Saturday, August 29, 2009

At Last

A couple of enforced days off - MoT, the car. Then a family birthday, still it would be no good going birding everyday would it?

Left or right as I turned from our road? Never one to make hasty decisions I hesitated a minute or two before turning right towards Lancaster.

Prepared as ever I wore my winter plumage on the realisation that spring had imperceptibly turned into winter: bobble hat, gloves, two jumpers and winter trousers.

At first glance the windswept Conder pool didn’t look too promising, the nondescript ducks, distant gulls and waders sheltering from the elements again. “Now concentrate” I urged as the blobs morphed into objects more acceptable, a Greenshank, several Teal, a couple of Snipe and then to the left the male Ruff in the herbage who seemingly had dumped the two bossy females to now survive alone.

The consistent creek held the usual quota of two Grey Herons, twenty or so Redshank, three or four Curlew together with the resident Lapwing crew and a single noisy Greenshank, as below me two Spotted Redshanks hoovered together through the water. It was quiet enough to venture past the Stork to look from the other side where I managed a couple of distant shots of Curlew and Oystercatcher before the first exercisers of the morning clumped and shouted their way across the bridge leaving the waders, now including two Greenshank, to flee noisily.

Back at the platform I glimpsed the Kingfisher over the creek, and heard the call several times from the edge of the water below the road where they seem to spend some time out of sight. So I waited at the screen out of sight but watching the Ruff and Redshanks interacting for a while. Five more Greenshank appeared from behind a far island to fly calling towards Thurnham then circle back to land in the creek. By this time the sun was really trying its best to warm everyone up but I swear the same dark cloud as last week hung around in exactly the same bit of sky to the east to blot out any brightness. Then suddenly the sun came out, giving the scene a quick make over as the Kingfisher landed on the outflow wall. I had time to grab literally one shot before a Fiesta drew up noisily, doors clattered open then shut to unload dog, wife and tripod whilst the Kingfisher departed. One shot only today then but I think it’s not a bad one with a bit of sunlight to make a difference.

A good cue to move on to the next venue, so I splashed through the British Waterways Gravel Pits to leave my car in as dry a spot as possible. All those £1 coins I gave to that old geezer at the hut and he never did tarmac the place, I just knew it was a fiddle.

I had barely left the car when I saw the Lapwings in the air then Mr Peregrine fly overhead and above the bowling green towards the river. By the time I reached the other side of the bowling green the Peregrine had gone, the waders had settled and I counted upwards of 400 Dunlin, c800 Lapwings together with 400 or so Redshank. Another exerciser came jangling along and down towards the steps, time to move on again.

Saturdays aren’t complete without my newspaper so I popped into Glasson Stores for a Telegraph to read later. Well it’s either a glass of Primitivo and the Daily Telegraph or watch “X Factor”. Life is just one hard decision after another. I hadn’t realised that the shop is no longer a Post Office so the chap couldn’t help me in realising some cash back on my £1.60 to grab a bacon butty next door so I went without. What a busy little shop though, piles of newspapers everywhere, but I guess there’s not much to do in Glasson apart from read, watch TV or take up the local sport of Running Your Dog at the Waders.

I’d seen the Great Crested Grebes from the lock so went around for a closer look. Still feeding young, fish bigger than our chippy.

Naturally I called in at Lane Ends where I fought against the wind to reach Pilling Water just in time to see HiFly quad biking around the pool and the two distant white heads become not Little Egrets but mongrel duck. Not all was lost because the sight of 7 Wheatears surprised me somewhat given the overnight weather. I also had a Lane Ends tick in the form of a cracking little “deux chevaux” 2CV, the original farm motor and just had to take a picture.

1 comment:

Pete Woodruff said...

An enjoyable and entertaining read Phil with the usual scattering of 'doggie walkers' and 'jolly joggers' all there to mess up your birding day.

Looks like you're having the same luck as me in catching up with the Wood Sandpiper.

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