With more strong north westerly’s plus heavy showers merging into downpours this morning wasn’t a morning for birding heroics, more like one for sticking close to the car just in case. When I tried a walk I got soaked, but in-between times grabbed a few new photos and gleaned a bit of news for Another Bird Blog regular readers.
The flood at Braides Farm was first, where although distant the birds they were plentiful enough to scrutinise, the wary duck and waders providing lots of action: 60 Teal, 40 Wigeon, 350 Lapwing, 8 Dunlin, 6 Redshank, 20 Golden Plover, 6 Curlew, 2 Greylag, 60+ Swallow, 6 Meadow Pipit and 2 Pied Wagtail.
Bank End next, with a single Kestrel,15 Swallow, 10 Goldfinch and 6 Meadow Pipit. The pipits were feeding around a pile of tarmac planings dropped there ready for some DIY road repairs of the surface destroyed by the regular battering of high tides. Meadow Pipits are moving through the region from Iceland and Scandinavia now, on their way to France, Spain and North Africa where they spend the warm winter months until returning back north in March and April. I wish the wind and rain would stop enough to allow catching a few and the thrill of knowing from where they’ve just arrived and imagining where they are headed to when released. The Meadow Pipit is a bird neglected by many bird watchers, just a greeny-brown thing, excessively common and a tad boring perhaps?
A quick look at Conder Green and Glasson Dock next, all the time hoping the weather might relent enough for a Pilling walk. On the creek and pool: Little Egret, Little Grebe, Spotted Redshank, 5 Redshank, 4 Snipe, 20 Teal and 2 Goosander.
The car ignored the highly optimistic £1 pay- and- display sign at Glasson Dock, just splashing through the water-filled craters without paying up. Across then to a good duck viewing spot with a count of 30 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 18 Coot. Dark ducks, leaden sky, grey water - three cheers for Photoshop.
Lane Ends was where I got very wet after chancing a walk towards Fluke where crouching down, a solitary gate post provided the only shelter from a cloudburst. A good count of Pink-footed Goose here with 3000+ when they came off the maize field as a car stopped too near, followed by a count of 4000 when about 30 minutes later they gradually but purposefully left their marsh refuge to return to the unharvested maize. There’s been a continuous influx of pinkies this week with up to 10,000 reported in South-West Lancashire and counts will number many thousands until they return north next Spring.
After the deluge and while drying out on the stile I managed to count 3 Wheatear, 40 Goldfinch, 8 Redshank, 5 Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron. Maybe it was the flights of noisy geese or the attentions of a patrolling Peregrine, but the Red-legged Partridge were very jumpy today with at least 200 of them swarming over the fields and ditches. On the other hand, maybe they sense another shoot day soon?
Not the most productive birding day, but something to show after all. More soon on Another Bird Blog.