Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fogged Off

Obviously the wind dropped a little more than anticipated, the fall in temperature and the moisture in the air played their part and bingo – fog. I set off because I just knew I could see a hint of sunshine up there to burn off the damp air quickly, optimistic fool.

At 8am the only birds I saw through the gloom were the ghostly shapes of crows and gulls, up early whatever the weather. Similarly the Robins ticked and called through the murk and surprisingly, somewhere out there a Buzzard called from the treetops or flew around on radar.

I struck out along Motorbike Mile thinking that by the time I got to Conder, the pool would be bathed in early sunshine, perfect photography light. I must have been the first vehicle along the road for a while because sat on a roadside post near Gulf Lane was a bright, orangey, male Merlin which glanced at me in the car, but as I slowed to look closer, flew off towards Moss Edge. I guess that this is the male we see regularly at Braides.

It was too much to hope that I could get a picture of a Merlin but the image below is by the famous ornithologist John Gould (1804-1881) who played an important part in the identification of Darwin’s finches.

The light was pretty gloomy at Conder, in fact it was a light fog but I convinced myself, perhaps marginally better than before. The light was good enough to make out the grey shapes of Redshank across the pool, as the bills of Snipe became the key to identification. A Spotted Redshank fed with common Redshank below the road and I heard the other fly overhead then probably around the pool when some of the birds spooked away for a while.

The mist hung around for what seemed ages, with intermittent but sunless bright spells where a trickle of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and albas went over. About 40 Pink-footed Goose, now all grey in the overhead mist, reoriented west and back towards Pilling after their brief flight towards the Lune. The Kingfisher appeared briefly on the overflow wall and also flew across the road into the creek but the light was too poor to take more pictures hence the one from August below.

I stuck it out until 10 when I turned back along the A588 and down towards Bank End where the hopeful parachutists had watched the same weather forecast as me and were parked up surveying their non flying morning. I always look in the gorse along there, and as usual there was an assortment of Blackbirds on the old blackberries and my friend the Kestrel worked the hedgerow but from a tree today. At least the spiders had been busy, making patterns through the damp gorse.

Sod’s Law they call it because as I neared Lane Ends towards home and a warming coffee the sky noticeably cleared and the sun appeared, burning away the remnants of mist.

Along Backsands Lane several Meadow Pipit clung to the barbed wire fence ahead of me as the clearing air allowed the combined calls of many Pink-footed Goose to reach me. Along Fluke Hall Lane in the stubble field the geese were as densely packed as can be, upwards of 3000 I thought as I dare not leave the car so close to the road were they; just on the other side of the tree screen at the edge of the field, so near that the murmuring, the humming of the flock was very loud. By going further east I also moved from too close proximity which allowed a better scan of the pinkie flock to locate nine Barnacle Geese with them.

In the wood I heard Long-tailed Tits calling, then again at the end of the wood at the car park where I saw a handful, but it looks like there are a couple of flocks at least. There were more Meadow Pipits here, just before Ridge Farm where the failed potato crop lies on the ground with several grounded and ones or twos flying without any obvious direction in mind.

I counted more than 30 Skylarks here and in the stubbly field south of it, but as usual it is difficult to quantify what Skylarks are actually “up to”.

Below the sea wall a couple of Wheatears stuck together as they hopped back and forth through the rocks according to the passage of people walking above them.

Sometimes it just has to be done - Shopping that is. But I don’t just stand outside I do actually go in, mainly to make sure the wine bears the correct label. But at least at Knott End it is possible to grab a few birds, as in 3 Little Egrets on the shore this afternoon plus one on the mussel beds, 15 Eider and a Great Crested Grebe off shore together with a couple of Pied Wagtails opposite the Thai takeaway.

Alright then, the Eider isn’t my picture but the egret and wagtail are.

1 comment:

Vandana Sharma said...

A beautiful feathery blog. I have been following our blog for quiet some time now and its a treat to mind and soul.

Just a request can I use one of your photograph fro mthis post ( that of a crow sitting on tree) for my musings?

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