Saturday was a little fraught with the domestic complications of Sue’s expired laptop and a deceased TV, leaving no time to update the blog but instead a visit to the shops to replace said items. Now on Sunday the weather is diabolical with more wind and rain, so as I’m stuck indoors here’s an update from Saturday.
Unlike the visit to Comet, Saturday’s birding didn’t break the bank with the morning providing a little recompense in the shape of another Wheatear caught from a new threesome along the sea wall at Pilling. That’s five trapped in September, fourteen for the year and now almost into October, possibly the last until next spring. This latest one, an adult male, took the mealworm bait in seconds, after which and upon examination the bird appeared very thin and felt lightweight suggesting overnight arrival. It’s doubtful there are any UK adult males around by now and while the wing length of 100mm lies near the top of the range for nominate oenanthe at 95-102mm, it fitted more closely the values for Icelandic leucorhoa at 99-107mm. In addition the whole bird was a brightly coloured specimen.
The remainder of the few hours resembles jottings of recent days: 1200 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Barnacle Goose, 265+ Shelduck, 700 Teal, 250+ Wigeon, 18+ Pintail, 3 Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron. Many of the ducks came off the wildfowler’s pools and headed out to the marsh but both their presence and the numbers in the pools at any one time is unpredictable. The tide was slightly too low to concentrate waders which gave rather small and less than totally accurate counts of 270+ Lapwing, 90 Golden Plover, 15 Redshank, 300 + Curlew and 4 Snipe with many birds remaining at Preesall Sands. A single juvenile Peregrine appeared again, the bird causing mass panic when it chased low across the marsh and scattered everything in its very fast path.
The couple of hours gave a steady trickle of Swallows heading west, probably 40+, with other “small stuff” represented by 40 Goldfinch, 10/12 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail and 18 Skylark, the latter species beginning to appear in larger numbers in recent days, just as as the Swallows leave our shores for the warmth of Africa.
I had a text from Will who is in Scotland - “Siskins by the hundreds if not thousands heading south daily. First Redwings yesterday.”