Following 180 minutes at Pilling this morning my notebook was pretty full but the camera devoid of new pictures. That’s the way it goes sometimes, the birds just don’t cooperate. So sorry folks, it’s my archive pics today to illustrate the morning’s effort.
Jays are so noisy that one can’t but help knowing they are around although getting a clear view of this shy species can be a lot harder. From the series of raucous calls I could tell that more than one was somewhere in the Lane Ends plantation, a glimpse of a white rump the best I could manage on this occasion.
After complaining recently about the shortage of both Kestrels and Sparrowhawks, today I saw both species, a male Sparrowhawk cruising the marsh before circling above the trees, then within minutes, a juvenile Kestrel hunting from the fence posts. There was also a Buzzard hiding somewhere in the trees and calling to be fed by nowhere-to-be-seen parents.
The plantation and pools are now very overgrown, desperate for sympathetic management to improve the area for visitors who might want to watch birds, study insects or botanise rather than walk a dog or join in the after-hours activities. Trying to speak to or make contact with anyone in the Environment Agency is like Waiting for Godot, and I’m not expecting a reply to emails of several months ago or for anyone to actually lift a ringing telephone.
I walked to Fluke and back via Pilling Water. There was a Corn Bunting in song from the roadside wires next to HiFly wheat fields, the second time in a week at the same spot so I guess there’s some sort of late breeding taking place. It’s a pretty good record for the species, especially in the light of my numerous sightings from the same area during May and June. The Corn Bunting's bright pink legs are a noteworthy characteristic, trailing as they do like the wires of a parachute before the bird lands on fluttering wings at its singing perch or feeding site.
There were also 3 Skylark here, a single and a pair busily flying to and from the thick maize crop and carrying small items of food, another late breeding success. A seven-whistling Whimbrel flew over, disturbed off the sands beyond by a biker touring the incoming tide. Two Grey Herons came off the marsh and flew inland as I settled down at Pilling Water to watch the tide approach.
Masses of Curlew formed the bulk of the distant birds with over 650 birds my count. Also, 380 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 6 Snipe, 11 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, 4 Little Egret, 11 Shelduck and 19 Teal.
A number of the Dunlin and Ringed Plover flew straight over my head, high and heading south, not for hanging about here at Pilling.
There are lots of thistles along the sea wall but a dire shortage of Goldfinches and Linnets to take advantage, my count of three hours being 2 Linnet and 6 Goldfinch, a pitiful number for August when there should be swarms of both. Maybe they are all taking advantage of the continued warm weather to raise another family - let’s hope so.
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