Thursday, August 20, 2009

Up the creek

Well you if you are going to Lancaster anyway why not put the bins in the car and call into Conder Green for a quick peek? It will only take a few minutes. How many times have we all said that as a couple of hours later we glance at the wristwatch in amazement?

I hoped it might be a good omen as I passed Braides Farm and a Little Egret flew from the nearest fields on my left and continued over the car.

It was pretty windy this morning but I was not prepared for the strength of the gusts against the Conder Pool viewing screen. No wonder all the birds were sheltering from the vicious blasts under the far bank as I struggled to stand upright and felt the solid wooden structure shake. No matter, the rising tide began to do its magic as the birds moved off the marsh to join the pool as eleven pale Greenshank stood out from the hundred or more Redshank. I set up a scope in the safest spot I could find to watch the activity over the filling creek and the pool. About 80 Swallows and a dozen House Martins took advantage of the insects disturbed from the marsh as six Snipe and a couple of Common Sandpipers took flight. The usual Grey Heron took good advantage of long legs, hanging around as long as possible in the rising water before being forced to higher ground. I watched for a while longer as best I could as the wind whipped through the viewing screen before I thought better of it and took a trip down Jeremy Lane to try out the fields.

Although there were no gulls to check there were two recently cut fields pretty full of at least 1500 Lapwings, where I tried to get a few photographs of them and the half a dozen Golden Plover. It didn’t help that two other birdwatchers stood outside their car preventing the plovers from exploiting the whole field and moving closer to my camera. A pretty poor but recognisable image of a Lapwing resulted. Lapwing flocks can be so flighty, all those eyes watching and ears listening. As if on cue the whole lot panicked at least twice to return to roughly the same spot, all that energy wasted on a false alarm.

Lapwing


Time was running out so I returned to the pool to see what had changed. At least the wind had dropped a little in sympathy with the tide. My Greenshank count was up to fifteen, Redshank over 280 together with a Spotted Redshank a lone Whimbrel and at least six Common Sandpipers. Then joy of joys, three beautiful Ruff, two males and a female who was clearly in charge as she kept the others at the bottom of the feeding hierarchy of the muddy edges. I managed a few pics but by this time the light was into the lens. There’s always tomorrow.

Common Sandpiper




Ruff



3 comments:

Fleetwood Birder said...

Nice shots Phil!

Phil said...

Thanks. When i look at the last shot of waves lapping up to the ruff I realise how windy it was.

Fleetwood Birder said...

In fact that second shot of the Ruff looks as though it could have been taken on the shore.

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