Two weeks in sunny Menorca meant Saturday was employed in catching up with family, a mountain of post, a long list of emails and then downloading and sorting hundreds of photos from the holiday. But this morning the local patch beckoned so a full Menorca post was postponed for now. Log in to Another Bird Blog soon for this year’s pictures from The Idyllic Isle.
Remembering to drive on the “correct” side of the road I set off north in the direction of Pilling and Cockerham, first stop Conder Green where a goodish list ensued, waders, wildfowl plus “bits and bobs” of passerines.
The huge passage of Black-tailed Godwits of April has left lingering individuals, 16 or so birds still having feeding success in the tidal creeks, their long bills buried deep in the mud to then pull out long worms. I am guessing that their prey was the lugworms and ragworms that anglers dig for here and then use for bait.
Other waders are now limited to species which breed here but not necessarily all of those counted, although I did see an Oystercatcher sat tight on a nest. In addition, 9 Redshank, 8 Oystercatcher and 4 Curlew, the latter flying overhead.
Wildfowl are scarce now with the counts of 2 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Canada Goose, 16 Shelduck and 2 Grey Heron a reflection of Spring becoming the doldrums of Summer. For the small area surveyed I found a reasonable number of passerines in song, so numbers which represent the males alone and discount the quieter partners: 4 Whitethroat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Greenfinch and 2 Goldfinch.
There were reasonable numbers of Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins about but sadly no Swifts in evidence. A Swallow gave brief chase to a passing male Sparrowhawk, the hawk no doubt with a nest bound female not too far away.
Last week on the Menorca patch I watched swallows, martins, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Booted Eagle, Red-footed Falcon and Egyptian Vulture! Oh the joys of a local patch.
I headed back to Pilling via Braides where a Sedge Warbler sang from the Cocker Channel and 18 Stock Doves scrutinised a recently sown field. Maybe the doves were finding undrilled seed?
Fluke Hall seemed almost silent, the warbler reduction since April very marked with now just single Chiffchaff and Blackcap in song and no Willow Warblers. Luckily the Whitethroats were in good voice my ear still tuned to their scratchy song rather than the machine-gun rattle of Sardinian Warblers. Whitethroats are passage migrants in Menorca, Sardinian Warblers ten-a-penny.
A male Kestrel hunted the freshly sown fields where I found no evidence of breeding Lapwings, the plough of April having done its job with great success. At least 4 Skylarks remain on territory and a pair of Tufted Ducks prospected for a breeding niche in the sea wall channel.
A good morning’s work. There’s no beating a local patch, wherever it might be.