Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Linnets at Last

What a gorgeous sunny morning, bright and clear. “You can take the Mini” said Sue. I looked at the petrol gauge hovering above zero, then in the boot speculating how I would fit scope, tripod, camera bag, wellies, coat, jumper, flask and sundries into a cavity the size of a Tesco carrier bag. Today’s birding tip – You can’t do it in a Mini.

“No thanks, but nice try” I said, and took to Motorbike Mile the A588 at a sedate pace in the Honda with a view to frustrating the tailgaters desperate to get to work in Lancaster one minute early. I paused at PW’s Braides Scrapes (should that be Braides’, Braides or Braides’s?) to see the now regular Goldfinch flock flying near the sea wall but no sign of Merlin or Marsh Harrier.

Conder was dull, gone off the boil. I yawned through one measly Greenshank, a couple of Snipe, the grotty Kingfisher, the very Grey Heron and the common Redshank. A couple of Meadow Pipits went over but here on the coast we don’t seem to be getting many of the birds being reported further inland in the Pennines in the last few days(Yahoo Vis Mig). It’s early days yet of course, the main passage should start soon and last well into October.

I motored on up to Glasson Dock in search of excitement, amusing myself by feeding sliced bread to the waiting Coot crew. On testing whether they could beat Black-headed Gulls to the scraps, I am pleased to report that the Coot won every time; I have handled a few Coot and I can vouch for their aggression with some advice that if confronted by an angry Coot, avoid the lethal feet.

I walked round Glasson Basin to take another look at the Great Crested Grebes where I counted six on the water plus one passenger, but they kept their distance, not up for portraits today.

Near the lock I glanced up to see a male Peregrine, flying from the Cockersands direction, black and white against the bright blue, no need for the bins there as it flew across to the Lune. This seems to be the regular beat, Conder, Cockersands and Glasson in any order, a smorgasbord of raptor food from which to choose at will. A quick look from the Victoria to the distant Lapwing and gulls confirmed that the tide was too low for camera and binoculars so I made my way to Hillam Lane and Bank End.

The Plan is to set up a new feeding/ringing station where a sheltered little spot may draw in Tree Sparrows, finches and who knows what. Chris’s pools held four Red-breasted Merganser and a hopeful Cormorant who must have heard of the fishery plans on another version of Birdline. After bemoaning my Linnet luck yesterday it was nice to see a flock of 60+ feeding on the ground disturbed by the recent excavations together with a smaller party of Goldfinch, maybe a dozen. A further pool held the released Mallards and a Grey Heron, but overhead just little further away I heard the unmistakable “mewing” of Buzzards as two rose from a wood to be harassed by corvids before making off west. Down at the site a handful of Chaffinch fed on wheat put out for the Mallards where I weighed up the possibilities for seed drops, tree feeders and Twite bait. With 20+ Tree Sparrows in attendance without any additional feed as yet, the prospects look hopeful whilst the same hedgerow held a single Whitethroat that rasped away at me.

The forecast for tomorrow. Keep me in? I think not.


Fleetwood Birder said...

I think there would have been plenty of vis on the coast 'proper' Phil as I had Mipits and Grey wags over the house as soon as I stepped out of the door this morning.

Pete Marsh said...

Hello Phil & Seamus
Please keep an eye open for colour-ringed Grey Wagtails & please note I have had to use black as one of the colours (e.g. those ringed this morning). If you want to colour-ring any yourselves, they will only respond to crystal clear recordings of an admix of song & flight calls - anything fuzzy and they dont want to know. Get the tape right & no wind (!) and you will find you catch well over 50% of passage birds. Alan Draper has built two tape/speaker set-ups which are not unethically (& obviously not illegally) loud but are crystal clear. Please let me know if you want colour ring sequences issued; alternatively (in the short term) contact Chris Batty and use some of his.

Any chance of any Twite ringing at any of your sites this coming winter or, more likely, a ring-reading fest after catching all ours!!



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