Thursday, September 17, 2009

Raptor Morn

Seumus sent me a text this morning to say that Meadow Pipit passage at Rossall was “decent”. I was a little late getting out but even so the pipit passage at Pilling seemed indecent or more precisely non-existent. Comparing notes in the past it’s often the case of course, Rossall can be quite busy with birds but it’s not necessarily replicated a few miles east and probably crucially, the reason is that Pilling is further into Morecambe Bay. As a result of the text I had a quick check of Ridge Farm but all I found was a couple of flocks of finches - 100 Linnet, 60 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting and 3 Dunnock which may or may not have been migrants, but otherwise no discernible migration.

At Lane Ends, with a cool north easterly breeze, the noticeable migrant was Skylark if only in small numbers, as first a group of ten and then three smaller groups of two and threes went south. A single Wheatear was along the fence behind the sea wall and 8 or 10 Swallows went through south. There wasn’t much happening vis mig wise overhead so I switched my interest to sitting down on the sea wall at Pilling Water for the next hour or two watching the 9 metre tide run in.

Conspicuous was the reappearance of large numbers of Shelduck with a count of 500+ and Pink-footed Goose building to 255 as small parties came in not from the north but the local fields. Herons were represented by 3 Greys and 3 Little Egrets and swans by 10 Mute Swan.

Raptors put on a good show with 2 Peregrine, one of which tried unsuccessfully to see off a female Marsh Harrier that then settled into the marsh. Quite unusual that the next raptor I saw coming in from the west was a Short-eared Owl that flew around at some height at first, then as before like the harrier, it settled into the marsh to roost. Also in from the west was a female Sparrowhawk that flew quickly and purposefully across to the east then into the trees at the car park. A couple of hovering Kestrels completed the raptor glut but no sign of Merlin this morning.

The tide was perhaps too low to do a wader count with most of the waders beyond the green marsh out of sight, but anyway I had been so busy watching the assorted raptors that the best time was past. Even so I did count 12 Snipe over plus 14 Golden Plover but noted the remarkable disappearance of Redshank today with less than ten. But they often fail to show here, perhaps just on slightly lower tides.

Photos today of Dunnock, Reed Bunting and another Redshank from Wednesday, then the Marsh Harrier courtesy of Simon Hawtin – more of his work by clicking the link in the right hand column.


Pete Woodruff said...

Getting a bit fed up of you Flyde crowd. I'm not prepared to list the birds seen in places I visited today (at a different time to my visit of course) which I 'missed'.

By the way is the cheque in the post for the pic on Birdsblog yet.

Kind Regards all the same Phil.

Phil said...

Just shows the turnaround of birds on these sites we visit Pete?
I'm sure our respective cheques have crossed in the post.

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