After yesterday’s exertion of a ringing session out on the moss today’s stroll and undemanding birding along the sea wall at Pilling proved something of a doddle, the biggest challenge being the search for new photographs to keep blog readers satisfied. After a couple of hours I’d seen a handy selection of species and even managed a couple of pictures.
The last week has seen a tremendous push south of Willow Warblers, both big arrivals, lesser parties and ones and twos dotted all along the Lancashire and Cheshire coastline, so as I set off walking from Lane Ends I wasn’t surprised to add to the tally with 2 in the immediate trees. There was then nothing to see until Pilling Water where a female Sparrowhawk circled briefly over the wildfowler’s pools before heading off in the direction of Lane Ends. I noted a single Wheatear atop a direction sign and then a couple of Linnets along the shore. This Wheatear wasn't interested in a free mealworm in exchange for a shiny new ring.
Sat down I watched as the tide rolled in from the west, pushing waders, wildfowl and miscellaneous ahead of it: 440 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 60 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Snipe, 8 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 8 Wigeon, 190 Teal, 44 Shelduck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret and 3 Grey Heron. One of the herons obliged with a fly past just within camera range but in the main everything keeps a safe distance from any pedestrians on the wall, most of all the resident Peregrine which stays near the incoming tide where opportunities for lunch constantly arise.
As the tide turned I heard a croaking but distant Raven and turned to see not one, but two of them heading over and west towards Fluke Hall, dwarfing the Carrion Crows as they went. There’d been a number of Swallows hawking over the tide, some moving west, others seemingly still locals, and I jotted 30+ in my notebook, plus a Kestrel now hovering over the full-in tide.
The tide had pushed hundreds of gulls onto the fields of Backsands Lane and Damside so I promised myself a quick look on the way back through the village. The count was 400 Black-headed Gull, 20+ Common Gull and a single Mediterranean Gull, the birds constantly moving as cyclists and vehicles passed slowly by. The distant Med needed a heavy crop and as they say, it’s “a record shot”.
Tune in soon for more news from Another Bird Blog. This week I’m linking with Stewart's World Bird Wednesday http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.co.uk - take a look. Stewart is a fellow bird ringer but lives a few miles away in Australia.