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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HedgehogNot 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 Wednesday, Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday Blog.