Friday, December 5, 2014

Birding Friday Fun

Following a spot of bird ringing inland on Wednesday it was good to go birding along the familiar coast today. However the weather wasn’t too friendly with wind and intermittent showers so there’s not a lot to report. 

I started off at Knott End for the incoming tide where the stiff north westerly made for cold hands and shaky optics. A far from complete count gave minima of 18 Eider and a single great Crested Grebe on the incoming tide. On the shore and near the jetty a mix of 1700 Oystercatcher, 700 Dunlin, 290 Redshank, 180 Knot, 145 Bar-tailed Godwit and 42 Turnstone. The jetty hugging Turnstones can be relied upon to provide a few pictures, the other species out on the shore proving much harder to approach. 

Turnstones

Knot

There was a flock of approximately 45 very flighty Twite. The birds were disturbed by a walker and then settled back down in the grassy marsh and out of sight. Two Pied Wagtails, 10 Goldfinch and 1 Rock Pipit also. 

At Damside, Pilling approximately 1800 Pink-footed Geese occupied the same fields they recently adopted. I searched through the scattered flock for the oddities that occur, the best I could find today a rather obvious partly leucistic bird. Leucism which differs from albinism is caused by a reduction in pigment of a bird’s feathers. This particular pinkie seemed to be leucistic on one side of the body only and so much more obvious when facing one way rather than the other. 

Pink-footed Goose

In the same field were approximately 120 Curlew, a couple of Oystercatchers and a single Black-tailed Godwit. 

Black-tailed Godwit

I parked up at Fluke Hall and walked the wood and shore circuit. Through the wood a Nuthatch called and a Jay shrieked off as I interrupted its feeding time. Along the shore, 12+ Little Egrets, 6 Whooper Swan, more Curlews, 140+ Shelduck, a Rock Pipit and a Stoat, Mustela ermine.

The Stoat was in an area where lots of Red-legged Partridge hang around. There’s no doubt a wily Stoat will help itself to more than a few of the shooters’ partridges in the course of the winter months. 

Stoat

The human race often interferes with the natural world without fully studying the possible or likely consequences. In the 19th century, Stoats were introduced into New Zealand to control rabbits but the Stoats had a devastating effect on native bird populations. New Zealand has a high proportion of ground-nesting and flightless birds, due to the long geographical isolation and the lack of natural mammal predators. The introduced Stoats took full advantage of the bounty. 

That’s all for today. Look in soon for more birds, birding and other tales from Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday.

26 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

great shots! love the stoat and the goose/geese!

EG CameraGirl said...

In spite of the weather you got some great photos!

David Gascoigne said...

Flighty Twite huh? I once went out with a girl who would fit that description perfectly!

eileeninmd said...

Cool sightings, Phil! My favorites are the Godwit and the cute Stoat.. Happy weekend!

Linda said...

A lovely series, Phil. I love it how birds sleep...they tuck their beaks into their feathers. :)

Margaret Adamson said...

The weather didn't stop you getting these great shots. Love the Stoat. Have a lovely weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, thank you so much for linking up, Have a happy weekend!

Share my Garden said...

I'm not a birder but I came over to your post when I saw the photo of the stoat on Eileen's posting. So interesting to read it's history in New Zealand. It's a cunning and ferocious little animal, not cute at all! My parents had problems stopping them stealing the hen eggs - the stoats even rolled away the pot eggs that had been put in the nests to encourage sitting!

Share my Garden said...

Forgot to add that David Gascoigne's comment had me laughing out loud!

Gunilla Bäck said...

The geese are pretty and I love the stoat. Enjoy your weekend!

Donna said...

What a great amount of birds and some lovely specimens. I must say that stoat is cute although I imagine wily and ferocious when hunting.

DougPhoto2009 said...

Stoat - interesting back story. Thanks for sharing.

sandyland said...

as always enjoyed all

Frank said...

Some interesting sightings Phil, especially the two-tone Pinkie.

The consequences of man's intervention will haunt us for ever ... will we ever learn!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Great wader images and the stoat is a certainly a keeper.

DeniseinVA said...

Great photos Phil. I have never seen a stoat except in pictures. Sad that he has been so destructive. A familiar story with other introduced species.

Dina said...

Except for the geese, these birds and the stoat are all new to me. What fun it must have been to see them, despite the cold.

Adam Jones said...

Love the Stoat in classic pose.

carol l mckenna said...

Never saw a Stoat before and your photos are fantastic as usual ~

Happy Weekend,
artmusedog and carol

ps. your photos and birding actually led me to do some bird feeding this winter ~ not as expansive as your 'birding' but getting great pleasure feeding and seeing the birds!

Jen said...

I'm always baffled why you say so little to report. You found a lot! The leucistic goose is interesting. I've only recently heard of this, and not sure if I've seen any. I probably would have thought it couldn't possibly be the same bird if I did. The more I learn about birds, the more I realize I don't know...

Marie said...

Bad little stoat...I thought he was so cute till I read what you wrote about them! Of course, he can't help it; people brought him there. Love your bird photos also. Really nice birding day!

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures. NZ suffers from Possums that were introduced from Australia - shame the stoats don't eat them!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Hannah said...

Lots of interesting photos. That is funny, the goose that is lighter just on half of its body. As a biologist I am bothered by what people have done to the world introducing species where they didn't belong. I wish it could all be put back the way it was. Most of the bad weeds in my yard don't belong here at all. Bad stoat!

Anni said...

Again, a very interesting and educational post today. That stoat, tho very handsome perhaps put the 'hipper dipper' to New Zealand's ecosystem? And then...the pink footed goose...the partial leucistic one. I think it's quite attractive in its own way. If I were a drake...well, I've always been partial to blonds. LOLOL But 1800? And you found this one amongst it all? I'm impressed.

I'm wondering if I spotted a knot in one of our bays now...what you shared looks a bit like the one I photographed. Gonna have to do some researching on my own.


Thanks so much for linking in at the Bird D'Pot this weekend. Your participation is appreciated!!!

PS...someday, I hope you share your story of how you came about banding birds. I think that would be so interesting.

Uppal said...

Beautiful bird pictures! Thanks!

Mary Cromer said...

I was ready to say how adorable the Stoat is, which I expect it is, however in the fact that it takes so many ground birds...that is not so great. The Turnstones are so beautiful, as are your other shares for the day.
I am feeling better today, still in pain, but reducing the dosage. I think I may get to drive first time in a week tomorrow~

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