Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Early Bird…..

Didn’t catch the worm, just the 0815 tide and an hour or two at Knott End before the domestic arrangements took over. Waders and wildfowl: 900 Oystercatcher, 80 Redshank, 90 Turnstone, 230 Knot, 18 Sanderling, 6 Curlew, 30 Shelduck, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret and 1 Eider. Where are the Eider ducks this winter? And as a possible answer to the question, we normally experience a wintering Eider overflow from the colony centred across the bay at Walney Island, with maybe a few of our own birds which breed not far away along the River Wyre. So as pure speculation let’s blame the appalling summer again, as even an Eider’s down couldn’t afford much protection to an egg or  duckling from the cold and wet of June, July and August. 

There are often comments from blog readers about the actual numbers of waders in these parts, perhaps incredulous of the hundreds or thousands of a particular species. It is explained by the fact that just here on the Fylde coast and where I am so lucky to live, is the southern expanse of the Internationally Important Morecambe Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). I am afraid that most birders, and probably me included, rather take for granted the truism without necessarily appreciating and enjoying the splendour for themselves.  What's that old saying which starts "familiarity.... "?

Even as the tide runs in Sanderlings and Turnstones continue to feed as long as possible, but while the Oystercatchers are content to sit it out on the sands or a convenient rock, they keep a watchful eye open.

Sanderling

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Passerines: 6 Goldfinch, 5 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit and 2 Rock Pipit 

Here in coastal North West England Meadow Pipits are numerous passage migrants in both spring and autumn and also a species which winters in small numbers. Until recent years they bred in good numbers, but more lately the number of breeding pairs is much reduced. In contrast our Rock Pipits are both spring and autumn migrants, but mainly winter visitors in small numbers during the months of November to March. A Rock Pipit differs from the similar and closely related Meadow Pipit in that it has darker legs, rather broad streaks down its breast and overall dark plumage. Just to confuse, both species habitually spend time in both rocks and meadows.

Rock Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Yet again the forecast isn’t too good for birding on Sunday or even Monday, but as ever Another Bird Blog will keep a watchful eye on proceedings and be out there in there thick of it as soon as possible. So log in soon. 

In the meantime Another Bird Blog expands its horizons for the next seven days to Weekly Top Shot, I'd Rather Be Birding and Paying Ready Attention Photo Gallery - give them all a visit for a new experience and lots of photographs.

30 comments:

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I feel like I'm repeating my comments over and over, but these are so beautiful! Love the focus and all the variety you seem to have there.

Island Rambles Blog said...

what a lovely birdy posting...you sure have a lot of shorebirds there...we have a Redknot and Brown Pelicans and Snowy Owls on our shore right now. The pipits are so cute.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful bird pictures and I really appreciated the explanation of why there are so many shorebirds in your area (and I'd like to move there -- it would take me a long time to take all that for granted ;>)

Choy Wai Mun said...

You are one lucky birder indeed. What I would give to see such a huge flock of Oystercatchers! Great shots, by the way.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Great shots!!!.. Interesting birds and explanation.. Congrat..

bettyl said...

How wonderful to see such a variety of birds. Your photos are so clean and clear and pretty to view :)

Isidro Ortiz said...

Bonitas capturas Phil,las del Ostrero me gustan mucho.Un abrazo

Anne (cornucopia) said...

What a delight it was to come here! Wonderful bird photos!

eileeninmd said...

Phil, you are lucky to live in such a great area. Wonderful birds and photos! Happy Birding!

Madge Bloom said...

Love that buried beak and bright red eye peeking out... Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #58!

Rohrerbot said...

You really get some amazing birds and I think I would never sleep. I'm up at 4 in the morning sometimes getting ready to bird. In a place your area, I'd have a hard time working a full time job. I'd be birding non stop:) Your photos are always amazing. Love the Oystercatchers. I've only see the American Oystercatchers. .....so these are super cool:) Hope you had a good start to your week!

Gary Jones said...

Great post and photos Phil, since moving down to North Wales, I do really miss the Fylde Coast, but having fun find new areas down here!!

alp said...

Preciosas imagenes. Un abrazop desde Murcia.

Ken Schneider said...

You made a great haul at the turn of the tide! Great birds!

Pam :) said...

You picked the perfect time and tide to capture some amazing birds, Phil.
Nicely done!

Findlay Wilde said...

Great selection of birds, from Findlay

Karen said...

A great series of shorebirds, love the oystercatcher!

Gary said...

Great eyes on the oyster catcher. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

mick said...

All great photos but the Oystercatchers are especially interesting as they look just slightly different from the ones I see.

TexWisGirl said...

that meadow pipit portrait is superb! beautiful shorebirds, too.

TexWisGirl said...

(yes, the ibis is at our pond that sort of wraps around one side of our 9-sided gazebo-shaped house). :)

HansHB said...

Nice post, perfect for WBW!

Adam Jones said...

I love the Rock Pipit. I saw my first this year on Anglesey. Great shots all round though.

EG CameraGirl said...

Cool shots of the oystercatcher!

Neil said...

Interesting series.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - great pictures. We have an important wetland near us - its an old sewage works! And people can't believe the number of waders there either! I

I was pretty impressed when I saw them!

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M - Melbourne

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Sweet face on the Meadow Pippit, but the shorebirds, what beauties and the image of the Oystercatcher, with it's head tucked over, GORGEOUS! Have a HAPPY~

Wally Jones said...

A very informative post with top-notch images. Thank you! Any thoughts on the decline of the Meadow Pipit? Loss of habitat? Cyclical?

Phil said...

Wally - A quote from the BTO - The CBC/BBS trend has been downward since the mid 1970s, accompanied by a range contraction from lowland England (Gibbons et al. 1993). Meadow Pipits are partial migrants and conditions on the Iberian wintering grounds have been linked to the decline, as have losses of marginal land from parts of the breeding range (Gibbons et al. 1993). Moorland, the key Meadow Pipit habitat, was not covered well by the CBC, leading to some doubt about the significance of the early results for this species, but BBS now provides more representative monitoring and has enabled the species to move from the green to the amber list. Nest failure rates during the 12-day nestling stage have declined markedly, which may reflect the loss of birds from suboptimal habitat, but no trend is evident in the number of fledglings per breeding attempt. A trend towards earlier laying is probably related to climate change (Crick & Sparks 1999). A widespread moderate decline is evident across Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2011a).

Dave said...

Love Sanderlings, a quality bird. Was recently sat perched watching a small flock of 50 Sanderling feeding on the beach slowely edging their way into my focus point, I got record shots galore, but they were coming slowley but shorley..... of course the dog walker ruined all that as its beast ploughed straight up the baech and sent them flying, not to be seen again. Long story about a wonderful bird.
Dave

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