The weather wasn’t as good as the forecast promised this morning with spits and spots of the dreaded stuff from the off, although it was infinitely better than of late allowing a spot of birding. Knott End was first the port of call for a walk up river and a look at the rising tide due to peak at 10 o’clock.
There was a good selection of waders with 1900 Oystercatcher and 250+ Knot mixed in the flock, 18 Redshank, 6 Turnstone, c300 more distant Curlew and a single Grey Heron along the tide line. Wildfowl numbers are much lower and yet to build: 90 Shelduck, 3 Red-breasted Merganser and just 3 Eider.
There was very little evidence of any visible migration this morning, the highlight being a Lesser Redpoll which seemed to arrive from the North West before continuing south and up river followed by a few calls of high-up Meadow Pipits. There’s a gang of finches which hangs about near the Bourne Arms and the salt marsh, today numbering c 60 Goldfinch and c15 Linnet. It was a quiet walk up river with no shouts of golfers today, just the silence of the flooded fairway and the noise of Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers and a couple of Redshank taking advantage of the new feeding opportunity. 40+ Jackdaws feeding here too.
Knott End Golf Club
The brightening sky sent me up to Pilling and Lane Ends, avoiding some flooded roads which are passable with care only. A couple of hours of walk and watch produced a lot of very active Pink-footed Goose, coming and going between the marsh and Hi-Fly fields with an estimate of 5500 +. In addition to these there are many birds feeding inland, with the best time to complete a full count either at dawn when the geese fly from their marshland roost in search of food, or in the evening when they fly back out to the marsh to roost for the night.
It’s never easy to get a photograph of the pinkies: they are so wild and wary that the slightest movement of a lens sends them up and away from the device pointed in their direction, and where the birds pack so tightly that inevitably one or more birds are obscured by others. In the last sentence substitute the word “gun” for “lens” to explain why our pinkies are so wary throughout the winter months. But then we aren't as wicked as the people in some Mediterranean countries - are we?
A few bits and pieces at Pilling Water, namely the now resident Kingfisher, 4 Wheatears moving rapidly west, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Skylark, 1 Kestrel, 15 Linnet and 2 Red-breasted Merganser. The Peregrine was having fun out on the marsh, constantly harassing the masses of Teal and Wigeon, very distant after the only medium tide dropped, but in excess of 800 Teal and 200 Wigeon.
Today I noticed a distinct lack of Swallows, my count from Pilling being completed on one hand as October draws near.
There’s more from Another Bird Blog soon. In the meantime and to finish on here’s a petition that every birder should sign End The Slaughter .