Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Bit of The Med

A fine sunny morning is a good enough reason to go out. And even though it’s a stiff north westerly with not much promise of new birds around, there’s always something to look at and the jobs can wait until later in the day.

Fluke Hall was the first port of call. I parked at the foot of the sea wall where I noticed there were lots of Jackdaws and Carrion Crows flying noisily around the few pines then out on to the immediate marsh. I think they have begun congregating here because of the food put out for pheasants, which isn’t necessarily a good idea of theirs as some will end up trapped in the pens. Some of the crows fed on the recently drilled field along with Black-headed Gulls and Woodpigeons. I quickly looked through the black heads and found an adult Mediterranean Gull which chose that moment to have a fly around, whereupon I lost it among the crowd of black heads as they all went behind the still standing maize.

It was not very Mediterranean weather as I walked to the sea wall wearing winter coat, hat and gloves to see more warm water species in the shape of 4 Little Egrets out on the near sand. One of them was harassed by the crows; jackdaws in particular as the egret flew up then gained height over Ridge Farm towards Knott End.

There were a few Chaffinch “pinking” in the nearest trees and the hedgerow and I could hear Long-tailed Tits calling then found a little group of fifteen or sixteen.

I didn’t assign these birds to any sign of migration as they are often just in the same spot with odd Robins and Dunnocks. I walked a good deal of Ridge Farm but apart from a couple of excitedly calling Reed Buntings, I detected little other sign of morning or overnight movement. I saw the little crowd of Tree Sparrows with a dozen or two Linnet and a couple of resident Blackbirds, not scaly grey migrants. Sometimes it really is “Grim up North” I thought as I took the gate back to the sea wall then made my way to the car thinking how different this would be if I could transport the time of year, the location, the habitat and myself to the east coast.

I stopped off in the wood to look at the tree tops and listen. Often the recently arrived finches feed quietly and unobtrusively in the tops of the beech, with just the occasional soft call to give away their presence. Very few Chaffinch this morning and no Brambling either.

The Pink-feet are always good value for money so I drove slowly along Fluke Hall Lane to see how many were in the stubble but got there to see many still arriving from the marsh.

I took a few pictures from the open window as usual just before they took fright at a Peregrine that came low over them towards the wildfowler’s pool and the flock of Teal that haunt it. The Teal about 80, flushed by the panicking geese, formed a tight flock and headed over the sea wall towards the marsh ditches as the Peregrine hurtled through them but then on the other side of the wall out of my sight. Maybe this is the Peregrine I saw last week that also attacked Teal in virtually this same spot.

Just a little further along the lane a Sparrowhawk crossed ahead of me from the roadside fence post, then flew low across the stubble, but like the previous raptor disappeared from view near the sea wall.

I spent a few minutes at Lane Ends car park but there was very little to see or hear apart from a Little Egret, a flock of about 1100 Lapwings on the marsh and the distant pinkies.

A stop in Braides gateway is now compulsory, a new part of the circuit, especially since the Merlin took up residence. It didn’t disappoint again today as it sat distant but scopable on the trackside fence where I took a few minutes to watch it waiting.

So north again, this time to Conder. I spoke to another birder yesterday who complained about Conder. OK, it’s not Titchwell or even the Allen Pools but it’s all we’ve got in what is a fairly much built up part of the west coast so we had better make the most of it, work for our birds and enjoy what’s there.

The Spotted Redshanks hid this morning so I searched for them a little but found them around the bend towards The Stork where the Teal and Snipe merged into the creek vegetation and rocks.

The Kingfisher flew towards the inflow wall but saw me behind the inadequate screen then veered away but compensation came in the form of more four Snipe on the island, three Little Grebe, two Goosander and two Grey Herons.

I took a picture of a Cormorant on the pebbly island, little archaeopteryx if ever I saw it.


Errol said...

Had a 3 Brambo flyover while hanging out washing this morning; county recorder chap also had 2 on his vis-mig.

Phil said...

That's nice. Anyday for us now, maybe even tomorrow morning when we should get Redwings as well. Wishing our lives away.

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