Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dash and Splash

I thought I would have a swim this morning – Indoors that is. Very therapeutic and good for the arthritic knees, especially followed by a session in the sauna where a bit of lively debate, banter and very un PC discussion cheers everyone up in putting the world to rights in a matter of minutes.

Heading home, the sky looked suspiciously bright, very unlike the promised circa mid-morning deluge. As usual the forecast was sort of correct, detail of the actual weather not bad but their estimate of the timing of it dreadful. Following a hurried lunch, and upon seeing and hearing a Chiffchaff in the garden, I set off for a quick look on Rawcliffe Moss realising that the rain would now arrive later, by my estimate 4pm.

Near the barn a Collared Dove sat obligingly, but much warier than our garden ones.

I could see that Seumus had put out the first batch of seed at the feeding station and although there were no birds on it, just 50 yards away 8 Tree Sparrows rose from the hedge. Too much of a coincidence I thought, Tree Sparrows being extremely smart in sussing out food and what ringers get up to.

I disturbed a Great–spotted Woodpecker from the big willow and several Goldfinch from the field margin. As I looked across the barley field, where maybe 100 Swallows fed, I could see the crop was bent, broken, and in places lying flat, needing a couple or more dry days to make it harvestable in some form.

More Swallows fed over adjacent fields, close to the several woods where the warm air but increasing cloud had generated some insect activity. I did a 360 degree count for Swallows and came up with a “guesstimate” of 500+.

Walking north along the field I disturbed a juvenile male Marsh Harrier from some impenetrable vegetation from where it quickly dashed west behind a wood out of my line of vision. I didn’t see it again and suspect it went well west, possibly towards the River Wyre. That sighting brought me to the edge of the wood where a single Whitethroat moved from the nettles into a clump of birch and a flock of about 25 Goldfinch flew from the top of the birch trees where they often are at this time of year. I walked up the track to see a couple of Skylark fluttering low around a rushy field and felt the first spots, 3pm.

On the way back to the car I heard the unusual, a Greenfinch. From all accounts it looks like trichomoniasis, or “frounce”, or “canker” is still around and maybe everyone should make an effort to report Greenfinch sightings, especially at feeding stations and gardens, but also make note of dead or dying Greenfinch?

Back at the car I watched some Swallows exploit a puddle of insects, then a single Buzzard circle over its usual copse before the rain closed in.

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