Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good weather decision

It was one of those indecisive evenings, birding or ringing, and after watching Look North West, Granada and the national weather forecasts, not to mention trawling all my Internet weather “favourites”, I wasn’t really sure. As first light beckoned I opened the back door to hear the trees rustle, looking up to see bats whizzing around next door’s sycamore. At least it was warm but too windy for ringing.

A slow drive north then in case of Over Wyre Barn Owls on the prowl but saw I none. Turning to Conder Pool I remembered the height of the tides this week in seeing last night’s tidal debris on the road making a mental note not to stay loo long or leave my car at the usual spots for the tide to claim. Drat, the overnight tide had also filled the pool to cover the muddy corner where I hoped to catch up on yesterday’s Wood Sandpiper. A lone Oystercatcher roosted in the shallows with a party of Lapwings on the little island.

The creek held the usual assortment of Redshank and Curlew with a couple of Dunlin, two Spotted Redshank and a single Greenshank after the numbers of a few days ago. I turned my attention back to the pool where two Ruff reappeared silently but the higher water kept them a distance from the screen. The Kingfisher appeared, as it always does, so I spent the next ten minutes trying to get a few shots as I waited in vain for the sun to appear from dark clouds. Eventually it flew along the pool out of sight to allow me to watch the Ruff and a Common Sandpiper again.

A quick look at The Victoria gave me about 275 Dunlin and over a thousand noisy Lapwings before a Peregrine silenced them as they scattered high over the Lune.

Of course I called in at Lane Ends. The “Creatures of the Night” had been and gone, leaving their usual pile of rubbish for other to clear up, left over fire, beer cans, cigarette packets and goodness knows what else they need to make their lives complete.

But what a sorry mess is Lane Ends Amenity Area, the west pool “set aside for nature”, more like abandoned to let nature take over, with the rest of the place devoted to satisfying the usual public demands. There has been no thought to what might be achieved with a little money and expertise, and apart from picking up a little rubbish, Wyre Borough Council and Environment Agency do little to encourage wildlife. Sad to think that not so many years ago this place held half a dozen pairs each of Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler and could do so again with proper management. Instead they have managed to rip out the middle story of vegetation including a developing area where Linnets roosted.

Near Pilling Water I counted 16 alba wagtails out on the marsh but as I also counted my first two Meadow Pipits of the autumn “tseeping” overhead, I am inclined to think the albas may have been White Wagtails. The few Swallows around found a little male Sparrowhawk following the contours of the sea wall before it saw me, to change direction and let me watch it disappear into HiFly’s fields. Not two minutes later a different but bigger Sparrowhawk quartered over the inland fields towards the dyke, for all the world like a tiny harrier until it too disappeared into HiFly territory. The Little Egret was still around, this time with a Grey Heron for not too close company.

Now let me go and watch the cricket and get our hands on some proper ashes.

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