Yes I know the best birders get up early to catch the worm but sometimes a lie-in just seems a good option, especially after a run of icy mornings with not much doing. So waiting until lunch time I set off for Pilling hoping to see a freshly arrived Wheatear, perhaps hear a Chiffchaff, or watch a Sand Martin or Swallow hurrying north - anything really which might indicate the arrival of Spring.
Not much at Lane Ends itself, just a pair of Canada Geese and a pair of Greylags seeing who could make the most noise above the trilling of the Little Grebe pair on the smaller west pool. The morning must have warmed up. I disturbed a Peacock Butterfly from the grass and it rested on the path momentarily before flying off; my first butterfly of the year before my first Wheatear or Swallow - now there was a surprise.
All the bird action seemed to be nearer Pilling Water with several Meadow Pipits, leftovers from the morning rush hour I’d perhaps missed. There was no sign of any Wheatears ready for the pepper pot of meal worms stashed in the camera bag. The pools proved quite rewarding with singles of both Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, two species which could be the most unapproachable bird species on the planet, bettered only by our Common Redshank.
There was a good selection of wildfowl too, refugees from the shooting season but still as wary as ever and giving a sporting chance of a picture when they flew about the pools expecting a volley of shots from guns not a camera. I counted 18 Teal, 8 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 4 Shelduck and just 2 Mallard.
Teal and Pintail
On the marsh there are still 300+ Pink-footed Geese perhaps reluctant to head north without a following wind. More Shelduck too, another 40+.
One singing Skylark, 1 Little Egret and a few more Meadow Pipits highlighted the stroll back to Lane Ends, otherwise little sign of true April.
More news and surprises on Another Bird Blog soon. In the meantime take a look at Anni's Skimmers .