Friday, October 23, 2015

Back Birding

Two weeks had passed since my last pure birding trip. The fortnight was consumed by lots of bird ringing during a settled spell of weather. Not quite “making hay” but very similar. With this morning’s weather in a more ambivalent grey and undecided mood I decided to take a rest from ringing to devote the morning to bird watching. 

Fluke Hall was first stop. Looking west from the sea wall the shore was jam-packed with Pink-footed Geese yet to leave their overnight roost on the flat sands. It was turned 8am but in the grey morning of late October the geese were yet to head off for a daytime feed. In parties of dozens and then many hundreds they lifted off from the sands as most of them travelled just a few hundred yards to fields south of Fluke Hall and yet more fields close to Ridge Farm.

Within half an hour the sands were clear of geese apart from a few hundred stragglers. It’s hard to describe the spectacle and noise of 8-10,000 Pink-footed Geese, and equally hard to visualise the experience so here’s a video of what is now a daily occurrence at Pilling. 



There wasn’t much doing in the woodland, hedgerows or immediately below the sea wall. In the hedgerow I found 6 Greenfinch and 4 or 5 very active and perhaps newly arrived Blackbirds, and in the field beyond 4 Stock Dove mixed with 40+ Woodpigeon. On the shore was a single Meadow Pipit and in the woodland the highlight was the customary Nuthatch and a single Goldcrest.

It was time for a look at Glasson Dock and Conder Green. A circuit of the yacht basin via the coastal and canal paths produced 15 Tufted Duck, 16 Coot, 4 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron and the resident family of Mute Swans. Close to the bowling green I found a couple of Blackbirds, 3 Redwing, 15 Goldfinch, 4 Long-tailed Tit and 2 Reed Bunting. 

Glasson Dock

I was looking along the River Lune towards Conder Green, where Redshanks, Lapwings and herons littered the now outgoing tide when distant activity spurred me to look closer. It was a Marsh Harrier leaving the river marshes and gaining height as it flew south. It was distant and in very poor light so a “record shot” of what appears to be a “cream top”. 

Marsh Harrier

Late October is indeed rather late to see a migrant Marsh Harrier although the species now winters in the North West of England. 

Conder Green gave up several species, most notably singles of Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank. Amongst 80 + Common Redshank were 12 Black-tailed Godwits, the latter one a species I really enjoy watching when they turn up here. 

Black-tailed Godwit

From the roadside lay-by I mopped up the morning with 80+ Teal, 2 Snipe, 3 Goosander, 2 Little Egret, 6 Curlew and 2 Pied Wagtails. 

Goosander

A very enjoyable and productive morning. And see what the weekend brings by logging into Another Bird Blog very soon.

Linking today to I'd Rather b Birdin and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


15 comments:

Jo said...

Hi Phil, it's been NINE months since our last pure birding trip! Thanks for sharing these images. I love the Black-tailed Godwit. I spotted one briefly as it visited the mine area in Tanzania. Have a great birding weekend. Jo

Andrew Fulton said...

I've just had a wonderful two weeks off work doing nothing than watching wildlife... Red Deer rutting at Tatton Park and a lovely white Grey Squirrel in my local woodlands...

Linda said...

So beautiful, Phil! Every time you share your photos I am never disappointed! :)

Tabib said...

Wow! amazing video, 10KPink-Footed Geese

Breathtaking said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing the vídeo, what a thrilling and amazing spectacle.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, it is always neat to see the large flocks of geese. Wonderful video. I also love the pretty Godwit. Cool sighting of the Marsh Harrier! Great outing and pretty scenery. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

EG CameraGirl said...

Lucky you to see these lovely birds. Birding seems to be very slow in my neck of the woods this year. I have no idea where all the birds are!

Kate said...

Birding trips must be fun; your photos are beautiful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful video and stills. We saw maybe half that many snow geese during fall migration one year ... In New Mexico, just an amazing experience. We spent a week and I'd love to be somewhere like you are where you could see that every day all season. Other birds are great too.... I like the goosanders especially.

sandyland said...

That bench is making me envious

David Gascoigne said...

When you walk beneath the geese be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat!

Anni said...

I am speechless!!! All those pink footed geese. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!!!!!!!

Neat findings...as always Phil.

Those Goosanders look so very similar to our Mergansers.

Marie C said...

A riotous gaggle of geese! I've never seen so many at once! How wonderful it must have been. I bet the sound was deafening!

Small City Scenes said...

Great shots. We have Northern Harrier here. Very neat Raptor to watch.
MB

Anni said...

ps...Phil, no from the link you posted in my comments today, I'm not in the photo. :-)

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