Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Right Decision

The prediction was for a short morning of decent weather followed by a strengthening wind with rain. The forecasters were spot on allowing me a couple of hours birding out Knott End way. By midday the rain had arrived and by 2pm it was time to blog. Remember to "click the pics" below for a light box view.

Readers to Another Bird Blog often comment on the numbers of Oystercatcher I see locally. The shore from Knott End, Preesall, east to Fluke Hall and further east to Cockerham is a traditional roosting area of many years standing. The roost along this relatively small stretch of the coast can peak in the autumn to 7 to 8,000 Oystercatchers and very occasionally 15,000 when the Oystercatcher population is high and full tides concentrate scattered roosts to make counting easier. My regular count of 2/3000 birds at Knott End is but tiny a fraction of the 40,000+ plus Oystercatchers that may winter in Lancashire and the 350,000 wintering population of Britain and Ireland. The Oystercatcher is a very common bird but their numbers can alter markedly if there are dramatic changes in the availability of their main prey, cockles and mussels. 

Oystercatcher

The sandbank roost was of very mixed species this morning with once again Oystercatchers to the fore: 2200 Oystercatcher, 600 Knot, 80 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 165 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 140 Redshank, 190 Lapwing, 3 Grey Plover and 14 Turnstone. On the incoming tide, just 4 Eider today, a walk along river failing to find anything other than a Pied Wagtail dodging the golfers marching along the fairway. 

Sand bank roost at Knott End

Oystercatcher

Turnstone and Knot

Knot

Sanderling

Redshank

I thought to try my luck up at Fluke Hall but there was a noisy shoot south of the hall and a recently flailed hedgerow where the waders have been hanging out for many weeks. So nothing to report except 6/8 Skylark, 6 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Meadow Pipit and masses of Red-legged Partridge. 

Better luck next time on Another Bird Blog.

By the way, did you know that this weekend The Prime Minister could cut the life from the English countryside? Join the RSPB campaign  to get David Cameron to make the right decision.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday CrittersStewart's World Bird Wednesday, I'd Rather Be Birding and Camera Critters. Take a look there's lots of birds to see.

26 comments:

Russell Jenkins said...

That's a hefty collection of all waders, Phil and your pictures are just stunning. You're having better birding weather than I am and good luck to you.

eileeninmd said...

I am glad you had a window of opportunity for some birding before the rain. The numbers Of Oystercatchers is amazing. And the sand bank roost looks like a hotspot for the birds. wonderful photos and a great post, Phil! Thank you for linking up to my Saturday's Critters. Happy Birding!

EG CameraGirl said...

I think you are so fortunate to live so close to where Oystercatchers like to roost. Your photos are wonderful.

Unknown said...

quite special love them all

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Glad you got out there while you could. I always love your flight shots. And it occurs to me that while I have seen oystercatchers often in Oregon (not like you do, but often for me) I don't think I've ever even seen one in flight.

Thanks for sharing all your beauties.

Carol L McKenna said...

Always excellent bird photography ~ beautiful!
thanks, carol, xxx

Mary Howell Cromer said...

You know Phil...I must say...you are one person who gets these birds images done properly every single time, hardly ever a miss from you. Every one of your shares is wonderful, and that is a whole lot of Oystercatchers in one area...wow.
I am having some difficulty learning my new computer, but will get caught up soon.
Happy weekend~

HansHB said...

Great post, lovely bird-photos!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Nice photos, awesome of the oystercatcher.

David Gascoigne said...

Fine pictures and commentary.

KK said...

It must be hard finding the birds and photographing them. You must really love it.

Karen said...

Great shore bird captures Phil. That in-flight of the Oystercatcher is fantastic!

Stewart M said...

Great pictures - looks like a really great spot.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Anni said...

...I thought we had a lot of oystercatchers here at certain times...but NOTHING like this count. Amazing. As are your photo shares Phil. Always something to see and read here.

Now, I gotta go over from your link and see what the Prime Minister is up to.

The happy wanderer. said...

Some beautiful images there. I just can't imagine counting that many birds on a walk - if I get 20 of a species that's a lot usually.

Stuart Price said...

Very nice wader shots Phil.

Politicians are idiots everywhere.

Wally Jones said...

Thank you for putting the Oystercatcher numbers in perspective.

Wonderful images of all your birds!
Now, if we can just do something about those hunters.....

I used your RSPB link to send Mr. Cameron a note. I'm pretty sure this Yank's opinion will sway his decision!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful photos. I'm glad you had a few hours of good birding weather.

Millie said...

Great shots! That is an impressive variety of birds.

mick said...

A perfect post with all those close-up photos of waders! The only one I have never seen down this way is the Redshank - although my Aussie bird book lists it but says it is an "uncommon summer visitor". That in-flight photo of yours is beautiful!

Dave said...

Great post Phil. Some fantastic images that are full of detail, but the Sanderling shot is simply outstanding mate

Kenneth C Schneider said...

Those Oystercatchers are handsome birds!

Findlay Wilde said...

A brilliant selection of waders. From Findlay

Gordon said...

Great shots phil, I really must make an effort to get down to that area.
All the the best Gordon.

Adam Tilt said...

Great wader shots Phil. Like you we have large numbers of Oystercatchers locally on the Burry Inlet but I've yet to photograph one quite as well as in that first image.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil. Wonderful shots of all the waders and I can't get over the large numbers you have.

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