I nearly didn’t go out after watching this morning’s weather forecast depicting wind and rain, that and also worrying about getting home on time for a midday appointment. But then the sun was out, the wind seemed no worse than of late, the sky didn’t look too ominous and so off I went.
After tons of overnight rain a check of a few flooded fields was in order, first Backsands Lane and then Braides Farm. There was absolutely nothing at Pilling where the flood is almost too close to the busy lane, but the distant flood of Braides held a wealth of birds: 60 Teal, 140 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 18 Dunlin and 30 Curlew, with lots of birds hidden by the far-off uneven ground and ditches. Even though I have permission to walk the area, to do so would only serve to scatter the many birds in all directions; so I stayed put, watching from the car and pondering if there could be a more unapproachable gathering of birds than one which includes watchful and nervous Teal, Redshank, Lapwing and Curlew. There were a good number of Swallows over the fields too, at least 70 feeding low down in the windy conditions, and still a few House Martins.
At Lane Ends the sun was definitely out with the clouds too far away to do any immediate damage so a walk to Pilling Water beckoned. I almost walked past the Goldcrest in the plantation, but because it was very close to the path I just heard its thin calls above the sway of the trees and then on reaching the gate a Little Egret was heading for the shelter of the trees surrounding the pool. Further along I was to find another 9 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron.
At Pilling Water; more Swallows c40, 100 Goldfinch, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 2 Linnet, 4 Wheatear and 1 Kingfisher, with the latter two species about to provide the almost, the nearly, the not quite, the frustration that ringers, birders and photographers know only too well. First came the Wheatears, dodging about the meal worm traps, showing all the signs of taking the bait until two people came along intent on walking over my traps and sending the Wheatears along the sea wall to Knott End. Cursing while retrieving the traps I saw one of them had been sprung with no sign of the meal worm in the hair grip. They do that sometimes the Wheatears, take the bait without so much as a thank you. Ten minutes later the strollers were on their same way back as the traps found their way back in the shoulder bag for another, less trying day.
Hi-Fly man had been and gone with the sacks of wheat, so had all the Teal, with just small groups motoring back from the tideline, diving for the cover of the deep ditches now the coast was clear. The Peregrine, a juvenile today, flew over heading for the pool near Fluke Hall where there might be more Teal for breakfast. But I’d heard a Kingfisher so sat down in the grassy bank. The Kingfisher came near, too close for comfort as I dropped low in the grass with the stems and seed heads obscuring the lens. I clicked once; the Kingfisher saw me and off it sped across the pool and out of sight.
Better luck next time. Hopefully soon an Another Bird Blog.
This week I’m linking with I'd Rather-B-Birdin and Paying Ready Attention Photo Gallery– take a look see.