Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday Afternoon, Sunday Morning.

On Saturday afternoon the sea was flat calm at Knott End, the sun so bright the water so tranquil that out there hundreds of yards away I could see a Great Crested Grebe, 18+ Shelduck, 14 Eider and 3 Scaup, the latter being 2 males and a female; the female took a brief flight and even at that distance the blaze above her bill showed clear and bright. Looking on other websites I see that at a similar time the Scaup were noted off Rossall Point, Fleetwood. 

The sea was incredibly smooth as can be seen in the picture below which shows passengers disembarking from the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry. It is no surprise then that on flat tides the same birds can often be seen from both sides of the estuary as they drift on incoming and outgoing tides. 

Greater Scaup - Photo credit: milesizz / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND 

Knott End to Fleetwood Ferry

The Scaup, (Aythya marila) is better known in North America as Greater Scaup, that continent also blessed with the similar Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis). Because in the UK there is only the one scaup species, most birders drop the “Greater” and simply call the bird Scaup. 

Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Knot and Redshank are dependable at Knott End and I had counts of 1900 Oystercatcher, 80 Knot, 22 Turnstone, 65 Sanderling and 75 Redshank. Also 1 Meadow Pipit and 2 Pied Wagtail. 

Sanderling
 
I rose early on Sunday. I was up and running so quick that I decided to detour over the moss and perhaps see a morning Barn Owl. No luck there, just a Kestrel in the half light and a scarce Mistle Thrush along Union Lane. At Cockerham I found my Barn Owl sat on a roadside post, but the car’s oncoming headlights spooked the bird away and over towards its barn. Not to worry, the owl made for a good start to a bird filled morning. 

I wasn’t having much luck with the camera at Conder Green when the Kingfisher didn’t want to know and the 16 Wigeon, 6 Little Grebe, 5 Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Egret all stayed on the far side of the pool. Still 2 Spotted Redshank and 150+ Teal in the creeks. A Robin popped up on the screen to sympathise with my pathetic photography efforts but still I couldn’t get a decent portrait. 

Black-headed Gull

Robin

Maybe I’d have better luck at Pilling? At Backsands Lane were tremendous numbers of geese spread across the pasture, probably in excess of 5000 birds.

The geese seemed remarkably tolerant this morning and although they did their usual “walkaway” when a vehicle, cyclist or passer-by showed signs of stopping, mostly the birds remained in the field for a good few hours. At one point a dog walker passed within 75 yards of the nearest geese, most with heads raised from feeding but the whole lot staying put. The telephoto lens foreshortens the picture but the geese behaviour was most unusual in this the depths of the shooting season.

 Pink-footed Geese

The only interloper I could find in the pinkies was a single Barnacle Goose, and while I can’t claim to have seen every single one of 5000+ geese, I did spend a good hour looking through them.

Barnacle Goose and Pink-footed Geese

A quick dodge around the stubble fields and the inland ditch revealed 145 Lapwing, 45 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Snipe, 32 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 32 Whooper Swan, 4 Reed Bunting and 3 Meadow Pipit. In the wood, 1 Sparrowhawk and a single Jay.

Whooper Swan

Then it was time for home. What a cracking morning of birding.

Linking today to  Stewart's Bird Gallery .

29 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Phil, great outing. I can not imagine seeing 1900 Oystercatchers. That would be cool. Love the Geese shots, Robin and the Whooper swans too. Wonderful photos, happy birding!

The happy wanderer. said...

That is a lot of Oystercatchers - I think it's a lot here if I see more than about 10 together!

Some days are like that for photography I find, but then another will make up for it.

Errol Newman said...

I enjoyed this as much as you enjoyed your outing, Phil. Brill shots of the geese and swans; hope to see more.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil. Wonderful post and outing. great number of Oystercatchers.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil. Wonderful outing and great birds found and photographed

Gunilla Bäck said...

A beautiful morning indeed. My favorite is the robin.

Stuart Price said...

Always nice to see a Barnacle Goose...........

Englepappa said...

Such beautiful bird photos! Their all nice, but I like the last one specially. Nice shot of flying swans!

Carol L McKenna said...

Always wonderful bird photography here ~ thanks, carol, xxx

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful birds and wonderful photography, Phil! I do love your birds! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a great week!

Gary Phillips said...

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

Cynthia said...

I agree -- a cracking good morning! I enjoyed reading about it.

Fun60 said...

What a day of bird watching. It must have been amazing to see so many birds at once.

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, not often I find you somewhere other than on my blog list, Phil. Great to see you at Our World Tuesday before you popped up on my list.
I'm glad you included the red ferry to Fleetwood. I love boats.
Take care.
K

mick said...

A very interesting post with great numbers of birds - especially the Oystercatchers and Geese. I especially like the Sanderling - Amazing that you photographed yours this week and I saw and photographed one this morning. They are certainly a very wide-spread shorebird!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Lovely birds and lovely scenes Phil and that was amazing that those Gesse stayed still, yet observant as the dog and man walked so near...those Whooper Swans lifting off, beautiful. Have a wonderful week~

Chrissy Brand said...

Another fine selection, I know Knott End well- used to visit friends at the Ellotson Estate there

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures - the foreshortening caused by the telephoto lens does make the dog walker look very close to the geese.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Findlay Wilde said...

That really is a cracking morning of birding. From Findlay

EG CameraGirl said...

I always enjoy photos of the European robin, so different from our American one. WOW! A whooper swan!

Camila Rafaela Felippi said...

Perfect photos! I love birds! I have a perrot, her name is Lolita!

Kenneth C Schneider said...

It's a wonder there are any oysters left! Nice assortment and numbers of birds.

HansHB said...

A lovely post for WBW, well done!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Phil, I can only imagine the numbers that you have mentioned. Lucky you!

Carole M. said...

a great outing again Phil; I do adore those robins of yours (and ours :)) too.

Karen said...

Gosh, what a lot of Oystercatchers! That Robin is so sweet, and the Whooper Swans lifting off are terrific!

Neil said...

That is a lot of Oystercatchers, beautiful photo of the Sanderling

Adam Jones said...

I love the Knot. Beautiful bird.

Arija said...

Love your robin, so like our flame robin 'down under'. A wonderful day seeing so many birds and those whooping swans taking off.

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