There was a Barn Owl hunting the fields next to Head Dyke Lane this morning - almost inevitable for an early morning in July. Just as predictable was the way it veered across the landscape and out of sight as the car drew level. Never mind, I was to enjoy a good few hours birding and a bit of photography quite soon.
When I arrived at Conder Green there was the usual gaggle of Redshank and Greenshank in the creek and a smaller bird amongst them. When I studied the bird more closely it turned put to be a Curlew Sandpiper, an adult in partial summer plumage, the species an annual visitor in small numbers to these parts.
The Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) is a small wader that breeds on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. It is strongly migratory, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in south and southeast Asia and in Australasia. It is a vagrant to North America. These birds are slightly larger than the closely related Dunlin, but differ from Dunlin in having a longer down-curved bill, longer neck and legs and a white rump. The breeding adult has patterned dark grey upperparts and brick-red underparts, the reds in the plumage giving rise to the Latin ferruginea. In winter, this bird is pale grey above and white below, and shows an obvious white supercilium. Juveniles have a greyer and brown back, a white belly and a peach-coloured breast.
There were other waders sandpipers about too, the presumed same Green Sandpiper of recent days plus the more reliable and numerous Common Sandpipers, nine or ten today. Redshank totalled 40, Greenshanks 4, Lapwing 15, Curlew 6, Oystercatcher 8, Spotted Redshank 1, and Snipe 1.
Looks like Little Egrets have now arrived in autumnal numbers as I counted 8 on the pool this morning and 2 more in the creek, but only 1 Grey Heron. One or two of the Egrets were quite obliging if I kept out of sight and provided the large vehicles leaving Glasson Dock didn't noisily park up overlooking the pool. Glasson is two minutes down the road so why do these wagons stop so soon again after leaving the docks? Beats me.
Wildfowl numbers remain the same – 2 Little Grebe, 2 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck,4 Canada Goose. A Kingfisher put in a brief appearance at the sluice gate, sitting there long enough for me to rattle off a few distant shots before it streaked off towards the canal.
Up at Glasson I counted 15 Swifts screaming overhead, 2 Common Terns paying a quick visit, 10 Tufted Duck on the yacht basin and a single Grey Heron in the accustomed spot.
Narrow Boats at Glasson
After neglecting Pilling Lane Ends for few weeks I decided to pay a visit on the way home today. There wasn't much doing apart from a Marsh Harrier half way to Heysham and had I stayed for the midday tide the bird would almost certainly have showed closer in.
Otherwise 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Stock Dove, 3 Grey Heron and 1 Buzzard.
More news from Another Bird Blog very soon.