Friday, August 19, 2011

Final Swallows And Something For The Weekend

On Thursday evening at Hambleton I ringed the last young Swallows of the year, a nest of three where two eggs lay unhatched, the latter a not unusual outcome at the end of a busy but less than ideal season for Swallows. That’s 54 birds nestlings ringed at the site this year; just an average sort of year without it turning into the disaster I feared during the poor weather of May and June, but figures which broke no records. After this final brood, there are no more active nests at this site so there will be no Swallows finishing off the season into September this year, although there are still birds around other local farms.

This morning saw Swallows again when I looked around the Pilling patch from Lane Ends to Fluke Hall and counted about 140, scattered about the fields and along the shore. With such low numbers about and little sign of visible migration there seems to be a small likelihood of another large wave of Swallows following the mass emigration that took place in early August. Nowadays Swallows arrive historically early during late March and the first week of April, but are perhaps also departing the UK on a different timescale?

Swallow

The image above is from Pilling Water, where I also counted 10 House Martin and saw most of my other birds, best find of which was a Green Sandpiper, flushed from a puddle of water in the sheep pen on my approach. It headed over to the wildfowler’s pools, as regular a spot as any to find one, but there’s no point in trying to photograph an out-in-the-open Green Sandpiper, one of the wariest birds ever. Little point also with 20/25 Teal in the ditches, another species that always fly off long before a human gets too close. The chap dropping the daily wheat supply to the wildfowl told me there have been 200+ wild Teal lately, not to be confused with the farmed Mallards put out for sport.

About here and long the sea wall I found 4 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 1 Redshank, 6 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch and 3 Wheatear. The Wheatears stuck to fence posts today, not to my ideal catching spot of the shore side rocks.

Wheatear

Out on the shore were 3 Ravens, a species now becoming more commonplace in the Fylde where they nest in quiet woods and up high on electricity pylons. I took a few shots of a Kestrel, hovering and circling with an entourage of Swallows.

Kestrel

Kestrel

I spent a quiet couple of hours, taking a rest from the hard labour of ringing sessions on the moss, but if the weather holds those pliers need a spot of oil for the weekend.

11 comments:

JWBateman said...

Hi Phil: Whilst out today appeared to be a steady movement south of swallows along the coast.JWB.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I glad to see that everything is straightened out and that you have not gone Cuckoo : }}

You know that is a "hard pill to swallow"...knowing that the season for the Swallow is over !!
I'm not sure how that translates over there... :}}

You have a great photo of the Kestrel...wish I could have had a good in flight one!!

Have a pleasant weekend...
I have a sinus infection, and it is 95f and humid and is supposed to be for a few days to come..this out to be fun...medication makes me hot and nauseous..."yeah fun weekend for me"!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I glad to see that everything is straightened out and that you have not gone Cuckoo : }}

You know that is a "hard pill to swallow"...knowing that the season for the Swallow is over !!
I'm not sure how that translates over there... :}}

You have a great photo of the Kestrel...wish I could have had a good in flight one!!

Have a pleasant weekend...
I have a sinus infection, and it is 95f and humid and is supposed to be for a few days to come..this out to be fun...medication makes me hot and nauseous..."yeah fun weekend for me"!

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful photos, Phil.
We're still in Russia, with literally thousands of photos to go through when we get home, but very few of birds.
My husband insists he got photos of blue gulls on more than one occasion, and I saw the photos. They do look blueish but I think it's a reflection of some sort.
Wonder what you think. I tried googling blue gulls and got no information.
-- K

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil said...

Hi Kay, Most gulls are white with grey, black or brown. Some are a light pearl grey like the American Herring Gull, which may appear blue. They often look powder blue in photos perhaps with reflected light off water. Your gull may have been a Black-tailed Gull.

Thanks for the info John.

Grace, I commented on your blog and I'm feeling fine now thanks.

Chris said...

Excellent. It looks lke your swallow got the same problem as most of our birds over here. The nesting season has been one of the poorest ever, with almost no chicks for all marine birds!!! A disaster!! beautiful shots of the swallow and wheatear!!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The flight images of the Kestrel are really very good Phil and kind of sad, saying farewell to the Swallows for the year. Maybe you shall at least get in a few more snaps of them. They make me happy, such lovely faces, and such grand insect eaters too. Have a wonderful weekend~

eileeninmd said...

Great post, I love the swallows. And the kestrel shots are awesome.

Stu said...

Bet you ringers are looking forward to autumn Phil.......

Blue Hill Escape said...

They haven't arrived here in the Western Cape SA yet - but good to know they will be here soon :)

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