Following the coldest spring for 50 years today is June 1st, the start of the “flaming” month - we’ll see. June is traditionally the time when many birders hang up their bins for a while, get out the paint brushes and garden tools to catch up on the jobs they promised to do months ago but for which they never quite found the time. I got another stay of execution when Sue went off to Manchester shopping, so with it being a bit too windy for painting or mowing the lawn I headed off birding, hoping for a few bits and bobs.
The morning started fairly well at Lane Ends with a pulli Lapwing, one of two I saw a couple of days ago but then too far into the field alongside a busy road. This morning the now single chick was yards away from the previous spot but now just the other side of a handily situated and easily vaulted gate. The chick was a good deal bigger and more mature than ones I ringed earlier in the week, so with luck should survive to flying stage. Between here and Fluke Hall there have probably been 15 breeding pairs, with I’m told by a fellow birder, about 15 pairs up at Braides. There’s nothing much in between except for many hundreds of sheep munching the fields to bowling green height or more grass to feed even more animals through the winter.
Things look fairly grim again for the iconic Lapwing, the adopted symbol of many local organisations keen to promote their green credentials. A peek online at the BTO ringing totals for Lancashire showed that only 49 Lapwings were ringed in the county in 2012, a pretty miserable total given how common and widespread the species was not too many years ago when it was easy to find many, many Lapwings.
There’s a pair of Chaffinch nesting in the roadside hawthorns at Lane Ends, the male not wanting to give the game away but sitting stubbornly on the fence as the bright morning light frustrated any chance of a good exposure.
At Lane Ends several Wood Pigeons were feeding alongside the plantation and two Stock Doves on the marsh, all clattering off at my approach. In the clumps of phragmites 2 Reed Warblers could be heard above the rush of the wind through the trees, while along the sea wall the Corn Bunting’s song resonated from the barbed-wire fence. There doesn’t seem to be a female, the male feeding amongst the grasses on the sea wall until disturbed when it flies to the fence and begins to sing.
There weren’t too many birds towards Fluke Hall but apart from the same nagging westerly it was an outstanding morning for a walk in the sun. A small number of Linnets and Goldfinches flew over while the Skylarks continue their mysterious comings and goings. Turning back towards Lane Ends I could see the Kestrel again flying over the marsh and sending the Lapwings and Redshanks into a frenzy of anxiety for their youngsters below.
The Kestrel got nothing again but rather like a birder, a ringer or someone with a camera he’ll be back later hoping for better luck.
Visit Another Bird Blog soon to see photographs of a newly painted shed and a freshly cut lawn. You’d better believe it.
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