Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lazy Day Birds

Yesterday’s snow lasted a couple of hours here on the coast. Thank goodness that by late afternoon there was no sign of the white stuff. Today was Lazy Saturday except for another visit to the feeding station in the hills beyond Garstang where I expected to see a good amount of lying snow. But apart from a smattering on the higher fells there was little sign of Friday’s several centimetres. Maybe the snowfall had cleared out the birds because the feeding station was pretty quiet apart from the customary Chaffinches and Goldfinches. 

With luck we’ll fit in a ringing session later in the week and catch up with a few Siskins. Via Yahoo “vismig” messaging it appears that February saw good numbers of Siskins heading north in both The Netherlands and Belgium, with some record counts during the last week. 

In the meantime I drove back via Pilling Moss and stopped to view a field with approximately 450 each of both Fieldfares and Starlings and just a couple of wagtails. The Fieldfares appearing now are on the move north and have not wintered around here in any large numbers. The status of the Starlings is more difficult to judge but almost certainly many of those are not British birds but are on their way back north beyond these shores. 

The field holding these birds is very soggy from months of rain, making it easy for both species to delve into the soft surface. The other attraction is the large number of molehills where the turned soil has exposed invertebrates and worms. 
 
Fieldfare

Fieldfare

Like their cousins the Blackbird and the Song Thrush the Fieldfare searches for food using its acute hearing to locate food below the surface. 

Fieldfare

The noise and activity of a thousand birds attracted first a Sparrowhawk and then a Buzzard. The Sparrowhawk had no luck and so flew off to try elsewhere. The Buzzard scattered all the feeding birds before landing on a line of fencing. But the average Buzzard is too lazy to chase fast flying birds like Fieldfares and Starlings, much better to sit and wait for a passing meal.

Starlings and Fieldfares

Buzzard

Buzzard

After a while the Buzzard flew into the field and began to delve into the soft soil and search the ground for easy pickings of earthworms and the like. By now the Starlings and Fieldfares had settled back into their own routine and while they gave the Buzzard elbow room, none of them took great exception to the presence of a harmless Buzzard.

Alas the Buzzard was too far back in the field for a photograph so I headed home for a lazy Saturday evening.

Linking today with Run A Round RanchStewart's World Bird Wednesday and  Anni's blog.

23 comments:

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The sky is almost black with field fares and starlings. How great! Glad to know you are human and had a lazy Saturday, tho I am quite sure that our definitions of lazy are different.

Anni said...

Phil, you managed again to take us on a 'wild' adventure with the soft, moist earth attracting so many birds. Beautiful images....but, that continues to be mind boggling...first, snow along the coast! Whoa. Then, to see 450-1000 birds in one outing!!! Phenomenal.

Your photos are fantastic. I know I sound like a broken record....stuck on your great photos, all the time. But, it's true!!

Thanks for sharing this weekend, at I'd Rather B Birdin'. All of us, the birders within us, appreciate you taking time to add your link!!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, beautiful shots of the Fieldfares. The Buzzard is a cool looking raptor. Great post, happy birding.

S S Cheema said...

Great reading your blog...

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:)In your patch, it always looks so rich with wildlife. The image of the Starlings and Fieldfares is incredible, what a wonderful sighting. I Love all your images, and the knowledge you impart. Today I learnt about the acute hearing of the Farefield, it does look like one Farefield has it's ear to the ground. Amazing!
Enjoy your Sunday.:)

Marie C said...

I have come to love Fieldfares through your blog and a couple of others. And that Buzzard and sheep photo is awesome!

Joyful said...

Enjoyed all your photos and the commentary. Beautifully done.

Russell Jenkins said...

I like the buzzard with the sheep, Phil. Imagine the kind of pic you could get if you were that sheep. Thrushes seem to be the birds to see when I'm out walking here the last few weeks. Signs that spring is on the move.

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like your photo of the Starlings and Fieldfares, an amazing sight.

Have a good week - keep warm!

All the best Jan

joanna said...

scrawny little things, aren't they?
I'm hoping for cedar waxwings to come by my patch one of these years. Would love to see those in real life.

Fun60 said...

That was quite a sight with all those field fare and starlings taking flight.

Adam Jones said...

Super looking Buzzard Phil. Some good numbers of Fieldfares too. Sending some Bullfinched your way ;-)

carol l mckenna said...

All wonderful shots ~ favorite, though, is the buzzard juxtaposed with the sheep ~ creative composition!

Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

Mary Cromer said...

Hi there Phil, I have returned to the world of blogging. It has been a crazy time, but all is as well as can be for now, just keep pushing forward with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. Any of the birds like the Fieldfares, Robins and such that do have to use their ears to hear the worms beneath the earth, always fascinates me. I have to dig earthworms up to feed my Box Turtle, and sometimes, I dig all over and the worms are deep. The birds find them so amazingly well. I loved the sheep pasture where the Buzzard hunted. I have seen the Red-Shouldered Hawks go for Earthworms following hard rains, or melted snow...easy breezy for them. Nice to be back~

Errol Newman said...

You're doing well with all those birds to see - love the commentary! Not so down here, but I did year-tick 9 Starlings at the weekend. Just have to be content with all those finches in the garden, I suppose. ATB.

(I will be updating my blog sometime soon)

Lea said...

Lovely birds!

Marcelle Simone Heller said...

Beautiful pictures despite the harsh weather or maybe because of the ghastly weather. Well done! #OurWorldTuesday #GreyWorldNomads

Powell River Books said...

I've always thought of buzzards as big and black circling in the sky. This one looks more hawkish. - Margy

Findlay Wilde said...

Great shot of the big flock. We have massive a massive flock of Starling, Fieldfare and Redwing feeding in the back field most days at the moment, watched over by a pair of Buzzards on the pylon.

Silver Parrot said...

Great photos - thanks for sharing!

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful to see so many in that flock of birds.

TexWisGirl said...

wow, the molehills are numerous! loved the sheep in the background and the buzzard posing for you.

Ida said...

I've never heard of a Fieldfare before. It's a very pretty bird.
Loved the shot of the buzzard (which looks a lot like a hawk to me) on the fence with the sheep grazing nearby.

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