Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Full Page

I ended up with an almost full page in my notebook today. Nothing extraordinary as I might expect by visiting the usual spots, but it was just a good variety of birds, some nice totals, whilst enjoying a very pleasant morning in reasonable weather. Anyway it’s no good just sitting in reading the blogs and web pages, it’s much better to go out and actually do it?

First port of call Conder Green. Maybe it’s about due to turn up something a bit out of the ordinary again. Very occasionally I just stumble across rarities, and at Conder Green only in the month of July every 20 years – White–rumped Sandpiper in July 1984 and Pectoral Sandpiper in July 2004. The “pec” was really strange because the morning I tripped over the Pectoral Sandpiper was the day after I finished “work” as a civil servant and the beginning of my new career as a full time birder/layabout. Roll on July 2024. In the meantime I did find something of a rarity today, more of that later.

The pool and creek were as deceptively quiet as ever but with a little looking, a tiny bit of patience I found: 2 Little Grebe, 2 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant and 11 Teal. Passerine wise I saw PW’s flock of Goldfinch in the centre of the marsh, but they later split off to leave about 40 here and the remaining 300 or so flying over the working areas of Glasson Dock then out towards the marsh. I walked over the footbridge where I saw and heard a fruity Chiffchaff in the immediate bushes, then some distance out on the marsh, a Merlin sat upright on a piece of debris. A single Grey Wagtail flew calling overhead in the direction of the pool I had just left. In the creek below an additional 5 Greenshank stayed together as the tide ran in slowly around them. I did manage to get a photo of a Redshank, just the most easily spooked species ever.

A quick count at Glasson gave me 14 Tufted Duck 14, 52 Coot and 8 Great Crested Grebe, together with the aforesaid Goldfinch.

“Good” I said, as looking from the road up to Cockersands, the track over the beach appeared deserted; it was only as I turned the corner below the cottage that I saw it wasn’t. A lunatic with a household axe was very slowly, but systematically destroying and loading into his car and trailer the remains of a large tree that had lain on the beach for months. When he nodded “good morning” to me I pretended not to notice but kept a safe distance away. Me, I think I would spend a few quid to buy some firewood then go birding.

Whilst the noise echoed around the estuary I made my way to Plover Scar where I took a shot of what appeared to be a slightly sick Ringed Plover then counted the following: Oystercatcher 1100, Ringed Plover 7, Redshank 195, Wheatear 2, Meadow Pipit 6, Linnet 11.

The Mad Axeman was still there when I retraced my steps so I made my way to Jeremy Lane.

It was here that I found that local rarity Grey Partridge, a “covey” of 4, if four still constitutes a covey. They stood nervously waiting to enter a field full of Black-headed Gulls who were probably more preoccupied in robbing about 700 Lapwing and 120 or so Golden Plover of their food items to notice a few Grey Partridge. They did go in the field eventually but quickly disappeared out of sight below the hedgerow.

Nearly the end then, just time for a stop at Lane Ends to see a couple of Little Egret, 2 Wheatear and a Grey Wagtail.

Pilling Water wasn’t on the cards today as this was the first shoot of the season in the adjacent fields and outer marsh. But from Lane Ends car park I could see many of the released duck meet an untimely end as the sportsmen forced them to fly up from their nursery and over the guns.

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