Friday, April 25, 2014

A Barny Start

It’s always good to begin the day with a Barn Owl although the light at dawn or soon after is mostly imperfect for photographs. I tried 400, 800 and then ended up with ISO1600 for a few shots as the owl used a fence post from which to launch itself into the rough grass below. The owl didn’t get much in the way of food and I didn’t get too much in the way of pictures, so we both went our separate ways. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

I made my way to Fluke Hall where things seemed quiet, so perhaps the overnight clear skies had sent Thursday's birds on their way? Slowly along the road I reached similar counts of the now apparently resident Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. The Mistle Thrushes and Song Thrushes are still feeding young, and although I’ve narrowed down the possibilities, both nests remain secret. 

Song Thrush

At the car park were 2 Whitethroats in song and in the ploughed field 5+ Wheatears and 8 or more White Wagtails, both species feeding in and out of the deep furrows effectively so as to ruin any chance of accurate counts. A dozen or more Linnets plus a couple of both Meadow Pipits and Skylarks completed the picture. 

White Wagtail

I was ready for leaving when a Grasshopper Warbler began its reeling song from somewhere along the back of the hedgerow. The skulking and secretive Grasshopper Warbler is most infrequent here at Fluke Hall, but is in any case more likely to be glimpsed or heard in brief rather than seen in regular performance of its insect like song. Try as I might I didn’t see the “gropper”, it went silent and I suspect it slipped off unseen to try its luck at a more suitable location. 

Grasshopper Warbler - Photo credit: Sergey Pisarevskiy / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Things were fairly quiet at Conder Green too, to all intents and purposes the wader and wildfowl count identical to Thursday, with c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwing, 15 Redshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 20 Tufted Duck, 8 Shelduck and 2 Wigeon. Just like Thursday there was a single black-tail in the creek and another one closer to my usual  viewing spot.

 Tufted Ducks

Black-tailed Godwit

In the “little brown jobs” line I couldn’t do any better than 3 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 4 Reed Bunting, 6 Linnet and 2 Greenfinch. 

I’ve stopped counting Swallows because they now seem to be well and truly “in”, as usual arriving  under birders’ radar but to turn up knocking at most farmers’ barn doors. What a welcome sight after a truly awful winter.

There’s a pair or two already nest building under the lock gates at Glasson Dock, the birds resting up on the rusty old handrails while giving each other advice on how best to get the job done. There's no rush boys and girls, you’ve got all summer. 

Barn Swallow

The weather forecast for the weekend isn’t suggesting much in the way of balmy Summer days. 

Never mind, if it’s at all possible Another Bird Blog will be birding and report here in due course.

Linking this post to Camera Critters and Eileen's Saturday Blog.

23 comments:

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Adorable Barn owl.. :-)))

Carole M. said...

enjoyed your post Phil, and the Barn Owl shots are lovely considering your light issues. I'd left a reply to your question - According to Birds in Backyards factsheet [People often confuse miners with the introduced Common Myna. The Common Myna is quite different in plumage (mostly dark brown) and,although it has similar facial markings, belongs to the starling family, while the miners are honeyeaters." Thanks for asking :)

Ida said...

Lots of wonderful birds but I must say the Barn Owl is my favorite. I think Owls are so fascinating and to capture one sitting still like that was awesome. - Now following your blog.

David Gascoigne said...

Now Philip my boy, does it get any better than to start the morning's birding with a Barn Owl? I think not you lucky so and so! A great picture is nice, but a great sighting is even better.

Chris Rohrer said...

WOOOOOOOOOOW! Great job with the Barn Owl. Very nice find. I also enjoy your little birds. The Grasshopper Warbler is interesting!

eileeninmd said...

I would be a happy birder if I saw a Barn Owl in the wild.I do think I have heard their scream at night.. I wish they were more common over here. The Wagtail is a beauty! Lovely collection of birds and photos, Phil! Have a great weekend!

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil. Another great post with great shots. Love the barn owl. Lovely to have seen it first thing in the morning.

Carole M. said...

there's never a daft question :) Phil; it seems that because of their similarities in looks, early European settlers derived that different spelling name i.e. Miners/Mynas. Sounds plausible.

eileeninmd said...

Phil, thank you for linking up to the critter party. Have a happy weekend!

Snap said...

I love owls so I quite enjoyed your barn owl. There's something about the tufted ducks that always makes me smile! Wonderful series. Happy Critter Day!

sandyland said...

all photos splendid, some particular favorite characters here thrush , godwit and of course that breed of owl Happy weekend

Naquillity said...

i think the barn owl is a wonderful way to start the day. i'd love to see any owl in nature. i've only seen them in controlled situations. so many beautiful images. good luck on finding those nests you have narrowed down. hope all is well. have a great day~

Mary Cromer said...

I LOVE the Swallow and those Barn Owl images are wonderful. Sure wish that I could see one. It has been 33 years for me. It looks like the beautiful Song Thrush is about to be, or is very busy feeding young. Phil, have a delightful weekend~

TexWisGirl said...

love all of your bird shots! the owl on the fence was a bonus! :)

Bob Bushell said...

Lovely load of birdlife, my favourite is Black-tailed Godwit, superb photo.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful birds. Great looking owl.

Karen said...

I'd say those are great barn owl shots Phil!

Jane said...

Great images, beautiful bird :)

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Owls have always fascinated me. Great shots!

Gunilla Bäck said...

I LOVE the barn owl, it's an amazing bird.

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

Beautiful birds, all of them!

Laura said...

I adore the barn owl, such a sweet face!

Adam Jones said...

Cracking Grasshopper Warbler. Always good to see.

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