Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Here’s the problem - if I don’t get out for local patch birding I get withdrawal symptoms. This morning I had to stay home to await a delivery and phone calls which didn’t arrive at the promised time. There followed a trip to the Post Office with a package to weigh and then post. Such time consuming non-essentials of life are specifically designed to frustrate and annoy the avid birder and prevent them from discovering the rare bird which will propel them to the summit of the Best Birders League instead of languishing in the lower divisions as I do. 

So Pilling it was, albeit late in the day. Some joy ensued with the first Lapwing chicks of the year, two bundles of fluff which escaped the plough of recent days. So fresh were the chicks they were too small for a ring and in any case the farmer was still busy nearby in churning up the remainder of the field and ploughing in unseen nests. I’ll go back in a day or two and hopefully relocate the two youngsters. Looking on the bright side, and also judging by the furrows, we are in for a crop of vegetables to eat rather than acres of silage. 

Lapwing

Pilling ploughed

On the unploughed bits of land remains a flock of 130+ Linnets as well as a number of Lapwings, Oystercatchers and Redshanks with breeding intent; to be fair the farmer is leaving a reasonable amount of uncultivated margin for both waders and Skylarks to nest. A single Golden Plover along the top of the furrows rather woke me up as it silently flew off but it turned out not to be a Dotterel.

The Stoat was around again, this time slinking along the margins of the same field I saw it in a few days ago and up to no good I’m sure when there are all those ground nesting birds and fresh eggs to take. 

Skylark

Oystercatcher

Four Whimbrel flew over calling and heading south - a strange direction for Iceland bound migrants. As of recent clear days the woodland was quietish, enlivened by 2 soaring Buzzards, 1 hovering Kestrel, 1 scratchy Whitethroat and 2 liquid Blackcap. 

I drove to Cockerham for a look at one of the very few Sand Martin colonies in this part of coastal Lancashire. Cockerham is a small village and civil parish a mile or so north of Pilling. The village (population c650) is located close to the River Cocker at the estuary of the River Lune. 

There have been a few pairs of Sand Martins on Chris and Margaret’s farm for a number of years, but following a period of gravel extraction about three years ago the colony of martins increased greatly. Today there was probably in excess of 40 Sand Martins with much activity around last year’s nest holes in the quarry face and pretty soon the newly arrived martins will be laying their first eggs. 

Sand Martin- Andy Morffew / Foter / CC BY-ND 

The gravel extraction left a good sized water area and associated margins where Lapwings and Oystercatchers breed, and in some years Little Ringed Plover. There were no tiny plovers today just 20 or so very noisy Oystercatcher, 8 Lapwing, 1 Canada Goose and 8/10 Pied Wagtails. A Wheatear took advantage of farm machinery as a lookout post, and along the same track were a good number of Linnets, Goldfinches and Tree Sparrows. 

Wheatear

It wasn’t a bad few hours after all, entertaining and productive, even for one who likes to be out at the crack of dawn, but I won’t make a habit of late starts.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday Blog and Run-a-Roundranch.

14 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, not a bad outing considering you had to leave later.. I love the pretty Lapwing.. Happy Birding!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Surely the Lapwings are very early to fledge but a lovely surprise for you. That is a lovely Wheatear,and you did see a lot of nice birds. Good to know the Sand Martins are in.

TexWisGirl said...

the wheatear is so handsome! funny to see an oystercatcher on a fence post. :)

David Gascoigne said...

I am away on Canada's west coast right now but upon my return I will have pictures of Black Oystercatchers to post. In the meantime I will hardly be able to contain my excitement wondering about the exciting package you had to visit the post office to mail to me. I wonder what it might contain!

Linda said...

Beautiful, Phil, I feel as though I took this walk myself. Thanks so much for sharing.

TexWisGirl said...

thanks, phil!

Adam Jones said...

That's a pretty good days birding Phil. Lots of variety, and very similar to my patch here. The farmer churns over the field at the same time to plant potatoes or maize, just as the Lapwing are in mid nest. A bit soul destroying to watch. Super Skylark.

Ida said...

Inspite of your thwarted plans you still got some great birds shots. I've never heard of a Lapwing and I just love the top-notch on it's head. Also that Oystercatcher on the fence post caught my eye here today. Wonderful shots of all the birds and fences.

Marie C said...

Really stunning photos, though you got a late start on your day. The one bird that I now can't remember the name of (had sand in its name, and is perched on a branch) was very interesting to me. A new bird for me to see, and such a gorgeous photo. But then all your photos are always crisp and detailed!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Great report and pictures to match, Phil.
~

Felicia said...

love the red eye of the oystercatcher and he looks great sitting on that fence post.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just stopping back to say thank you so much for linking up, have a happy weekend! Happy Birding!

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just stopping back to say thank you so much for linking up, have a happy weekend! Happy Birding!

Gunilla Bäck said...

I love the lapwing and the oystercatcher.

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