Friday, March 7, 2014

March Madness

I hope this isn’t getting monotonous for blog readers but there isn’t much to thrill today after a quiet morning up Conder and Cockerham way. It’s just that time of year, early March when the winter birds thin out but before the arrival of the first true spring migrants in mid to late March. 

We enjoyed an awful lot of heavy overnight showers, a couple of sleepless spells as windswept rain lashed the bedroom window. When driving this morning there were lots of new roadside muddy puddles through which to splash. I made a mental note to leave time in the day for yet another bucketful of car shampoo, my unvarying chore of the past three months. 

When I arrived at Conder Green the River Conder was flowing towards the estuary both fast and high, filling the creeks to way above low water level, a sure sign of a night’s deluge. 

The regular birds were there, some in now smaller numbers as winter finally abates: 28 Redshank, 70 Teal, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret, 4 Shelduck, 6 Wigeon and 4 Oystercatcher. The Oystercatchers comprised two pairs, each taking up residence on the topmost points of the almost submerged islands where both Oystercatchers and Lapwings nest. After the winter rain and storms and using the sluice wall as a reference point it looks as though the water level of the pool is now higher by some 18 inches or more. 

Oystercatcher

Grey Plover

Teal

It remained pretty windy this morning whereby the often serene Glasson Dock had waves a plenty to hide the wildfowl. Receding numbers but still 30+ Tufted Duck, 7 Goldeneye and 8 Cormorants, the Cormorants lined motionless along a single landing stage, waiting for the signal to dive in if the photographer moved closer. 

Cormorant

Goldeneye

The fields at Jeremy Lane were stacked with mainly smaller gulls and Starlings. When I stopped to look closer I estimated 750 Black-headed Gull, 75 Common Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Little Egret and 1500 Starlings. 

Little Egret

Every so often there was a “dread” as all the birds took to the air before settling again to resume feeding on the saturated fields. It wasn’t until the third time that I saw the cause of their panic, a female Merlin dashing low and fast close to the throng of birds but failing to take anything. 

Somewhere in the distant fields was a flock of Black-tailed Godwits too, at one point about 300 of them flying around together before settling far away. 

It was good to see Brown Hares about this morning, just 3, but two of them engaged in their March Madness, chasing through the fields in the near distance. 

Brown Hare

There’s more Insanity in March very soon from Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Camera CrittersEileen's Saturday Blog and Anni's birding blog.

17 comments:

Gordon said...

Good read Phil, and some great shots, I have never been in a position to get a shot like that of a Grey Plover.
All the best Gordon.

The happy wanderer. said...

Even if it was quiet, it certainly isn't monotonous as it's interesting to read and see what you saw on your walk - and as they're not birds I see except on trips, it's great to see them and become more familiar with them.

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Phil!! All your birds and photos are wonderful. The Teal is a handsome duck.. And I love the cute hare. Happy Birding!

Stuart Price said...

I used to enjoy watching the Brown hares boxing in the fields on the south side of the Ribble. I wonder if they are stll there?

David Gascoigne said...

One day, for all of us in our various corners of the world, the weather will return to something like normal....if there even is a normal any more.

Stewart M said...

Nice shots - I got toe see some teal in the USA this week!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

eileeninmd said...

Phil,

ps, Thank you for sharing your post on Saturday's Critters. Have a happy weekend!

EG CameraGirl said...

In the photo of the gondeneyes, it looks to me like there are two and another bird. Can you tell me what it it?

Santi said...

Before a hurt winter we can spent our time out.In Spain this weekend is wonderful to go out with my camara but your shots are very intetesting.I learn too many species with your posts.Thanks.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Great post and some superb shots. I would love to have seen the Brown Hares doing their stuff!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You know you're just rubbing it in when you say it was an unthrilling day and then show us those pics and those counts! Loving all of it. Even knowing you have to take time to wash your car. (And thus have truly boring days like the rest of us.)

I'd love to see a goldeneye. Really have only recently started to care about ducks!

Adam Jones said...

The Grey Plover looks particularly smart. Very nice shot.

Karen said...

Oh I would love to be close to the shore. Your shore birds are terrific! That Teal is really beautiful Cute little hare too!

Shey Wicklund said...

Love reading your post and enjoyed your shots esp the goldeneyes and oystercatcher.

Ashley Beolens said...

I'd love any one of the birds you mentioned to make one appearance on my patch! Sounds wonderful.

Some stunning photographs as well, especially getting that photo of a hare, a species in such decline it seems to me.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful birds and a cute hare. To me it sounds like a fabulous walk with a lot of interesting birds.

Anni said...

Mmmmm, so pretty are your bird photos. Hmmmm, wonder if there are goldeneyes here in Texas. Will have to check my bird guide now.

You always amaze me with such great photos.

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