Friday, December 12, 2014

Bombed Out Birding

Yes, I’ve been quiet of late, a victim of the ‘Weather Bomb’ which hit North West England this week. I thought this terminology was invented by the TV forecasters but ‘weather bomb’ was imported from the US and New Zealand. Whatever you like to call it we were certainly bombarded by lots of unpleasant weather for most of the week. 

Friday morning was a little better, the wind eased and there was even a little sun at times, with just the odd grenade of hail stones or blast of heavy rain showers. 

I stopped at Damside hoping to see geese but there were none, just half a dozen Redshanks, a number of Black-headed Gulls on the flood and he resident Kestrel pair in the area of their nest box. 

Kestrels are fairly monogamous so both a male and female may often be seen together throughout the year, not just in the breeding season. Over the years our UK Kestrel has collected a number of common names including Hoverhawk, Windhover, Windfanner, Vanner Hawk, Wind Cuffer, Mouse Falcon and Mouse Hawk, the names giving a clue to how the species hunts and what it likes to eat. 

Kestrel

The gales during the week sent many gulls scurrying from the shore to the comparative shelter of inland fields so it was no surprise to see upwards of 1500 mainly Black-headed Gulls on the fields at Gulf Lane, Cockerham. 

There were Curlews too but I decided not to spend a couple of hours grilling the gulls and instead continued north to Conder and Glasson. A brief stop at Braides Farm found a pair of Pied Wagtails, 2 Linnet, 4 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Goose, several Curlews and yet another Kestrel, this one hunting alone. The week’s weather will have stopped many birds from feeding with this comparatively better day a chance to catch up on their meals. 

The regular Spotted Redshank and Common Sandpiper seem set to winter at Conder Green where I found both feeding in the creeks along with 90+ Teal, 10 Wigeon, 5 Curlew, 1 Little Egret and 1 Little Grebe. 

 Spotted Redshank

Common Sandpiper

Another 10 Little Grebes were on the pool together with 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Heron and a Kingfisher. The latter showing briefly at its usual lookout spot on the water outflow and I rather carelessly let the bird see me and sent it flying off. I'm out of birding practice this week.   

The godwit didn’t appear too healthy, lethargic and looking to rest rather than feed - perhaps a casualty of the high winds and constant rain of the week past. 

Black-tailed Godwit

At Glasson, 51 Tufted Duck and 8 Cormorants.

The forecast for Saturday isn't too bad and then it's back to same old rubbish. Fingers crossed for better days soon on Another Bird Blog.

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

22 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful shorebirds and lovely kestrel!

Jo said...

If the Black-tailed Godwit survives, we should see it in February when it visits our continent. I love the kestrel also doing its spot of bombing. Incredible photos. Thanks for sharing. Jo

Linda said...

You certainly know how to make up for lost time, Phil. Gorgeous captures!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

We've had rain, snow, sleet and hail here. I can empathise!

David Gascoigne said...

Ah, weather and birds. Isn't that the story of our lives? What will be blown in, what will survive, what will depart early? If we knew the answer to all of these questions it wouldn't be birding would it?

Carol Rasowsky said...

These are beautiful photos - and I can even feel the chill in the air!

Stewart M said...

Nice pictures. I would have thought that a weather bomb would have been used by a Bond villain!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Margaret Adamson said...

Great shot of the Common Sandpiper. weather now has improved although I do not like the dark evenings. Have a great weekend.

EG CameraGirl said...

I think the weather has been nasty in many places this week! However, you've done well to get such nice shots of the sandpiper and redshank!

Gilligan Ahoy said...

Lovely birds! *wags*

sandyland said...

Love you Godwit a kestrel has been bombing eagle nests

Rajesh said...

Great shots of birds. Ilike that first shot.

carol l mckenna said...

Gorgeous beauties of nature and great shots!

Weather has been dreadful in New England ~ not much photographing going on of late ~

Happy Weekend to you,
artmusedog and carol

eileeninmd said...

Love the Kestrel and shorebirds, Phil! I hope the weather is better for you this weekend.. Great shots! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Jen said...

They keep talking about the Arctic Blast on our weather channel. Hope your weather improves.

Love the bright legs of the Spotted Redshank.

Red Nomad OZ said...

I wouldn't like to be the one that kestrel has in his sights! Great shots!

bettyl-NZ said...

These are just lovely birds! I like the one with the red legs.

Stuart Price said...

We had a bit of a 'snow bomb' this week..................

Hannah said...

The Redshank's legs and bill glow like neon lights! I enjoyed all the shore birds and kestrel in flight.

Marie said...

Great shots, Phil! Love the light in the second shot, and that kestrel is wonderful!

Anni said...

I'm a bit late today getting around to visit with everyone, but I'm here now. Bud is napping, so I will take this opportunity to see some birds of the world.

Yep, it 'sounds' like your weather is what we had here a couple of weeks ago. Hope it improves for you.

That Redshank's legs are glowing in the sunlight. Fantastic.

Thanks for sharing your link here this weekend!! Have a happy week ahead.

Valerie said...

Another lovely series Phil. Great shot of the focussed Kestrel!

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