Friday, October 24, 2014

Almost Weekend Birding

It’s been a truly awful week of weather and a struggle to get meaningful birding in. This morning promised a window of half decent weather before more rain arrived so I set off for Pilling. 

There was a Buzzard flying alongside Head Dyke Lane and near to two small copses again, a regular location for a pair. And then the usual Buzzard at Fluke Hall disturbed by someone or something unseen, the hawk calling in protest as it flew inland a couple of hundred yards or more to its alternative daytime roost. I watched a Sparrowhawk flap glide high across the stubble and off towards Lane Ends to try its luck. 

After the week of rain the stubble field now has a number of good looking flashes of water, puddles that held a hundred or so Black-headed Gulls, a dozen or more Skylarks but no waders as yet. The woodland seemed very quiet with the usual mixed tit flock, a calling Nuthatch and several Chaffinches. The Chaffinches were nowhere near the number of a week ago and there was no sight or sound of Bramblings today. Seven or eight Tree Sparrows hid in the hedgerow. Tree Sparrows are good at playing inconspicuous and it’s often their chippy call alone which betrays their presence. 

Tree Sparrow

Beyond the car park and a couple of fields back from the road many hundreds of Pink-footed Geese fed on the remains of the spud harvest, groups of the geese coming and going from the nearby marsh and shore. The farmer won’t mid too much as he gets his soil turned over and knows where he can bag a goose or two for Sunday lunch by way of an early morning shotgun. 

Pink-footed Geese

I walked towards Lane Ends to find 41 Whooper Swans on the marsh in their usual spot, joined today by a Ruff, a few Redshanks, two dozen Pink-footed Geese and 30+ Shelduck. Any geese, Shelduck and waders always fly off whereas the swans are more tolerant of a human being walking very slowly and not looking directly at them. Once past the group of swans a peep over the sea wall and a backward glance might get a photograph. 

Whooper Swans

There was little doing along the sea wall except for a single Snipe, an array of 7 Little Egrets on the marsh and a distant Peregrine in wait for high tide. 

At Conder Green the incoming tide was just beginning to fill the creek, leaving enough time to find a single Ruff, 2 Goosander, 60+ Teal, 40+ Redshank and 7+ Curlew. Yes, it’s a poor record shot of the Ruff but a handy one for displaying the long-legged jizz of a Ruff to blog readers who rarely see this handsome wader. The two Goosanders sailed serenely upstream and a Curlew played ball with the camera.

Ruff

Goosander

Curlew


In the garden and searching around the flower pots I found a Hedgehog. Maybe it was on its way to a nearby dense hedge which has been a traditional winter hideout ever since we came to live here 14 years ago.  

The name hedgehog came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle English heyghoge, from heyg, hegge ("hedge"), because it frequents hedgerows, and hoge, hogge ("hog"), from its pig like snout. The collective noun for a group of hedgehogs is array or prickle.

 Hedgehog

Not a bad morning's birding and with luck there will be more news and views via Another Bird Blog at the weekend.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird WednesdayAnni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday Blog.

33 comments:

Linda said...

Lovely, Phil, and your first photo especially made my day! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

TexWisGirl said...

love the pink-footed crew!

David Gascoigne said...

I especially appreciate the photograph of the Tree Sparrow. It seems to me that every time I visit Britain this species is harder to find. I don't know whether its numbers are diminishing or whether I am just less proficient at locating them.

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Phil! I loved all of your birds and the photos.. I hope the weather is better this weekend.. Happy Birding!

Jen said...

I always like to come here and see photos of birds I never knew existed. If I ever get the chance to photograph a Whooper Swan, I'll remember your advice.

Stewart M said...

Nice birds - we have a small colony of tree sparrows at a place I used to work - I'm planning to go back soon to see if I can get some images.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

eileeninmd said...

PS,Phil

Stopping back to say thank you for linking up these wonderful birds and post, have a happy weekend!

EG CameraGirl said...

Super photo of the tree sparrow. I haven't seen any yet this fall!

carol l mckenna said...

Phil ~ you always have the best nature photos and despite the weather (we had same here in New England) you got great shots after!

Happy Weekend to you
artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

sandyland said...

send me those last 3 birds

Anni said...

I did not know that!......how the hedge hog got its name or its origin. How very interesting.

If this was what you call a quiet day between rainstorms I'd love to know what it's like with you and the time you're out and about when it's NOT so quiet. Wow.

That tree sparrow is marked so pretty. And I'd love to hear the call of the hawk in protest. Oh and the pink footed geese...have you ever seen the movie "The Big Year"? It's all about birding of course, and ends with a Pink Footed Goose spotting. Love that movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

Great post again. And thanks for sharing this link at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Margaret Adamson said...

Another great post and I loved the Tree Sparrow, Geese and Swans. Have a great weekend.

Anni said...

ps....I just had to go to Goggle and look up the European Bittern you mentioned in your comment. Somewhat similar, but the coloration is a bit more defined by the looks of the photos. Thanks, I didn't know about 'your bitterns'.

Gunilla Bäck said...

I love the hedgehog and the geese are very pretty.

Adam Jones said...

The weather has been shocking, but these pictures are great Phil. The Curlew stands out for me. Superb.

Sallie (fullTime -life) said...

I would love to experience your bad day of birding, which would be my best one! Love the pink footed geese. And I just this week learned that I have actually seen gooseanders.. In Alaska. They (we, I guess) call them mergansers. I learned that on another blog!

The hedgehog is pretty sweet, even if prickly and that was interesting info.

Marie said...

I LOVE hedgehogs! Aren't they getting more and more rare now? Great photo of the tree sparrow and the curlew and all your bird sightings! It was an rewarding day for sure!

bettyl-NZ said...

Awesome shots! I love curlews, I think it's because of their long, strange beaks.

Jidhu Jose said...

cool clicks. Whooper Swans looks awesome

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love it, 'a struggle to get in meaningful birding'!!!!
I just sat outside my house. They are much fun to watch. Even the regular crew!

(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Sorry for the second comment (though it made me happy to have an excuse to come back for a second look).

Just wanted to thank you for the heads up about my Google profile; I hope I have fixed it. I guess they did an update that I wasn't aware of because I don't really blog on Google; I just use the profile to enable me to comment on blogs like yours that don't have a way to use my Typepad profile. (Yours and several other of my favorite people.)

Russell Jenkins said...

I guess, getting started may have been a struggle for you, Phil, but you certainly got a lot of stuff. Some super birds and I'd really love to see a hedgehog!

Fun60 said...

That's such a great photo of the hedgehog. I haven't seen one in decades.

Cynthia said...

You are fortunate to have a hedgehog, or maybe a whole prickle of them, in your hedges!

Valerie said...

That hedgehog sure is cute - disappointed not to have seen one during my 6 week stay in the UK. I do like your header too - that duck appears to have such a surprised expression!

mick said...

Another very interesting post and I especially liked the photo of the Ruff. My birding books lists it as a "rare migrant" but its one I have never seen. Loved the Hedgehog as well - more memories of my childhood!!

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

Am so lucky to have my very own hedgehog in the garden! The image of the curlew is fantastic...I like them a lot.

Christian Weiß said...

A wonderful post and great observations.

Findlay Wilde said...

I really like the Goosander picture and how great to see the Tree Sparrows. We don't really have any round here. From Findlay

Choy Wai Mun said...

The hedgehog is adorable. Large waterfowl always do it for me. Interesting post and good images.

Mary Cromer said...

Sorry it has been a rough week and just now getting to blogging. The Curlew and Hedgehog are just wonderful, as are the others Phil. I hope that the remainder of your week is grand!

BumbleVee said...

I"ve got a lot of sparrows around the feeder and in the birdie bath....but, I don't know if I have seen a tree sparrow....most of them are just the house sparrows I think. I did get a distant shot of a chipping sparrow one day..but, through the window...singing his little heart out...

Barb said...

So many birds and then the bonus of a hedgehog! I like the idea of a prickle of them.

Related Posts with Thumbnails