It wasn’t the best of morning with cloudy skies and the threat of rain but I made a beeline north.
Beyond Pilling came the usual sighting of a Barn Owl criss-crossing the fields so fast that within seconds of my spotting it the owl had disappeared into the distance. By all accounts this is a bad year for Barn Owls following a shortage of voles. My many sightings of Barn Owls in the last few weeks supports the idea that adults are having to spend long periods of time hunting for food for themselves but also for youngsters yet to fledge.
At Braides there was a Buzzard along the distant fence line, a Kestrel, and a Grey Heron following the sea wall. More than one Buzzard spends the short summer nights out on these fences where five or six hours of darkness gives them ample opportunities of snatching night-time mammals. Yes, the Buzzard was very distant on the fence.
There was a Kingfisher waiting for me on the outflow of Conder Green pool. An adult Common Tern with young nearby was flying around making lots of noise and threatening most things in its path hence the Kingfisher looking to the skies to see what the fuss was all about. The Kingfisher flew off over the pool and towards the A588 road bridge - probably the best place to wait and watch for the blue streaks that care not about the traffic thundering by. It seems like Kingfishers are here for the winter now as I saw another one along the Glasson stretch of the canal a little later on.
There was wader activity at Conder Green by way of 17 Dunlin feeding in the creeks alongside 6 Common Sandpiper and 70+ Redshank. No sight or sound of Greenshank or Spotted Redshank this morning, a Spotted Redshank now overdue on the autumn timetable. Still 20+ Oystercatcher, 30+ Lapwing and a handful of Curlew.
They were a long time arriving but at last the Tufted Ducks have young, 14 or 15 fluffy youngsters scurrying behind their parents and onto the island so fast I’d hardly time to count them. There was another pair of Tufted Duck and still a lonesome drake Wigeon which has summered here.
At Glasson Dock I took a walk along the canal to find 8+ Tree Sparrows, 5 Reed Warbler, and singles only of Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Our northern “summer” has been a another poor one the latest in a series of cool or even cold and wet springs followed by a marginally better July, but months of poor productivity for birds of all shapes and sizes.
Only now and at the end of the second week of July did I see my first Swallow chicks at Glasson Dock. Compared to just an average year the Swallows are at least two weeks late and leaving them less time to produce a second brood and certainly no chance of a third.
When the rain stopped I did a little ringing in the garden and caught a few youngsters in the shape of Blackbirds, Goldfinches and House Sparrows. Maybe it’s not all bad news?
Tune in soon for more news via Another Bird Blog. In the meantime I'm linking to Theresa's Run A Round and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday .