Saturday, September 19, 2009

So Near Yet So Far

Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park was the first port of call this morning for a spot of ringing. After all who knows what may turn up in a mist net in a nice bit of mixed habitat on a fine September morning, especially so near the coast? Alternatively, who could guess what might appear in a birder’s back garden a mile away on the very same morning?

As it turned out both the ringing and the watching at FMNP were pretty quiet with a nominal passage of birds overhead that included a dozen or so Grey Wagtails, a similar number of “albas” and maybe only 50 or so Meadow Pipits passing infrequently in ones and twos on a broad front. Local Linnets and Goldfinch hung around in small numbers as did a few Reed Buntings, none of them giving many clues as to their origins today. A couple of Great-spotted Woodpeckers and a single Jay were present in the top willows, both of which species might suggest an element of migration. Waders were represented with flyover Redshank and Ringed Plover, plus a couple of Oystercatcher dicing with death on the “airport runway” i.e. the fenced off aero modellers grassy track. Swallows had passed over most of the morning; I estimated about 50 in the three hours spent on site.

Birds ringed this morning were few and far between, one each of Goldfinch, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Robin and Meadow Pipit with no small green and yellow warblers to enliven the proceedings. Two Chaffinches completed the ringing, the photograph shows an adult female (clearly demarcated chestnut edged tertial feathers and rounded tail) and Reed Warbler.

Rather than have no photographs with which to bulk out today’s blog I took a few shots of the pair of Tufted Duck that stayed on the top water where they ducked under the bridge periodically, in and out of light suited to my efforts. Definitely tufted this female.

As the tide was on the way in I decided to take a stroll to Rossall to try some photography, almost certainly a bit risky to my blood pressure on a fine Saturday morning. At the Marine Lake I counted 220 Turnstone roosting on the island. Yes, the island 20 yards long that many moons ago was a ringing site where the roosting birds were hundreds of both Greenfinch and House Sparrow, remember them? But in those days the BTO told ringers not to bother ringing House Sparrows! The tales of cracking the ice to get to the island, of hauling across a holed, sinking plastic dinghy complete with passengers can wait for another day. Now there’s a thought, do Turnstones roost there at night or stay on the beach, where’s my puncture repair kit?

As usual I digress.

Walking on to the point I counted several Eider and a lone Guillemot close in. Some Turnstone had stayed on the beach so I added 30 more to my previous total then included 48 Ringed Plover, 40 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin and 15 Oystercatcher to the wader count.

A dozen or so of the morning’s left over Meadow Pipit flitted between the golf course and the beach whilst several more Swallows went quickly over.

Forecast for tomorrow? 7 m.p.h south-westerly. That will do nicely.


Fleetwood Birder said...

Cracking shots of Sanderling and Turnstone Phil. I remember those trips across to the island well; in fact they were sometimes preceeded with a pint in the Mount!

Phil said...

I don't remember the pint, maybe it was more than one and that's why.

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