Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dodgy Days

I was desperate to go birding and experiment with my new 80D, preferably at a sensible ISO. All I needed was a decent spell of sunshine but that wasn’t to be. On Wednesday the sun appeared in spasms as 30mph westerlies and 50mph gusts pushed grey clouds across the sky. I ventured forth more in hope than expectation, but with yellow weather warnings I was due for a day or two of dodging the showers. 

Across the windswept moss I’d clocked up a pair of Kestrels, one of four territories noted in recent days. 

There’d been reports of several White-fronted Geese and even a Red-breasted Goose with the pinkies at Cockerham. Chances were the geese had already departed; seen off by the farmer or deterred by the day long procession of people keen to see the colourful goose, star of pager buzz but of dubious origin. 

Red-breasted Goose

I stopped off at Gulf Lane to feed the Linnets and where a shooter advised that the farmer had indeed moved the geese from his fields. A drive down his track in a Land Rover would send the geese into the air and seek out new grazing on a neighbouring farm. Farmers around here stick together - even to the extent of letting each other see the wild geese. Birders see a wild goose chase as fun sport, but for a farmer his livelihood goes down the drain when several thousand geese poop on his pasture. 

The shooter also advised that a birdwatcher had told him the flock of birds flying around the set-aside were Twite; that’s a major problem with these twitches - they bring out dodgy, part-time birders as well as suspect birds. I checked – yes, definitely Linnets, all 200+ of them; and a Little Egret sheltering from the wind in the dyke. 

Along Lancaster Lane is a major flood. Lapwings fed in their thousands with dozens of Redshanks, 30 Black-tailed Godwits, and then good numbers of Curlew and Golden Plover in the far distance. Skylarks appeared from the black stuff when flighty Lapwings caused temporary panic and mass flight of the assembled crowd. About 80 Fieldfares fed close to the hedgerow, partly sheltered from the wind but close enough to dash back should danger threaten, as they did more than once. Along the lane, and for the second time lately, I found another Kestrel hanging about a likely looking barn 

Mostly Lapwings
 
Fieldfares

Fieldfare

The wind raged across Braides Farm where many Lapwings hunkered down against the gusts that made their feeding hard work. 

I drove on up to Conder and Glasson where the high tide coupled with strength and direction of the wind would surely make Goldeneye and Tufted Ducks appear as if by magic? It did, with tightly packed counts of 45+ Goldeneye and 60+ Tufted Duck bouncing across the usually calm marina that now resembled a wave packed sea and made photography difficult. 

Tufted Duck and Goldeneye
 
Goldeneye
 
Goldeneye

At Conder Green the high tide had almost reached the road. From there and on the pool I managed to count about 200 Teal, 30+ Redshank, 4 Little Grebe, 15 Wigeon and 1 Sparrowhawk fighting against the wind to find something to eat.

Teal

Little Grebe

The weather isn’t much better today although there’s no sign yet of the predicted snow, but I ain’t going nowhere just yet.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday.



18 comments:

Stuart Price said...

I once got deeply stuck in mud looking for a Red Breasted Goose in Norfolk. My friend lost his welly in the sludge and had to walk 2 miles back to the village with only one boot. We didn't even see the goose and in fact I've still never seen one ever...........

Linda said...

Beautiful birds, Phil, and the geese are a real treat! :)

Jo said...

Hi Phil, I love your header.I love the fieldfare and your teals are so colorful. Interesting post about the farmers vs birds/birders. What is a shooter? Is that someone wielding a gun or a camera? Sorry, I need to ask...Farmers' suffer here with thousands of quealea and finches which ruin crops. But then again, the natural predators - one being the Lanner Falcon - have been decreased by lack of habitation and poisoning. I need to get out there and LOOK for birds again. Greetings Jo

Patrycja P. said...

Wow, amazing observations and beautiful photos! Red - breasted Geese are my favourite. Greetings!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, awesome shots of the ducks. I love the pretty Red-breasted Goose. Great photos, Phil. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

Jo said...

Hi Phil thanks for explanation about shooters. Re your question on my blog today: Stewart (Paying ready attention blog) also asked what a servitude is. I wrote a post about it but cannot find it!

"A servitude is a registered right that a person has over the immovable property of another. It allows the holder of the servitude to do something with the other person’s property, which may infringe upon the rights of the owner of that property. An example is the right of way to travel over a section of the other person’s property in order to reach your own property. Servitudes are very common mainly with farms and smallholdings." Greetings Jo

Anu said...

Beautiful photos. Here in Finland, during autumn migration, there are every year some Red-breasted goose among Barnacle goose, but I have had so bad luck that I have not ever seen red-brested goose – despite that I have tried many times. Maybe next autumn...

David Gascoigne said...

Those Red-breasted Geese are truly beautiful birds. I have seen them many times but only in waterfowl collections. I would give my eye teeth (whatever they are) to see them in the wild. Here is the challenge, Phil. Organize a trip to Siberia in the spring to see them on their breeding grounds, and I will sign up for it. As the leader you will obviously be solicitous as to my every whim and ensure at all costs that I have a wonderful time. I am a simple man, as long as my Camembert is at room temperature, the crackers unbroken, and the wine of the very finest vintage, all will be well.

Lea said...

Great photos!
The Red-breasted Geese and so very colorful!
Have a wonderful week-end!

Margaret Adamson said...

Splendid shot of the Teal, Goldeneye and Fieldfare. Have a wonderful weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I just wanted to stop back and say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Wonderful photos and birds. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Mary Cromer said...

The Little Grebe and the gorgeous Teal, oh my how splendid they are Phil. I so enjoy your writings and I feel as though I just journeyed this day along with you. Did we have coffee with us, for I certainly would need it right about now...not dawn yet and less than 5 hours of sleep. I will check out a couple of older posts now too. Happy Weekend~

Marleen said...

Always a joy to watch your photos, Phil. Love the red-breasted geese!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Nice photos of the birds. Love the colors of the teal.The goldeneye and red-breasted goose are pretty interesting too.

A Colorful World said...

Love the geese! And the teal is lovely. Great post!

sandyland said...

always makes me feel good

Black Jack's Carol said...

Yours is one of those blogs where the comments are almost as interesting as the posts. Loved Stuart and David's comments. I'm in Vancouver, BC, and have never seen a Red-breasted Goose. I grew up in farm country and feel empathy for both the farmers and the birds. Met a Saker Falcon bred in captivity (mixed feelings about that) a couple of weeks ago that is trained to fly around the airport to keep birds away from airplane flight paths. His trainer told me he has never actually had to kill a bird. Loved all the photos but was drawn to the Teal Duck as we only see them rarely here. Many thanks.. fascinating blog!

Lowcarb team member said...

What a wonderful collection of photographs, especially those Red-breasted geese.

All the best Jan

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