Saturday, July 27, 2013

Toughing It Out

My early morning car journey produced another Barn Owl this morning, the bird flying across Head Dyke Lane just ahead of a cyclist. So close was the owl the cyclist might well have been surprised enough to stop for a closer look. He didn't, so maybe he needed to get to work and not clock in late after lingering to bird watch. 

I had about five seconds with the owl before it continued on its way across the roadside fields. Further along the road a Kestrel sat atop a roadside pole. After a horrific winter and spring Kestrels in these parts are definitely scarce this year with my own sightings limited to one or two a week. I fear many starved to death in the new year. 

Kestrel

There's been a high turnover of birds at Conder Green this week, the twice a day very high tides serving to clear birds from the marsh, many being pushed firstly into the creeks and eventually to the pool beyond. But when I arrived at Conder this morning there wasn't much doing on the pool or in the creek so counts are on the low side. 

After high counts of Little Egrets this week, think of a number between 1 and 16, today just two. Three Grey Heron, one on the pool, two on the marsh. One Greenshank, 35 Redshank, 24 Lapwing, 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Little Ringed Plover. Yes, the plover that has been playing hide-and-seek with birders reappeared along the muddy edges before quickly trotting off to conceal itself on the back pool. Two Stock Doves and 2 Pied Wagtails picked through the muddy margins where the swans and now the cattle are doing a splendid job of turning it to wader heaven. 

 The wildfowl at least are mostly consistent even though I couldn't see/find any Little Grebe today, just 1 Goldeneye, 2 Wigeon, the Tufted Ducks with 4 young, and 4 Canada Goose. 

Canada  Goose

Goldeneye

Wigeon

Lots of Swifts this morning, 40+ here at Conder with 15 more at Glasson. A decent number of Swallows at Glasson, with 30+ hawking the walkways, the yacht basin and the dock. 

Barn Swallow

Black-headed Gull

There were 8+ Whitethroats alongside the churchyard and the canal tow-path, all skulking in the flower-filled brambles. It's going to be one hell of a year for blackberries. I stopped to take a picture of a family of Mute Swans, Mr Swan being especially assertive and more than a liitle aggressive. I reminded him that I may well have upended him to fit that blue ring some years ago, and if necessary I could defend myself. 

Whitethroat

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Linking today to Weekly Top ShotCamera Critters and Anni's Blog.

21 comments:

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Superb pictures.. Congrats..

Rajesh said...

Beautiful birds. They all look so sweet.

TexWisGirl said...

sweet shots! beautiful.

Carol L McKenna said...

All very beautiful and wonderful photography ~ love how some of them seem to look right into the camera ~ well done! Thanks ^_^

eileeninmd said...

Sorry to hear about the Kestrel decline, they are beautiful birds. Phil, you have a wonderful collection of birds and photos on this post. Have a great weekend and happy birding.

Karen said...

Beauty shots! What a great variety.

Chris Rohrer said...

Most excellent! Some more great birds!

Wally Jones said...

A good morning of birding!
Even five seconds with a Barn Owl would make my day!

I hope your Kestrels rebound from the winter. It will be interesting to see the breeding bird data on our local sub-species, the Southeastern American Kestrel. I found a family of four a couple of weeks ago but I think overall the nesting numbers have been low.

Thank you for the wonderful pictures, even of the ungrateful Swan! He knows he looks better with that ankle bracelet!

Findlay Wilde said...

I don't think the Swan is an obstruction. From Findlay

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely photos! The kestrel is my favorite, such a handsome bird.

HansHB said...

Lovely post!
Great photos!

Gary said...

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

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil Fantastic set of photos in this post. Havve a great weekend. Margaret

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Great post and fantastic shots. Have a great weekend.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Sad story about the beautiful little kestrel. A beautiful series of fascinating photos.

Carole M. said...

I like the whitethroat, and isn't that just a very traditional pose for the kestrel, atop of the post and looking at you so sweetly

Isidro Ortiz said...

Estupendas capturas.Un abrazo

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wonderful photos!

Huldra said...

Beautiful serie of good looking birds :)

Greetings from Huldra in Norway :)

Ken Schneider said...

Beautiful shots and interesting observations. American Kestrels have been declining as well. The only possible kestrel nest tree I ever found in my neighborhood was cut down.

Anni said...

As far as I know this area of Texas has no swan [of any kind] so...seeing that you shared the beautiful one here made my heart skip a beat. Love the white throat. It's darling.

And as for owls...they're here, but I have only seen ONE in the whole entire decade. And then again, it was in the tree, hidden so well, I'm not sure WHAT kind of owl. I have a photo of it...maybe some day I'll share it at I'd Rather B Birdin' and ask for assistance in IDing.

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