Sunday, November 23, 2014

Barny Start, Busy Day

It was a pretty awful week of weather but maybe a good one to be laid low by a common cold. So apologies for a lack of posts blog readers but we’re back on track now. 

By Sunday morning I was bursting to go birding so set off in the usual direction north. I passed a couple of roadside Kestrels at Head Dyke Lane and Damside, two locations where the birds remain on their year round territories. It was far too dark to stop for a picture and anyway these adult birds are too wary to hang about for slowing vehicles. So I pulled into Braides Farm a mile up the road where there was yet another Kestrel and also a hunting Barn Owl. The light was really poor and I think the pictures below were shot on Auto ISO at 3200, hence the grainy finish

Barn Owl

Barn Owl
 
Barn Owl

The owl wasn’t having much luck hunting the long, wet grass and disappeared out of sight further along the main road. I’d stopped hoping to see the Buzzards and found one of them on a fence post a long way towards the sea wall. There was a Raven too, a couple of Little Egrets, a number of Curlews hidden in the longish grass and 15+ Meadow Pipits harassing the hovering Kestrel. 

At Conder Green I checked the pool, the creeks and “around the bend” - past the Stork and into the car park. Duckers and divers were represented by 105 Teal, 14 Little Grebe, 13 Wigeon, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Goosander, 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 2 Little Egret. 

As of November 23rd is it now autumn or winter? The 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Spotted Redshank still present might suggest it is autumn so therefore interesting to see if both essentially migrant species overwinter here as they have in past years. Little Brown Jobs - 2 Meadow Pipits, 25+ Chaffinch and 2 Pied Wagtail. 

A peek at Glasson Dock revealed 55 Tufted Duck, 5 Goldeneye and 1 Little Grebe. There was a yacht circuiting the basin which caused a flurry of activity from the Goldeneye causing the 4 males and 1 female to fly out the safety of the estuary. It is wonderful to see this superb duck back for the winter months ahead.

Goldeneye

The light improved slowly so I gave Pilling a shot, stopping to scan through Pink-footed Geese along the busy thoroughfare that is the modern Backsands Lane. My rough and ready count was 2500 but with so many noisy and colourful passers-by I reckoned the geese would not be there long before they sought quieter parts. 

 Pink-footed Geese

Pink-footed Geese

Along the sea wall and the wet fields at Fluke Hall - 55 Whooper Swan, 11 Little Egret, 45+Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher, 9 Curlew, 45 Woodpigeon, 4 Stock Dove and 120 Lapwing. 

With Andy busy at a bird ringing demonstration at the Wildfowl Trust it was my turn to fill the feeders at the ringing station near Oakenclough. It’s been a surprise how many Goldfinch and Greenfinch there are up here in the hills, especially since Goldfinch are supposed to leave us for the winter months. 

There was a continuous flurry of 15-20 Goldfinches activity around the feeders with smaller numbers of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and the ever present Coal Tits. Two Fieldfare fed on the hawthorn berries adjacent to our net rides, so all looks good for a sunny, calm day and a spot of mid-week ringing. 

Goldfinch

Fieldfare

Join Another Bird Blog soon for more busy birding.

Linking today to Run-A-Round Ranch and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.

26 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful owl! love the fence-sitter. :)

your fieldfare always reminds me of our american robin - a member of the thrush family. :)

eileeninmd said...

Gorgeous photos, Phil! The barn owl is my favorite.. I am still hoping to see one in the wild myself someday.. Your Goldfinch is so pretty.. Happy Birding!

Mama Zen said...

I adore those shots of the owl. Wow!

Linda said...

Beautiful birds, Phil! I never get to see owls, so thank you so much for sharing the barn owl, too!

Margaret Adamson said...

Beautiful barn Owl shots and I love the light in the Fieldfare one also. You certainly saw a lot of birds again.

Mary Kiss said...

Wow the owl shots are beautiful!!

Mary, MI

carol l mckenna said...

Love owl shots and other wildlife are fantastic as well for OWT ~ thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving in the USA
artmusedog and carol
www.acreativeharbor.com

Fun60 said...

You did so well to capture those great owl photos.

EG CameraGirl said...

Barn Owls are on my "want-to-see" list. I fear I will have to travel to see them in southern Ontario as I have not heard of them here lately in central Ontario.

mick said...

A great variety from Owls in the wet grass to Chaffinch at the feeder. I too would love to see a Barn Owl someday!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

That eye on the goldeneye really shines up nice and pretty in your photo.

In my entire lifetime I've only seen ONE barn owl and it was actually IN a barn...in a dark corner. Could barely see it.

And the Pink Footed Goose, it reminds me of the movie "The Big Year"...have yous seen this movie? It's funny and fun. See if you can find it. Worth watching. :-)

Gunilla Bäck said...

I love the barn owl and the fieldfare.

bettyl-NZ said...

Love those owl shots--he's so strange looking! I have seen some of your finches around the pastures here in New Zealand. Quite a colorful bird.

Russell Jenkins said...

Very busy birding indeed, Phil. I like the Barn Owl shots regardless of the grain. Imagine taking such shots in the days of film? A bit of grain helps us realise that it's not always bright and sunny.

Dave said...

Lovely Phil..... Not seen a Barn Owl for ages so its nice to catch up with yours (the beauty of blogging eh). Love the pink feet flock too, very nice. The Fieldfares are going overhead here in Cheshire but I guess we need snow for them to land I my garden.... here's hoping, or should that be hopping!

Ramona said...

Wow, fantastic capture of that owl!! I love owls!! <3

Mary Cromer said...

The Fieldfare image could easily be turned into a holiday card, so beautiful and the Barn Owls images always impress, for we just hardly see them any longer. For me personally, it has been years. I am sorry you had been under the weather but happy you are out and about once again. Thanksgiving begins today for me and cooking for our family brunch in the AM. Have a good rest of the week Phil~

TexWisGirl said...

thanks for the fence link-in!

CountryMouse said...

Wow so many birds and all so different to each other.

Felicia said...

2500 geese..WOW. You seen alot of birds and the owl is beautiful sitting on the barb wire fence post.

Jen said...

I love those geese. I hear our winter geese have arrived and am hoping to see some myself this weekend.

Ida said...

Wonderful birds shots. I love seeing owls and that one is so pretty. I've never heard of Pink Footed Geese before. How fun to see so many of them behind that fence.

Pauline Woodcock said...

Beautiful birds. I just love the colours in that last image. Such a pretty little bird, complimented beautifully by those little berries.

Marie said...

That fieldfare shot is incredible! Loved the sharp beautiful shot of those pink footed geese as well. And, grainy or not, the owl photos are lovely!

Hannah said...

Your owl shots are great, they are such fun to watch. Your bird counts are amazing, such variety and numbers. The Goldeneye is a lovely shot with the swirling water.

David Gascoigne said...

How can you possibly have a bad day when you start off with a Barn Owl? Or any owl for that matter!

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