Sunday, July 5, 2015

Same Old Birding?

It’s a well-worn birding route of mine from Stalmine to Conder Green and then back again, often with a detour or two. Alongside the flat coastal road there are many birds to be found at almost any time of the year. How remiss of Google in not showing the legendary birding spot which goes by the name of Conder Green. For blog readers not in the know but itching to get there, I am sworn to secrecy so cannot divulge the exact location. However it could be worth a look below the letter “o” of “Dock”. 

Birding Route

On the way north this morning I missed out a chunk of Head Dyke Lane and traversed Stalmine Moss instead, hoping for a Barn Owl coping with the extra responsibility of youngsters at home. There was one criss-crossing the fields and the road ahead but sods law prevailed and by the time I reached the spot, the owl had fled. I made do with a Kestrel or two and then a Buzzard content with the distance between us. Our local Buzzards don’t usually sit around for a picture and regular readers will know that in the UK this much maligned creature is as likely to have a gun pointed its way as it is to see the business end of a lens. 

Buzzard

Down from the hills a good number of Curlew have found their way back to the coastal fields of the A588 and while I didn’t stop to count the scattered birds, a couple of hundred seemed likely. At Braides was yet another Buzzard along the regular fence doing not much except waiting for the sun to rise and warm the air. I stopped for a while and found small numbers of Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Swallows and Skylark song. 

At Conder Green the Common Terns have at least two youngsters with adults back and forth for food, one out to the marsh, the other towards Glasson Dock. The terns don’t stand for others near their youngsters and I watched as the pair mercilessly chased off a Grey Heron and then a Shelduck. Luckily for them the 5 Little Egrets stayed in the creeks away from the aggressive terns. 

Although now part way into July and with well grown young in tow the Oystercatchers here still indulge in loud and frequent piping whereby aerial bouts of “piping parties” display in the air as well as on the ground. “Piping parties” are made up of pairs of birds which are often joined by birds from neighbouring territories. The Oystercatchers taking part in such displays maintain the open-billed posture they use in their ground displays. An Oystercatcher “piping party” can consist of a handful of birds or as many as twenty or thirty. It’s quite a sight and a fair old din. 

 Oystercatcher Piping Party

In the creeks and around the pool - 80+ Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and then 4 Black-tailed Godwit flying west. 

A walking circuit to find the “small stuff” revealed a singing Blackcap plus a Lesser Whitethroat still on territory along the railway line. Meanwhile Meadow Pipit(s), Reed Warbler(s), Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting(s) all fed young. 

The House Martins near the bridge had a late start this year with a number of them still in the throes of nest building and a handy roadside puddle all they require for a proper job. 

House Martin

House Martin

The final stop Glasson Dock where I found one of the Common Tern from down the road, 15+ Swift, 1 Grey Heron and the adult Swallows yet to fledge their chicks from beneath the road. 

Swallow

Yes the route and the venues may be the same but where birding is concerned no two days are ever exactly alike on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Theresa's Ranch  and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


25 comments:

Charlie Bowman said...

Barn Owl spotted around 7 tonight around Thurnham; have seen more this year than any other I can remember.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, thanks for letting me know where the Condor Green is located. I'll be right over, lol. Love the Buzzard shot. And the Oystercatchers in flight is an awesome capture. Do the House Martins have feather on their legs, they are cute birds. Great post. Have a great week, happy birding!

Margaret Adamson said...

Yes, that what is so wonderful about birding, no 2 days are the same in the same spot. Loved the shots of the House Martins adn the piping Oystercatchers

Christian Perrin said...

Hi Phil, that piping party shot is wonderful, one of my favourite pics of yours that I've ever seen!

Love the little white trousers on the Martin too :)

Hope the heat has brought about some great summer birding for you.

David Gascoigne said...

I am very happy to see the picture of the Buzzard. It really is incredible the amount of persecution they suffer to satisfy the interests of a few. As Christian says above the image of the Oystercatcher piping party is quite splendid too.

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful captures and I do love your birds!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Have a great new week!!

mick said...

As always! Great photos and a very interesting post. I was especially interested in the "piping parties" put on by the Pied Oystercatchers. The photo of the four birds flying together is perfect so I can only imagine how much better it would be to see twenty or thirty of them together. Around here I usually see these birds in pairs and when they nest their territories are widely separated. I can only guess that your environment is much more suitable for numbers of birds.

Fun60 said...

Great photo of the oystercatchers.

Russell Jenkins said...

Some very interesting observations of behavour and I always feel sad for the buzzards your way. Some excellent pictures as usual, Phil.

Adam Jones said...

That's the joy of birding isn't it Phil? No two days are the same and you never know what's going to turn up from one to the next. Great pictures of the House Martin. I've not seen too many this year.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Lovin' that house martin!! Different from ones we have here in USA.

And you and me both....there are 'favorite' areas that I and Bud frequent. Going back time and time again!!

David Gascoigne said...

It's a rainy day here and I have been inside most of the day reading the great nineteenth century naturalist David Henry Thoreau. His comments about the demise of a Red-tailed Hawk from a farmer's gun are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them (see the comment about the Buzzard above). I quote: But alas for the youthful hawk, the proud bird of prey, the tenant of the skies. We shall no more see his wave-like outline against a cloud, nor hear his scream from behind one. He saw but a pheasant in a field, the food which nature has provided for him, and stooped to seize it. This was his offense. He, the native of these skies, must make way for these bog-trotters from another land, which never soar. The eye that was conversant with sublimity, that looked down on earth from under its sharp projecting brow, is closed; the head that was never made dizzy by any height is brought low; the feet that were not made to walk on earth now lie useless along it. With those trailing claws for grapnels it dragged the lower skies. These wings which swept the sky must now dust the chimney-corner, perchance. So weaponed, with strong beak and talons, and wings, like a war steamer, to carry them about. In vain were the brown spotted eggs laid, in vain were ye cradled in the loftiest pine of the swamp. Where are your father and mother? Will they hear of your early death before ye had acquired your full plumage, they who nursed you and defended ye so faithfully?

NatureFootstep said...

I love the image of the Oystercatcher and really loved to see the legs of the House Martin. Don´t think I have seen them before. :)

Phil Slade said...

David, Thank you for that all too relevant quote from DH Thoreau. It seems that in certain attitudes towards birds of prey the world has not moved on from the 19th century.

Mary Cromer said...

What a surprise to see those longer white feathers on the legs of the House Martin and so pretty too, and the Swallow, love it and hope that the young all fly soon and thrive well. It is true, every day of birding may be the same, and yet the party is always changing about who the special guests shall be, either invited, or party crashers, we always look forward to what the offering shall be. Happy to be part of the community, as it would not be the same without birds in our lives. Happy Thursday Phil~

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Hi Phil, what wonderful bird shots. Love the sweet little House Martins. Great Buzzard shot too.
Have a great day and thanks for sharing.
cm

marsha said...

great photos...I especially like the oyster catchers!

Marie C said...

I never realized the house martins had such feathery legs! That was neat to see. Loved your photos, as always!

Choy Wai Mun said...

You are absolutely right - there is no such thing as same old birding.

EG CameraGirl said...

Lucky you to have a spot where you can find many different kinds of birds any time of year!

Nancy Chan said...

Great photo of oyster catchers in the sky!

TexWisGirl said...

sweet bird shots! love the oystercatcher row in flight! and the lovely raptor perching for you. thanks, phil!

Janice Adcock said...

Phil, always a treat to visit your blog with so much info on birds.

Ida said...

I feel sad for the Buzzard (which I think looks more like a hawk then what I picture a buzzard to look like) if people tend to shoot them. I think it's a cool looking bird.
Loved the Piping Party shot.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Wow, I love the house martins.

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