw coloured downy growth of motionless chicks makes perfect camouflage against overhead predators.

I also checked out yesterday’s Skylark nest but from a distance, and found the parents still visiting with food, so all should be OK for more Skylark ringing tomorrow and yet another Pilling visit.

Skylark nest

Skylark chick

6 comments:

Errol said...

Can't beat patch work, can you, Phil? I think it's the grist of birding and enjoy it as much as you obviously do. Keep it coming - and the photos!

Pete Woodruff said...

It's not possible to visit a 'patch' too often....but you already know that don't you Phil.

missing moments said...

Great photos! That last little guy is, well ... little!

Seasons said...

Phil, I try to make every effort to keep up with your posts. I like reading the narrative, and days I am rushed, then looking at those pictures is always a pleasure. Thank you.

Magia da Inês said...

♥ •˚。
Amigo,
Passei para conhecer o seu blog.
Estou encantada com suas fotos... você consegue segurar na mão pássaros que vivem na natureza.
Beijinhos, querido.
Brasil
♥ •˚。
°° 。♥。
●/ ♥•˚。˚
/▌
/ \ 。˚。♥

David Riewe said...

Just a quick note to say I am enjoying all these photos, I am glad you put up "Another Bird Blog" :-)

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