The start was just as predicted, bright, cool bordering on cold, but also breezy - OK for birding, but no good for ringing so a trip to Pilling became the order of the day.
I know blog readers like owls because they mostly tell me so, especially when there are pictures of Little Owls. It wasn’t a Little Owl which kicked the morning off but a Barn Owl once again. Distant as usual I managed a few pictures of the owl before it went on its ghostly way across the fields and searching for a breakfast of fresh meat.
There was a Brown Hare alongside the same track, far too big an item for a Barn Owl to tackle, but small leverets and baby rabbits are prey items along with the more commonly eaten rats, voles, shrews and mice.
At Fluke Hall a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler sang from the roadside trees while 3 Siskins fed in the topmost branches. Away from the shelter of the trees the cool and increasing wind speed made for hard work and small numbers - 2 White Wagtail, 3 Linnet, 2 Wheatear, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Meadow Pipit. On the marsh below the sea wall a single Little Egret fed and a Grey Heron flew off towards the tide - Will was telling me yesterday how the Claughton heronry near the A6 has just two pairs of Grey Heron in residence this year compared to over 100 pairs at its peak several years ago. No wonder then that Little Egret is now more common locally than Grey Heron.
Lane Ends and Pilling Water proved more productive than Fluke. The plantation held 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Chiffchaff and a single Lesser Redpoll. The pools and marsh had 2 Little Grebe, 4 Little Egret and 2 Whimbrel with a couple of Swallows and House Martins feeding over the sheltered water.
The walk to Pilling Water and beyond turned up a Common Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Linnet, 6 Skylark, 6 Wheatear, 200+ Pink-footed Geese, 2 Alba wagtails and several more Meadow Pipits.
The year is now turning into a dry one whereby the wader fields beyond Pilling Water are dry and dusty, not good when soggy patches and puddles with emerging vegetation are required to hide and feed newly born wader chicks. At the moment there’s not much growth to hide any adults sitting on eggs either, fields only recently rolled and seeded where Lapwings, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlews stand out like colourful blots on the pale brown landscape.
Nearly lunch time, the showers arrived on cue and I headed home to blog. Maybe the rain and a touch of warm air will make the grass grow, the trees blossom and the warblers sing?
Please log in soon to Another Bird Blog and find out. In the meantime you can log onto Stewart's Gallery for more birds from around the world.