Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Circuit

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. 

Barn Owl

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. 

Brown Hare

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. 

Grey Heron

Little Egret

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.

 Pink-footed Goose

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. 

Curlew

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.

20 comments:

Mama Zen said...

Gorgeous shot of the owl!

Daniel LaFrance said...

Barn owls are rare and endangered... wonderful find and capture.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas Phil,la Lechuza es preciosa.Un abrazo

Wally Jones said...

Well, a good report and I love your quality photos. However, it's disconcerting to hear about the local Gray Heron decline. Our similar Great Blue Heron seems so hardy and adaptable.

Hope the Barn Owl ate well!

Best Regards, Wally

Carole M. said...

great images again Phil; and you sure would be getting sick of the cold mornings ... move along Spring!

Russell Jenkins said...

A nice collection of birds and great photos. I hope it rains enough to help the waders. Rained enough here on the weekend.

Chris Rohrer said...

It's coming :-) it was 93° here yesterday. But rain! Cod use some ourselves. Hang in there!

CabinGirl said...

Neat collection of birds, Phil!

eileeninmd said...

Phil, I love your Barn Owl. I wish I could see one here, they are a little more of a rare sighting. Sounds like a great day of birding. I also love the Hare and the Curlew! Happy Birding!

HansHB said...

Lovely photo! Nice to see!

Ken Schneider said...

I must keep an eye out for either the Gray Heron or the Little Egret, as they are so similar to our Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets. Love those owls!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Awe, you must know that I am one reader who enjoys the Owls, Little, Barn, or others! Your Curlew is so beautiful and wow, that Hare is magnificent...what a handsome looking chap!

mick said...

Great photos and an interesting post. I wonder if the Heron decline is just seasonal or permanent? Each year we see fewer migratory shorebirds. Such declines are very concerning.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Another wonderful day of birding (and I love to see rabbits). The owl is fabulous, yes. But the part that amazes me is the sheer number of wonderful birds you see every single time! I am envious, but delighted that you share.

It is sad to hear about the gray heron.

Karen said...

All terrific shots. Love the geese in flight!

Carole M. said...

I especially liked the Barn Owl and the Curlew this series ...

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely shots! I don't know what it is about owls, but they are special.

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Arija said...

LOVE THE BIRDS IN YOUR POST, BUT EVEN MORE THE KINGFISHER IN YOUR HEADER.

EG CameraGirl said...

Great finds! How sad the grey herons are in decline.

I would love to see a barn owl!

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