I came across a few “special” creatures today. Kingfishers, Peregrines and Red Foxes aren’t particularly rare but there’s always that little extra thrill when spotting them, more so when you are not looking for them and they turn up without warning.
Such creatures have the potential to turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one, but more often than not they tantalise with brief and fleeting views, as all three did today.
The first encounter was with a fox just setting off to the cross the A588 at Cockerham. When it saw my car approaching the animal spun around in the road and shot back into the hedgerow from whence it came. On a bendy and busy main road it was impossible to stop with little point in doing so when an animal is so wary. That’s three Red Foxes I’ve seen in as many weeks in just casual journeying to birding spots. Maybe foxes are having a good summer too?
Glasson was my first stop where another try for Otters yielded lots of birds but no Otters. A Kingfisher was perched on the metal footbridge which crosses the working lock, a heavily used and busy spot for boats and pedestrians but not at 6am. Swallows were flying under the same bridge to where they nest but there’s still no young, just 8/10 adults. Similar numbers of Swifts overhead and between 6 and 8 House Martins.
I set off for the canal towpath and logged 2 Pied Wagtails and 1 Grey Heron, 12 Tufted Duck and 15 Coot on the water. Alongside the canal were many brown jobs “tacking” and “ticking” their way through the now substantial waterside vegetation which is dominated by stretches of dense and tall Phragmites, the common reed.
I logged 11 Reed Warbler, 8 Whitethroat, 6 Reed Bunting, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Song Thrush and “several” each of Linnet, Goldfinch, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Blackbird and House Sparrow, even one or two of the erstwhile common Greenfinch. Yes, they still exist.
Early July is not the optimum time for seeing a coastal Peregrine, more like August right through to March/April when inland Peregrines find rich pickings on the expanse of Morecambe Bay before they head back to the hills or city buildings to breed.
All was quiet at Conder Green viewing point until the small flock of c30 feeding Starlings erupted into sound and flight. “Whoosh”, a Peregrine hurtled down from nowhere and almost connected with the by now tightly packed Starlings. In the blink of an eye the Peregrine was gone, without breakfast.
It had been quiet. Suddenly there was noise from panicking and nervous Starlings, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and gulls, a clamour which lasted a minute or more before peace returned. A passing Peregrine had left its usual legacy of fear.
How do you follow a Peregrine? With the usual counts I’m afraid: 6 Common Sandpiper, 120 Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher, 30 Lapwing, 4 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Stock Dove.
On the way home a Kestrel on a fence post. As I said, nothing special but a reason today to link with Theresa's Fences Day.
Join Another Bird Blog soon for another ordinary day.