Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Windy But Birding

Mindful of the BBC’s bad weather warnings for the next five days, I decided to brave the elements again for a spot of birding, but with rain and strong winds again, the watching would be mostly from the car.

I hadn’t been to Conder and Glasson for a while so gave those spots a try first. The wind howled across Conder Pool, the lake turned into a swelling sea where 20 Mallards sheltered on the island and 3 Little Grebe braved the rollers. Maybe the lunchtime tide was already moving in to fill the creek where the only birds I found were 4 more Little Grebe, 45 Teal, 1 Curlew and 1 Spotted Redshank, both the Teal and grebes tucked into the lee of the deep creek.

It was similar at Glasson Dock with 55 Tufted Duck and 30+ Coot congregating at the sheltered far side of the marina, 2 Goldeneye and the Black-headed Gulls dodging the breakers in the centre of the swell.

Spotted Redshank

Tufted Duck

Trying desperately to think of somewhere that might be at least partially sheltered I drove up to Thurnham where I was able to take a walk through the wood below the churchyard. It proved quite fruitful, if still a little breezy and also wet underfoot, but I found 2 Treecreeper, 2 Woodcock and 1 Tawny Owl. The owl sat in the middle of a dense holly tree, and as they do, both Woodcock flushed from close by before I could spot either. In the last two winters we caught one or two Woodcock, but none this year so far, and if the winds don’t drop there will be no birds of any species caught, never mind the buzz of finding a Woodcock in the net.

Woodcock

Woodcock

The tide was in at Lane Ends where I logged a few bits and pieces of 3 Little Egret, 55 Pintail, 80 Wigeon, 2000+ Lapwing, 155 Curlew, 340 Shelduck, 150 Starling, 3 Skylark, and 1 Merlin battling west into the headwind.

Pintail

I watched a Great Black-backed Gull check out a Little Egret which struggled against the wind, the gull waiting for a chance to pounce. Just a few weeks ago it was here that I watched a black-back kill and eat a Wigeon. It's a poor rushed shot I took, but the gull clearly shows evil intent.

Little Egret and Great Black-backed Gull

A quick check near Fluke Hall produced a good count of 93 Whooper Swan and 1500 Pink-footed Goose still on the potato field.

Whooper Swan

4 comments:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh the feathers of the Woodcock are so beautiful Phil! The Tufted Duck is quite a beauty...love that eye looking right at you. Take care, be safe~

eileeninmd said...

Cool, I love the closeups of the Woodcock. And the Tufted duck is one of my favorites. Wonderful post and photos.

Russell said...

The woodcock really is beautiful and that evil gull looks so huge. I might have to go out here and look for a Tuft Duck too as they really are quite regal ...as he appears in your photo. Might have to brave the snow forecasts for the weekend.

Stuart Price said...

Good to see you're the hardy type out in all weathers Phil!

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