Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I just had an afternoon available today but faced with so many choices what should I do? The tide somewhere, a quiet inland walk, a bit of ringing combined with a bit of birding in between watching nets? The latter seemed the best bet as by lunchtime the wind appeared to be easing so I made off for Rawcliffe Moss to set a few nets and a bit of birding. Almost immediately I noticed that plenty of Swallows and House Martins fed over the moss, some low over the yet to be cut barley and others taking the higher insects. Both a Sparrowhawk and a two separate Kestrels received a bit of attention for intruding into the hirundine’s airspace. As well as the feeding birds there was a definite steady drip of Swallows moving south which suddenly intensified about 3 o’clock when I guess three or four hundred extra Swallows moved quickly through.

The plantation was really quiet, one Whitethroat, and seemingly singles only of Blackcap and Willow Warbler. This is always the time of year when there seems to be a lull in migration and it starts in earnest again later in September and of course October. Anyway that’s my excuse for not catching much apart from said warblers and a few Swallows plus the fact that the wind picked up a little making the nets visible.

When it’s quiet on the moss without traffic noise you realise just how the calls of Buzzard carry a long way as more than once I heard but failed to spot the Buzzard before being distracted by something else. Eventually I found them soaring miles away and jotted down three in my notebook but I suspect there were more. Often I see them sat motionless for ages on fence posts and a favourite of theirs, hay bales where I guess they have a pretty good spot from which to look out for small animals in the cut fields. How the Buzzard population has taken off around here in recent years. It doesn’t seem that long ago when the nearest Buzzards to the Fylde were those we saw north of Levens on the journey to Walney, then one year I watched one fly past Lane Ends in early April which was so unusual it made the yearly bird report! Now they are just everywhere, quite amazing. But I learnt this year how secretive and inconspicuous they are for a large raptor, when I unexpectedly found some 1J’s i.e. just fledged but unable to yet fly fully, moving through a wood I had visited and passed by a number of times. Even after finding those gigantic young I didn’t see the adults carrying food into the wood despite being close enough to notice. Maybe they were midnight snackers?

Three pictures today. The Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat from a previous day and the same Pied Wagtail as yesterday, still finding lots of food around the farm buildings.

I’ve just watched the weather forecast for tomorrow. Don’t ask, but don’t set the bedside alarm.

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