Saturday, September 10, 2016

Creatures Of Habit

Both Birders and Barn Owls appear to be creatures of habit. This morning I set off early as I often do and followed my well known route across Stalmine Moss. I don’t have a driverless car yet but I think that maybe mine does this route so often that it could probably do it right now, without help from Google. Right on time and in the correct spot at the road junction was Mr Barn Owl, or maybe Mrs Barn Owl; the sexes aren’t easy to tell apart, especially in the half light of a cloudy morning. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

I stopped at the rainwater flood on Rawcliffe Moss where yesterday’s rain had topped up the water level a little. There didn’t appear to be much doing at first with approximately 400 Starlings splashing around the shallows and a couple of Swallows flitting over the surface. A shoot on nearby land did the trick as first 2 Buzzards and then a dark Marsh Harrier appeared over the distant trees, the harrier in particular flying quite fast and south. It’s just a mile to the River Wyre and where to follow its course would take the harrier to the coast. 

Two Black-tailed Godwits flew over heading west. Then a flock of about 60 previously unnoticed Meadow Pipits took to the air and scattered in all directions before settling down again in the grassy field. In a further field and in amongst a dozen or more Wood Pigeons were 6 Stock Dove. 

I stopped briefly at Braides Farm where an annual flood has yet to materialise despite the rain of recent weeks. All that I found here were singles of Curlew, Buzzard, Grey Heron and Little Egret. 

The hundreds of Lapwings at Conder Green are now a thing of the recent past. I counted a mere handful before seeing that a couple of thousand and maybe more had panicked into the air, a grey mass of Lapwings beyond the railway bridge and directly above the distant River Lune. Only a Peregrine could perform that trick.

Compensation for the low count of Lapwings on the pool came with a good selection of other birds; 18 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 6 Curlew, 3 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Goosander, 3 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 3 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Pied Wagtail and a Kingfisher. The Kingfisher was yet another fly by, and although I watched it fish from the edge of a far island, this one seems not to come near the birder’s watch point. Little Grebe numbered 17, the same count as my last visit but short of the nineteen counted two weeks ago. 

Curlew

Over towards the railway bridge I noticed a gaggle of 19 very wary Greylag Geese, not a species which is at all common at Conder Green, at least not on the ground. The geese fed on the marsh for a while and then made their way into the creek when I noticed that one wore an orange neck collar inscribed with black lettering of “SDB”. 

Greylag Geese

Later, a quick look on the Internet revealed that the goose may have been captured on the Orkney Islands, some 450 miles north of here, and where between 2008 and 2012 hundreds of Greylags were marked with either an orange neck collar with three characters or a white plastic leg ring with three black characters. 

The Orkney Ringing Group - “The number of Greylag Geese in both the summer (c10,000) and winter (c70,000) are increasing on Orkney. The national Goose Science Advisory Group (GSAG) has identified the marking of Greylag Geese a priority in Scotland. Little is known about the movements of these birds after the breeding season. No catching has been undertaken during the winter months when the summer stock is joined by up to 60,000 winter migrants from Iceland. The degree of mixing of the two stocks is not known.”

Linking to Anni's Birding Blog.

More news and views soon. 

24 comments:

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Love Barn owl.. Best regards..

David Gascoigne said...

Gee when I saw the title "Creatures of Habit" I thought we were in for a learned treatise on nuns or other similarly styled religious orders, but no, it was just an opportunity to flaunt another Barn Owl! I wonder if there are other UK birders who see Barn Owls with the regularity, almost predictability, that you do. If so, I am sure you will all want to get together and form the "Thumb Your nose at Lower Mortals Club" - and if not, just think of the pedestal upon which you now have been placed. I think for now, we'll refer to you as Barn Owl Slade. You must admit it has kind of a cachet to it. If I could just think of some alliterative use of Barn Owl and Brexit the story would be complete. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Anni said...

So very interesting!! The geese number increase is always such a promise of good things to come. I love reading about habitats and their where-abouts after being ringed. Pretty photo of them too Phil.

Your owl [and your car that knows the way to it each time] is always amazing. I need a car like that...maybe mine already knows, but is too lazy to let me know. Laziness runs in the family. lol

To see so many birds in one outing...fabulous. And lapwings, I'm reading a book about a group of scientists [back in 1935] in search of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, and they are making records/recordings/photos of many Lapwings in Florida. Wish they were here in Texas.

Now that I wrote a complete novel, I will thank you again for participating in our birdin' experiences at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Creatures of habit...I found this interesting too. I know if I am ever able to spot an owl, maybe I'll start seeing them. I hear them in some of the same spots! Enjoy your weekend!

Denise inVA said...

Great shots of these beautiful birds.

Linda said...

Great to hear, Phil, and I love all your photos. There is a Greylag goose that I love. She is in a nature park here in Montreal, and she is a sweet bird! One day, several years ago, I went to this nature park and she recognized me from my previous visit. She sauntered right up to me and stood in front of me, just a few feet away, enabling me to take some lovely photos of her. That was when I had my camera but I lost my camera a couple a years ago and could not afford to purchase another one. Oh well, I have the photos I took of her as great memories. :) I love the patterns on the Barn Owl.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Good early morning shots of the birds, and a very interesting read! You can almost predict the birds you will see, and where you will see them, but it's even more interesting when you spot a number of birds that you wouldn't normally see. The Greylag is a common bird here. I see them regularly on a nearby river, but honestly, I would rather see an Owl.

Claire Moxon-Waltz said...

Very interesting to read about the neck-banded goose. What a lucky capture to get one on film. The barn owl is a real beauty. I don't think we have those around here, but I do hear great horned owls at night sometimes.

Margaret Adamson said...

Very interesting post and great shots of the Owl

Stewart M said...

Those owl shots are great. I do recall them be creatures of habit. Now all I need to do is find the places where they are habitual here!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Stuart Price said...

I misread it as 'S.O.B'.............thought someone had it in for Greylags.........

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Love that owl!

I wish I could find a regular subject like that.
~

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Beautiful photos, especially the owls. Love them

K V V S MURTHY said...

Super captures.In our area,we do not have these.

Fun60 said...

The owl is always the star of the show for me.

NC Sue said...

Beautiful photos you've shared at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/09/los-viejos.html once again. You have a gift for bird photography!!!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great shots of the Barn Owl. I think the Greylag Geese are so cute. The collar on the one goose looks tight.
Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent shots of that owl and wonderful other bird photos!

Happy Creating ~ ^_^

Rajlakshmi said...

The barn owl looks so pretty, somewhat like Hedwig - Harry Potter's Owl :) Lovely captures.

<a href="http://www.pocketfulofmaps.com”>Pocketful of Maps</a>

Jas said...

Ah, to see owls in their natural habitat is a dream of mine! Gorgeous capture!

Jarek said...

Stunningly beautiful photos.

Mary Cromer said...

Oh I do love your Barn Owls always, always, and get so envious as well. I know what you mean about the driver-less car feeling...for I always head in two main directions out here in the rural area of my county. I love taking the same lanes, but then going off on side lanes, which can sometimes be rewarding and other times, find you on very narrow lanes, with just yourself and a large farm truck coming the opposite direction...oh my... I have missed your posts and will go back a bit to catch up~

Barb said...

The cloudy day was perfect for your photo of the Barn Owl.

Molly said...

Owls are such beautiful majestic birds

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