Saturday, April 15, 2017

Swallows At Last

More cold north-westerlies didn’t bode well for this morning’s circuit but I did get Swallows into double figures, picked up a few other summer migrants and ended up with a decent tally of birds. 

First stop was Gulf Lane where the winter set-aside crop now lies flat as a pancake awaiting this year’s plough. There must still be some food in there, probably the legacy of our feeding regime to catch Linnets. I found 9 Stock Dove searching the ground, 10 Linnet flying around and a single Wheatear. 

I rather like the Stock Dove, a bird which to most folk is just a bog-standard town pigeon that pecks around their feet while pooing a lot. Look closely. The Stock Dove is an attractive and rather subtly coloured bird by way of the overall bluey cast, the green ear patch, neat black wing bars and those ruby red legs. It’s a birder’s bird. Unfortunately, in the shooting season this smart little dove suffers from both looking a little like and often hanging around with its bigger cousin, the Woodpigeon. 

Stock Dove

There was another Stock Dove at Conder Green, a single bird that arrived to feed on the bare ground around the islands as I scanned across the water. After a wet winter there’s a lot of water here and this makes the pool rather deep for both waders and dabbling ducks. There was no sign of recent Avocets with waders and wildfowl limited to 16 Redshank, 14 Oystercatcher, 12 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Curlew, 1 Little Egret and a pair of Tufted Duck. 

The “tufties” bred here last year with their ten or so youngsters reduced within a few days to one or two still fluffy balls.  Who would be  parent nowadays?

Tufted Duck

As I drove towards Glasson Dock a single Swallow flew across the road, and then a little further along I spied a hovering Kestrel. Singing Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff at Glasson Dock where a pair of Swallows fed around and about the roadside and lock gates. 

I took a drive down Hillam Lane towards the marsh. The local Sand Martin colony swarmed with martins with my best guesstimate around 200+ birds plus four or more Swallows. Andy and I are hoping to ring the martins this year, but once again it looks like the little beggars are nesting too high up the quarry face for us to reach them. We may need a Plan B. 

Down at Cockerham Marsh it seemed to be mostly White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits with counts of circa forty of each and just 2 Pied Wagtail. A couple more Swallows rushed through and two more around the farm. 
White Wagtail

 
Meadow Pipit

I pulled off the single track road and onto the soggy marsh to let an ambulance pass by and on its way back to Lancaster Hospital - best not to bounce the passenger from their stretcher.  I’d heard the wail of the siren earlier as the ambulance rushed along the main road and down Hillam Lane to collect yet another casualty from the nearby Black Knights Parachute Centre. I do worry about that place. I’m sure there should be an apostrophe in that name. 

Time flies when you’re having fun but I had enough minutes left for a quick look at Fluke Hall. Here at least two each of both Blackcap and Chiffchaff, a Canada Goose lurking on the pool and a roadside Kestrel. Oh, and more Swallows. 

Maybe spring isn’t too far away? Next Tuesday - if those weather folk are right.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog in Texas.
  



18 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

Hi Phil: We have had Tree Swallows here for a couple of weeks now and I have seen Barn Swallows in four locations during the past week. I suspect that Northern Rough-winged Swallow is here too, I just haven't seen them. And Purple Martins and Sand Martins can't be far behind. Yesterday was really springlike with bright sunshine and a a temperature of 16 degrees. I just returned from breakfast with two of my brothers-in-law and it is raining and 5.5 degrees. Not quite so pleasant!

Linda said...

Lovely birds, Phil, and the White Wagtail looks like he is wearing a bib! :) Happy Easter to you.

sandyland said...

wagtail fascinating

eileeninmd said...

Hello, beautiful birds and photos. I love the Wagtail. The Tufted Duck is pretty too. I have seen some swallows around here too, so happy to see some new spring birds. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend! Happy Easter to you and your family!

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like the colour of the 'Stock Dove', and the 'White Wagtail' is gorgeous.

Hope the weather isn't too bad ...

Our grandchildren have managed to get out and about quite a bit during their Easter School break, and we've also had some crafting fun making Easter Chicks and Easter Lambs!

My good wishes to you and yours

All the best Jan

Margaret Adamson said...

Good shot of the Wagtail and it is good to know the Swallows are comingin in good number now. HAppy Easter Phil

Stewart M said...

Nice images - looking forward to getting barn swallow on this years list!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Stuart Price said...

We've had Swallows for about 10 days now...........

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

That White Wagtail is very impressive and so attractive!! My goodness you did see a lot of different birds in your driving. It's such a great time of year for us birders. And the dove's coloration is very pretty. I like doves.........AND POOING PIGEONS too.

Thank you so much for linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin' and sharing this with us over the weekend this week.

Gordon said...

I have to agree with you as regards the Stock Dove Phil, its a quietly smart bird. Also very interesting post, gonna need a big ladder by the sound of it.
All the best Gordon.

A Colorful World said...

The Stock Dove is a lovely grey. Wonderful bird sightings!

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Great captures- I hope spring is coming soon for you. Happy Easter!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I hope the weather forecast is right ...it must be time for Spring to stay. Lovely birds. We watched a duck today who seemed to be calling and looking for babies who never came. A fruitless search.

Patrycja P. said...

Fantastic trip and images. I envy you this Oystercatcher. Greetings!

NC Sue said...

Thank you so much for joining this week's link-up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/04/making-dangerous-situation-kid-friendly.html. You always take such wonderful images!

Lea said...

Pipits are such sweet little birds!
Have a great week!

June Caedmon said...

Wonderful captures, Phil. The dove does have lovely markings. Looking closer almost always reveals more beauty. Have a wonder-filled week.

Mary Cromer said...

Love those Tufted Ducks!!!

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