Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gaffe Time

Every picture tells a story. In this case it’s how I made the wrong decision to head out to the moss and put up a couple of nets. I had just caught a couple of Chaffinches when the heavens opened, not the scattered showers that Heather promised on BBC North West, but instead a couple of downpours which saturated both the nets and me. So I took the nets down, dried off a lot with the car heater and then drove out to Pilling for a spot of birding.

Rain On the Moss

A drive down Lambs Lane is rewarded by noise and spectacle of over 200 Whooper Swans at the junction of Fluke Hall Lane, 210 today plus the Black Swan from last winter. I don’t think the black one went back to Iceland with the Whoopers, but I haven’t seen it around during the summer and autumn until now. If the swans are spectacular then the Pink-footed Geese are doubly so at the moment with many birds out on the marsh; my count of 12000+ distant birds can be an approximation only, and my photograph a telephoto portion of the massed flight when a microlight aircraft came by.

Whooper Swan

Pink-footed Goose

At Lane Ends car park, Blackbirds were mobbing a Tawny Owl, while on the marsh a Merlin moved along the line of posts and then took a fly around to flush all the Lapwings, over 2000 of them. One of the best ways to find raptors is to watch corvids or just listen out for to their complaints when they come across a bird of prey. On my walk up to Pilling Water crows put me onto three raptors today, a Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and then a Short-eared Owl. Apologies for the well cropped shots, as all the action was distant, but it illustrates the point.

Short-eared Owl

Sparrowhawk

Buzzard

Not many passerines about today, 5 Meadow Pipit, 3 Linnet, 15 Skylark and 2 Goldfinch. Herons obliged with 1 Grey Heron and 5 Little Egret while 250+ Woodpigeons are fattening up on Hi- Fly’s wildfowl bait.

Back at the car park a man with a telescope kindly pointed out the Merlin hovering over the embankment, whilst out on the marsh I watched a dashing little raptor that could only be a Kestrel.

Kestrel

6 comments:

Christian said...

What a brilliant Raptor fest Phil! Yes!! The Shorties are back! Can't wait to get an afternoon off in good light!

I like the shots of the corvids and raptors too - they really show what's going on.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

One of the things that I think is so wonderful for you and where you live, is that you get to view Owls during the daylight hours...I mean even in flight...how grand would that be. I wish I could do the same over here. Your rainbow image is glorious Phil! You can hardly ever count on the weather people, it always just a little off from what they say~

Carole Meisenhelter said...

wonderful photographs; nice to find your blog via CC just now. Love your header!

Paco Sales said...

Que bella imagen del arco iris, parece emerger del final del vallado y la fotografía de las tres aves en vuelo de formación muy bien captada Phil. Un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

Wow, awesome photos and great birds. Love the raptors.

Stu said...

Nice BIF shots Phil..........

No Great Egrets your side of the Ribble then?

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