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