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.
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.
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.
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.