Yes, That Was The Wet Week That Was, a dismal 5 days of rain which left Another Bird Blog with zero news and even less in the way of photographs. The weather relented a little on Friday morning to allow a trip out.
Yards from home on Smithy Lane the rowan tree with rapidly depleting berries has looked good for a Waxwing or two. This morning I discovered the culprit to be a Mistle Thrush, too wary to hang around, even as I repositioned the camera from the car window.
The Common Birds Census Index for Mistle Thrush in the UK shows that this is another species losing out to the demands of the human race, probably by more than 33% over 30 years, with over half of that decline attributed to losses on farmland plots. This decline is certainly true locally where although never as common as the related Blackbird and Song Thrush, Mistle Thrushes are pretty hard to come by.
Next stop Fluke Hall Lane for 12 Tree Sparrow, 4 Reed Bunting, 1 Kestrel, 6 Skylark, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 12 Blackbirds and a single Redwing. On the wet fields, just a dozen or so Redshanks sharing the flood with 8 Whooper Swans; I was to see all of the Whoopers soon enough.
The remainder of the Whooper Swans were further north at Cockerham, entrenched on a very wet stubble field, with as I watched, a number of laggards still flying in for a feed up. After a couple of tries I settled on a figure of 470 birds, the highest number I have seen locally. I agree the distant flock doesn’t look like 470 Whoopers, but in places the birds are ten and twenty deep into the field.
Whooper Swans - Cockerham Moss
Nearby - 40 Chaffinch, 15 Tree Sparrow, 14 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 1100 Starling, 40 Curlew, 1 Kestrel, 1 Little Owl.
On the way up to Conder Green I took in a view of Braides with not much doing except for 20 Lapwing and a Buzzard perched lookout on the sea wall.
Conder Green next where most of the birds were on the pool: 130 Teal, 14 Wigeon, 1 Greenshank, 5 Little Grebe, 1 Snipe. Along the railway path I found singles of Fieldfare and Redwing outnumbered by 6 Blackbird, and then up at Glasson Dock, 2 Grey Heron, 48 Tufted Duck and a Kingfisher.
Wow, that feels much better, a morning’s birding and a post at last. Long may it continue on Another Bird Blog - tune in soon for more news and views.