Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Owl And The Kingfisher

Saturday morning and I stopped at Gulf Lane to take a photo just as a singing Corn Bunting broke the silence. A touch of mist promised yet another fine day and a great photo opportunity for someone who knows what they’re doing. 

Cockerham

Farmers have taken a cut from the silage fields thereby making the fields more accessible to waders like Lapwings and Curlews which prefer to feed in short grass. I counted over 200 Curlews and 75 Lapwings on a very recently cut field, and then at Crimbles were more Curlews and Lapwings plus a Little Egret on a puddle of tidal water 

Conder Green has gone off the boil of early July. The water level is down, counts are down, species missing, but birders still arrive to check, just as I do and just in case. 

The female Common Tern still sits tight on the nest, the male arriving intermittently to present a freshly caught fish. There was a Cormorant today, it after fish too. Redshank numbers have fluctuated and were down at 35 this morning. Common Sandpipers have passed their early peak and 7 only today, also 3 Snipe, 14 Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwing and 6 Curlew. 3 Little Egret and 4 Grey Heron. 

There’s a Lapwing here named Hopalong which has claimed a stretch of mud along the edge of the pool. It has no foot on the left leg and so hops along the water line where it chases off other Lapwings and defends its feeding territory quite vigorously, making up with aggression what it lacks in the foot department. 

Lapwing

Wildfowl: 2 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 4 Shelduck and 16 Tufted Duck. 

 Tufted Duck

There’s often a Tawny Owl at Glasson. The other birds see it more often than I do but this morning the owl posed for a picture at ISO1600. When I went back with a smaller lens and more light the owl had woken up and flown off but I heard the other birds giving it a good telling off. 

 Tawny Owl

Whilst walking the canal towpath I stopped to chat to a Glasson Dock local who asked me how he might see a Kingfisher, adding - “You probably know what you’re looking for.” The Average Joe may think that Kingfishers are rare, exist only in books, on television programmes, or as figments of a birdwatcher’s imagination. When I explained that I see Kingfishers regularly in his home village, either along the canal, flying across the yacht basin, sat around the dock or along the main road half-a-mile away at Conder Green, he was truly astounded. 

I explained that although a Kingfisher may be brightly coloured, it is also quite tiny, mostly elusive and shy, and that a certain amount of experience and fieldcraft is required to obtain good views. Noting that he carried none, I added that a pair of binoculars would be useful to spot such a small bird from a distance.

I had in mind my own experience some fifteen minutes earlier when I glimpsed a Kingfisher from across the dock before it shot away into the distance. If someone is looking for a Kingfisher on a large expanse of water the picture below shows how small and inconspicuous one can look. It is probably the same Kingfisher from a couple of weeks ago which has already learnt that it is best to avoid the human race. 

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

There was a good count of approximately 300 Swallows again, the birds feeding across the waters of the dock and the yacht basin for an hour or more. Overhead, 20+ Swifts. 

Very soon the Swallows went their separate ways as I did too.

19 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I would love to see all those Curlews and the Lapwings.. The Owl and Kingfisher are awesome shots. The first landscape shot is beautiful. Great post, happy birding!

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil The title of your post sounds like the title of a children's story however you post has great photographs especially of the Owl and Kingfisher. You mention over 300 Swallows and you might like to see the video on my post today about a Swallow.

Stuart Price said...

I heard it'd been hot recently over there.......

You are still getting really nice Kingfisher pics.

Bob Bushell said...

The Kingfisher is the best Phil, but, all the birds are really great.

Mary Cromer said...

Well, I thought that I could copy what you had said and quote it back to you, but you have really stiff settings on your blog! That is great too, for I wish I knew how to do that!!!
Anyway... A certain amount of experience is required is the best I can remember of what you said and you sure have that right. I cannot get close to a Kingfisher, less I get scolded as it fly's hastily away. I can only get long distance shots. Yours are always magnificent.
Glad you got the lovely Tawny Owl, before it flew away.
Happy week Phil~

David Gascoigne said...

Hi Phil: It's good to be back with you after two weeks in France and Spain. Seems to me that when I left you were dealing with owls and kingfishers so we're picking up right where we left off. And by the way I was happy to see a few lapwings in France - a very handsome bird indeed.

Christian Perrin said...

Your encounter with the Kingfisher fan is similar to so many I have with local folk - just completely oblivious to what is around them! But I always find it endearing when people get excited over a reasonably common bird.

I never saw a Lapwing while living in London and that's a lovely photo of one - great that it has overcome its handicap with a dose of belligerence!

Fun60 said...

I would love to see a field of lapwings again. Loved the owl photo.

EG CameraGirl said...

I love all these shots, especially the owl and kingfisher.

Adam Jones said...

Super pictures. I thought the owl was great but then I saw the kingfisher. Fantastic shot!!

Marie said...

I love reading about your visits to this spot. You see so many wonderful birds! I had no idea a kingfisher was a small bird, assuming it might be the size of a green heron. I also loved seeing your tawny owl! Thanks for your very nice comments about our visit to Canyon de Chelly, and also the explanation about Annie's log. Hope your week is wonderful! I am posting more and more pictures of our trip in the coming weeks...not many birds, but I hope even my avid birder friends will find it all interesting! All the best!

carol l mckenna said...

Always wonderful bird photography ~ love the owl ~ and others are beautiful as well for OWT ~ thanks,

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Valerie said...

Exquisite shot of the Kingfisher, Phil and that opening landscape shot is breathtaking.

Arija said...

Your title was so like 'the owl and the pussycat' that I had to read it twice. I thoroughly loved both. That kingfisher is truly splendid.

K V V S MURTHY said...

Awesome pictures and description too..!

Andrea Priebe said...

So many birds, so many pictures ... what a wonderful day you had. Thank you for sharing, I love them all and have a special place in my heart for owls. Your pictures are stupendous ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Andrea Priebe said...

So many birds, so many pictures ... what a wonderful day you had. Thank you for sharing, I love them all and have a special place in my heart for owls. Your pictures are stupendous ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Andrea Priebe said...

So many birds, so many pictures ... what a wonderful day you had. Thank you for sharing, I love them all and have a special place in my heart for owls. Your pictures are stupendous ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

Laura said...

Such gorgeous birds!

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