What a weary old week of weather! It made birding difficult and ringing impossible until Friday morning promised something better so I set off for Pilling, but hatted and gloved again in the still cold north-westerly.
Fluke Hall held a number of migrants, mostly in the sheltered sunny spots where I found 3 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap. Back of the car park in the hedgerow were 2 Whitethroats, exactly where they appear every year, plus a number of vocal and flighty Linnets, the latter only just beginning to appear as spring migrants after being noticeably absent through the winter months. Below and along the sea wall were 3 Wheatears, a single Pied Wagtail and a number of Swallows heading out north and into the teeth of the wind.
There was a Golden Pheasant in the wood; surprised I could see it amongst all the bright yellow daffodils, and I don’t think it will take the local foxes long to find the creature. Feeding quietly on a grassy field in with 15/20 similarly grey but larger Woodpigeon was a pair of Stock Doves.
Being a glutton for punishment I braved the wind again for the Lane Ends to Pilling Water stretch of sea wall. More Swallows and even House Martins along here, some feeding over the sheltered pool, others over the marsh. On the pool also, 3 Little Egret and the resident pair of Little Grebe. In the plantation were 3 Willow Warbler,1 Chiffchaff and a singing Reed Bunting. Here is becoming marginal habitat for a Reed Bunting as the place turns more to woodland each year.
Up at Pilling Water 10 Wheatears, bright “Greenland” types were scattered across the marsh all the time heading east so too mobile to have a crack at catching one or two. Waders here - 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 22 Redshank, 30+ Lapwing, 14 Oystercatcher. And still 400+ Pink-footed Goose, 48 Shelduck.
I scanned the large fields beyond Pilling Water and back towards Fluke, where Oystercatchers and Lapwings are now on eggs, bodies pressed low to the ground, heads poking up, partners and lookouts close by. The Lapwings don’t miss much, a passing Kestrel and the persistent crows receiving a good telling off, but the sight of a Buzzard spurs the Lapwing into greater things. I watched as both Lapwings and Carrion Crows dive bombed the Buzzard, more than once the wader making contact with the big raptor as it made its way back towards Fluke Hall.
I doubt the Buzzard is a threat to the Lapwing’s eggs, but it will take Lapwings chicks, as will Kestrels and Carrion Crows.
Lapwing and Buzzard
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