Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Good Stuff Birding

After being delayed by early morning rain I drove across Stalmine Moss towards Pilling and really didn’t expect to see a Barn Owl, especially not at 0920. Things have quietened down on the Barn Owl front just lately. After many reports of daylight owls through January, February and March lesser numbers are now being reported on local blogs and web pages. Maybe the local voles have produced early season young from one of the several litters they have each year and after a lean winter provide much needed raptor food? 

The owl gave a good start to the morning’s birding but I was keen to get moving and see what else was about. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Weeks have passed since I stopped at Wrampool and as expected the local Linnet flock has dispersed to leave just 10 individuals. Lapwings were displaying in the next field with singing Skylarks above and a Reed Bunting alongside the overgrown ditch. 

Linnet

Linnet

More Lapwings displayed at Braides Farm where a flock of about 800 Golden Plovers were very vocal as well as colourful, the majority in at least partial summer plumage. When I returned this way a couple of hours later the plovers were down to less than a hundred and I suspect than many had already set off to continue their journey north. 

At Conder Green Sand Martins were on the move with 20+ heading noticeably north plus a single Swallow stopping off to feed briefly over the pool. There appeared to be at least 6 pairs of Oystercatchers on scattered territories around the pool but apparently no Lapwings. A single Canada Goose, 4 Tufted Duck, 15 Teal, 30 Curlew,  2 Shelduck, 1 Wigeon, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron completed the pool count. 

More Teal were in the creeks together with 10 Redshank and singles of Snipe and Spotted Redshank, the latter now beginning to acquire a hint of its summer plumage. A Chiffchaff sang from the hedgerow and a Meadow Pipit from the marsh. 

Meadow Pipit

I’d promised to call and see farmer Chris and count his returning Sand Martins. A Buzzard soared over the quarry while on the ground two pairs of Oystercatchers displayed. A count of 50+ Sand Martins followed with some of them already visiting last year’s nest holes. Not all will stay as Sand Martins are drawn to visit known colonies during their migrations.

Chris had forewarned me that the soggy winter had taken its toll by producing a couple or more landslides down the quarry face. He was right. Many of last year’s nest tunnels had gone. The martins need to get busy with major excavations soon if they want to produce youngsters. 

Sand Martin

Chris is keen to have nest boxes for both Barn Owl and Kestrel as well to expand his Tree Sparrow colony. Looks like more work for Andy when he’s back from ringing in Gibraltar. 

Tree Sparrows were active at Fluke Hall with much chattering and heads poking from nest boxes. 

Tree Sparrow

There was a Chiffchaff in song and as I stopped to search I heard Siskins then saw three or more in the tree tops. I then watched a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming out a beat on a dead branch. Fifteen Shelduck in the wet field with 6+ Blackbirds, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Stock Dove, following which my morning was done. Good stuff. 

There’s more Good Stuff son with Another Bird Blog. Don’t miss it.

Linking today to Run-a-Round Ranch and World Bird Wednesday.



29 comments:

Lowcarb team member said...

Barn owls, glad you got these photographs ...

Peep-boo tree sparrow ...

Hope you've had a good Sunday.
Good wishes for some more happy birding in the new week ahead.

All the best Jan

Linda said...

What a gorgeous series, Phil! I feel as though I am right there!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the Barn Owls are good birds. I would be tickled to see them in the wild. Great post and photos. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Oh yes!!! Owls!! Of any kind. One of my favorite birds!!

By the way Phil, that white isn't the eye ring ... it's the color of the eye [iris]. There are white eyed and red eyed vireos.

David Gascoigne said...

Hey Phil: I really envy you these regular sightings of Barn Owl. Any sighting of any owl any time is very special in my book and for you to encounter it with such regularity is very special indeed.

Stuart Price said...

Great morning, the fenceposts near you seem to be very productive!

David Gascoigne said...

In case you missed it the trip report for Cuba is up my blog. I guess it gets posted the day you start to write it, so it is "out of order" so to speak. It is themselves most recent post.

Fun60 said...

Barn owls are always a favourite.

Gerald (SK14) said...

Owls are such awesome birds.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Nice numbers of wonderful birds. I never noticed before that the barn owl has a heart shape marking on his face. Not sure why that tickles me, but it does! You know of course that if my birding day started with spotting an owl, I would be happy , whether or not I saw even one single other bird at all. And of course I don't have enough fingers and toes to keep track of what you did. Seriously, how do you keep track of those numbers?

carol l mckenna said...

All wonderful 'birding' photography as always ~ thanks!

Wishing you peace in each day ~ ^_^

NC Sue said...

Such wonderful bird shots!
Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/04/this-is-what-hope-looks-like.html

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

You posted so many beautiful bird. However, I am in love with that owl. I recently saw one in the wild and that was trilling.

Adam Jones said...

The Barn Owl looks likes it's been busy. I really like the Meadow Pipit shot Phil. Super!

Mary Cromer said...

Condor Green, Braide's Farm, places we shall never see, and yet you take us there every time you give description of what you have been up to Phil...I think that you should write a blog ;) The Barn Owl outstanding, just such a beautiful creature to observe first of the morning. I do hope that the beautiful Sand Martin's hurry about and get their new digs ready for their season. Now the heading, the Barn Swallow, Love that. Have a great week, take care~
PS... I still think that we should get a glimpse of who we so enjoy conversing with the past going on 7 years...just saying.

Gillena Cox said...

luv that barn owl; does he eat mice?

have a good week

much love...

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I'm right there with Mary Crommer............you take us to wonderful places, and tell us so much. We learn from you.

Ars Natura said...

Nice photos. I I link to my blog.
Greetings from the north.

Stewart M said...

Bit of a surprise to see a Barnie at that time of day - but a good surprise.

Assuming my taxonomy is up to date the Dotterel in my post is in a genus all by itself - so the name 'dotterel' may have no real link to other species with that as part of their common name. Been a while since I saw the Dotterels you see!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

June Caedmon said...

Wow! What a morning - great captures, Phil!

Bill Nicholls said...

Never managed to see an owl that close sat on a post, mostly see them flying past. Awesome photos

TexWisGirl said...

wonderful set of fence perchers! from the scruffy owl to the adorable swallow!

Buttons Thoughts said...

The Owl is incredible. I also like the way they fixed the predator problem on the last bird house...clever. Great shots. B

carol l mckenna said...

Love little bird on the fence wire! Great shots!

Wishing you peace in each day ~ ^_^

Marie C said...

Such a productive birding morning! Those poor sand martins have their work cut out for them. I hope they find good nesting sites. Love the barn owl!

Margaret Adamson said...

Photographs of the barn Owl and it just see that sound Martin

Ida said...

Birds and Fence post make great partners. Enjoyed the owls and all the other wonderful birds.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm with Carol, re: the owl.

Lovely pics!
~

Laura said...

What a beautiful series… I adore the owl photos!

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