Yesterday was a day off birding but grandparenting instead, later in the day joining all the other Nans and Granddads waiting outside the school gates. Frank said they had negotiated time off for good behaviour and were off to warm and sunny Portugal this week where they hope to see White-rumped Swift and Black-shouldered Kite – Good luck Frank.
In this morning’s cold north-easterly wind the nearest I could get to those two exotica was a single Peregrine and 12 more spring Swallows heading north in ones and twos. I’d gone to Pilling equipped with spring traps and meal worms, hoping for more Wheatears but I saw none in place of those here a few days ago. From Lane Ends to Pilling Water and in pretty cool unspring like weather I counted 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Kestrel, 2 Little Grebe, 70 Shelduck, 300 Pink-footed Geese, 12 Greylag Goose, 3 Little Egret, 4 Linnet and 6 Meadow Pipit.
I was watching 8 or 9 Skylarks, sorting out territories near Fluke Hall when the Peregrine sailed over but heading out to the marsh. The Lapwings and Oystercatchers on the stubble field didn’t seem to react; neither did the Skylarks, perhaps because the Peregrine wasn’t in true hunting mode but as it passed by glanced over at me sat on the stile by the gatepost.
The Skylarks did a lot of chasing each other about with odd ones rising up to sing while others stayed on the ground. With the grassy areas yet to sprout any real growth it’s very unlikely the Skylarks have started nest building just yet.
Along Fluke Hall Lane and Backsands Lane I counted 16 Lapwings and 10 Oystercatchers but sad to report that I saw more Carrion Crows than I did waders, the corvids outnumbering the Lapwings and Oystercatchers by two to one. Maybe one or two pairs of Lapwings and Oystercatchers will succeed but the odds are clearly stacked against them. Redshank numbers are similarly low with one or two pairs displaying out on the marsh but none on the inner fields.
Nothing much else to report apart from a Robin carrying food near Fluke Hall where I saw 50+ Woodpigeon still flocking, 4 Stock Dove and 3 singleton Swallows heading east.