Monday, April 13, 2015

No Wrynecks Today

I gave the Pilling patch a good three hours grilling today but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary or much different from recent days. 

Meanwhile over at Heysham, 8km from Pilling as the crow flies, mist nets turned up both a Firecrest and a Ring Ouzel, while at Cockersands, a flap and a glide away, a dogged birder I know discovered a Wryneck! It’s the old truisms that “mist nets find birds which might otherwise go missing” and the other one about “being in the right place at the right time”. 

It’s a good number of years since I’ve seen a Wryneck, and many a moon since ringing one. We don’t get too many of these strange looking beasts Up North. 

Wryneck - P Slade

Today I was clearly both in the wrong place and wide of the mark with my timing so had to make do with commoner fare. Swallows were much in evidence at Fluke Hall with a group of 18/20 feeding above the trees and one or two around farms on the way home. In a few days no one will bother reporting them as they become widespread. It will be the same with both Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, with today at least 4 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers singing in the woodland and probably a good number more unseen. In the rain of Saturday morning there was even a Willow Warbler singing in my back garden. 

Willow Warbler

Back at Pilling a Nuthatch busily proclaimed territory as did 3 Song Thrush, a Mistle Thrush and plenty of Chaffinches and Goldfinches. The month of April makes birders look more closely at Blackbirds, hoping to see one with a crescentic breast patch and so become the elusive "Mountain Blackbird” or Ring Ouzel.

I must have studied twenty or more Blackbirds around Fluke Hall, and while none morphed into Ring Ouzels, I did note that most were males. Lots of females tucked away in the undergrowth on nests me thinks. 

Blackbird

Around the woodland, pairs of Buzzard and Kestrel, 5 Stock Dove mixed with in with 20 + Woodpigeon and 2 pairs of Pied Wagtail. I walked the sea wall but found no Wheatears, just a single Little Egret and 40+ Linnets in the damp stubble field. There are Lapwings sat tight on nests, Redshanks and Oystercatchers hanging about with intent but the farmer has done his first ploughing on the very adjacent field. The Lapwings are next for being turned over. Some things never change at Pilling. 

Lapwing

A blog reader asked about the tide in relation to the sea wall at Pilling. The picture below shows the tide in (on a calm, sunny day) on something like a 10.5 metre tide. The high tides are very variable, often much lower so that the water barely reaches the marsh and might be a hundred or more metres out from the sea wall. On very low tides the water might be way out in Morecambe Bay. In the left of the picture is Heysham Power Station.

Pilling Marsh

Pilling to Morecambe/Heysham

Join in Another Bird Blog tomorrow but there’s no guarantee of a Wryneck.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.

17 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

wryneck is a new one for me! LOVE the handsome blackbird. and cute sheep!

marga said...

Me gusta el Mirlo, es un pájaro precioso.

Amy Franks said...

They're very pretty birds, one thing we get lots of here is sheep and blackbird :-)

Linda said...

Wryneck is new to me, and wow, this one is well camouflaged!

Fun60 said...

Never heard of a wryneck. It looks so unusual and well camouflaged, no wonder you never see them.

Chris Rohrer said...

Wow! i have never heard of that bird.....a Wryneck. What a cool looking bird and congrats on the find. That is pretty exciting. I will be doing some reading on this bird after I'm done here. Very nice addition to your other finds. They remind me of the Snipes. Thanks for sharing!

mick said...

That is an amazing photo of the sea wall at Pilling. I went back to your other post just to compare the photo taken at low tide. The two photos show such a huge variation in water levels.I am used to big variations in tides but not in habitat like that. Thanks - very interesting!

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Phil! I have never heard of the Wryneck? I love the Lapwing and the cute sheep. Have a happy week!

David Gascoigne said...

It's a wry comment you make about this bird. Never mind keep sticking your neck out and you might get to see it. I saw it in Ethiopia by the way.

Stuart Price said...

Wrynecks are pretty easy to find here in summer but Firecrest is a bird I'd really love to see...........

I can remember high tides on the Ribble saltmarshes, quite dramatic to see all that green temporarily disappear under water.

Margaret Adamson said...

Wrynecks blend so well into their surrounding. By the way Phil, no ringing was done on Copeland as the winds were too strong and no migrants were around.

Adam Jones said...

I've been dreaming of finding a Wryneck for some years. I've also been checking out all the Blackbirds and thought I had a Ring Ouzel the other day, but sadly not. I have to make do with the Chiffchaffs instead.

thewovenspoke said...

Wryneck is a new one for me and very cool plumage. I really like the willow warbler don't believe I have seen that one either.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Those sheep look sort of marooned! Wryneck is one I've never heard of. I wonder if anyone ever keeps a virtual bird count. I've surely learned some wonderful ones I'll never be lucky enough to see through blogging.

I thought of your counts last week when we saw what I referred to as a zillion coots. I should learn how to do real estimates I suppose, but I very very seldom see birds in great numbers like that.

Marie C said...

I don't know if Phil was "mist-netting" more than you...sounds like you gave Pilling a real raking over! :-) You guys are so dedicated and find the most wonderful birds! I think it's probably true that you could be somewhere for HOURS and the minute you leave, a new bird flies in or something unusual happens....and you miss it. Isn't that Murphy's Law or something? Great photos!

Marie C said...

Oh, I'm with Theresa too, I forgot to say--love the sheep on the march, and that blackbird is wonderful on those green leaves!

Choy Wai Mun said...

I am not sure what is the status of the Wryneck in UK but here in Peninsula Malaysia, it is a vagrant and I have yet to record one. Good find, Phil.

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