It was “cool” start today, but here I’m not referring to Cool Brittania, my state of mind, behaviour or general feeling of well-being, but as usual on Another Bird Blog, the poverty of the British weather. It was so unwarm this morning I reverted to a bobble hat and three layers on the top half of my body’s rapidly fading ex-Mediterranean tan.
Thirty plus House Martins at Lane Ends kicked off the morning as they fed in the lee of the plantation and over the sea wall where they had found a glut of insects. Maybe the insects were leftovers from last night, where the creatures found themselves drawn to the flame of a beacon lit by the people of Pilling for Her Majesty. 60 years of travelling the globe to exotic destinations; what a bird list she could have by now if only she had taken her bins and a good set of field guides: as usual I digress to matters less important than birding, but 4 days without proper news on TV is enough, without the added affront of 30 minutes of Paul McCartney.
June is when the Starlings begin to flock, and there must have been 170+ of a herd of those brown, unlovely things, squawking for food from parents too slow to send their kids off to fend for themselves. Two Reed Warblers singing this morning, with a Blackcap and now silence from the Willow Warbler. More squawking came from the Jays busying themselves in making trouble for the nesting birds.
Up towards Pilling Water I got a trio of surprises in the shapes of 2 singing Corn Buntings and an unseasonal Grey Wagtail. In other Junes I’ve seen singing Corn Buntings along here and I reckon they are loser males from elsewhere that either failed to find a girl, or refugees from nests destroyed in early cut silage fields; trouble is they don’t seem to get a lot of joy along here and pretty soon they move on. Can’t explain the appearance of a Grey Wagtail but nice to see all the same, as was a singing Meadow Pipit, the first here since the migrants sang briefly in April.
This was as good as it got, so I made my way up to Cockerham, Braides Farm and the high tide. Lots of Skylarks here, with at least 8 singing males with 3 birds seen feeding young, unfortunately for me all of those in rough, cattle-filled fields where ringers fear to tread.
Many of the young Lapwings are now large enough to run and even break into flight, with the first signs of post-breeding flocking being a gang of 15-20 birds doing so. A good count of Curlew here with a count of 45 birds, probably all adults as any young will still be on the fells or fields. A couple of oddities here too with a single Wigeon on the sea and 2 drake Teal hiding in the ditches until the tide moved them. I hardly ever count the Shelduck here, but looking through them in the distance revealed the Wigeon and also a posse of Eider, 2 males and 4 females, the colourful males displaying to more brown, unlovely things.
After the celebrations most folk go back to work tomorrow. I’m afraid that for me for me it’s just more birding, but someone has to do it.