Before this morning my last notebook entry for Pilling was 26th April, so there was a lot of catching up to do after missing three weeks of birding there.
Looking at blogs and web sites for the period I was on holiday, it seems I didn’t miss much at Lane Ends, but then not a lot of people bird properly there to find much; a sit in the car park, telescope the tide in, a bit of chat, and maybe a cursory walk to the gates 50 yards either way, but no searching of the trees before heading off to a target bird. Seems there was a Cuckoo a week ago but not much else throughout the whole of May!
Two pairs of Lapwings had young this morning, two big “runners” and then two smaller ones with another pair of adults, the little ones too far away and too public for a ringer’s pursuit. In song in the plantation was a very loud Blackcap, with 2 untiring Willow Warblers and a Reed Warbler. Overhead a late presumed (Lesser) Redpoll flew over calling with a couple of Chaffinch giving “nest-nearby” warnings, plus a Great-spotted Woodpecker. The pair of Little Grebes still trill on the water while nesting Greylags control the island.
Pilling Water to Fluke was I admit fairly uneventful, save for 5 Wheatears, 2 Linnet and several pairs of Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Skylark. I guess by now the Wheatears must be Greenland types, the one I managed to photograph a big and bright male.
With seeing the young Lapwings At Lane Ends I decided to check out Braides Farm where I have permission to roam and where the RSPB carried out some ditching work in an effort to reinstate breeding waders. After a couple of dry, unproductive years re-profiling a few ditches this year has worked in the Lapwing’s and other species' favour; I found at least five broods of Lapwing chicks, 4 or five displaying Redshank, a couple of territorial Oystercatchers, 6+ singing Skylarks and a displaying Meadow Pipit. It’s not a good idea to search for Lapwing chicks to ring when inquisitive cows follow in your footsteps, so I left well alone content that here at least Lapwings are doing well. So full marks to the farmer and the RSPB that Braides is a now a shining example of wildlife conservation to this stretch of coastline and much of the Fylde.
Lapwing chick hiding
When I viewed west along the RSPB’s ditch to see the number of flowers growing in the meadow I thought for a moment I was back in Menorca, but I couldn’t see Cattle Egrets or hear Bee Eaters, just a Mute Swan on a nest.
The illusion lasted a moment, broken by the sight of the herd of Belted Galloway cattle, a breed which originates in the harsh upland climate of the Galloway hills in beautiful south west Scotland. The “Beltie” as it is affectionately known is one of the most visually distinctive breeds of cattle, its many merits lie not only in its unique appearance and good nature, but also in its hardiness and top quality beef.
Belted Galloways - Belties
If I don’t get out birding tomorrow I’ll post pictures of breeding Hoopoes from Menorca.