Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rain Drops Keep Fallin' ........

Nothing was going to keep me in this morning, even the promise of “heavy showers”, because with that assurance was the idea of “sunny spells”. So Conder Green it was, forsaking my usual stop at Pilling until later.

Through the spitting rain I surveyed the pool to look for PW’s 10 Little Grebes but this morning I could locate only 4, the remainder having done their trick of hiding in parts binoculars can not reach i.e. around the back of the islands I think. There were 2 Goosander sailing around, diving intermittently, as were 7 Tufted Duck and a single Goldeneye.

The Spotted Redshank was on the far island, as were a Greenshank and the Ruff that has been here a while now but mostly in the creek. The combined Teal count from the pool and the creeks came to 95 but they kept a suitable distance to stop my photography. I really want to take a picture of a drake Teal in bright sunshine, what a beautiful duck it is. But no pictures yet, everything was too distant and the weather too dull with just a peek of blue sky now and again.

Round at the car park I looked from the embankment to see the waders, mostly Knot and Lapwing gathering pre roost, but hidden in the channels I heard plenty of Wigeon calling. Out to the right sat a waiting Merlin, tiny on a wooden post, much too distant for a picture.



There seemed to be a number of Blackbirds in the car park, maybe 10 or so, but probably no more than normal. In the car park and then along the cycle way towards Glasson, I thought there were more than the normal number of Chaffinch, perhaps 20+ and they were very vocal with plenty of “pink, pink” calls. One of the males posed obligingly for me but I didn’t have any luck with about a dozen Goldfinch.



Across the bridge, the hailstones came down but changed rapidly to heavy rain wetting me through, so not allowing me to take a picture of 6 Whooper Swans which flew overhead, heading south. At this I quickly hid my camera away from the heavy rain then retreated to the car to head for Jeremy Lane.

From the lane gateway I counted over 40 Mute Swans with a lone Whooper. There were a few Curlew on the flood but as I watched them, a party of Black-tailed Godwit flew around and about before landing on the developing pool; they were a bit distant in the rainy gloom but I counted 36, a nice number for here.





As the sun came out, I stopped at the water treatment plant to dry off the inside of my car but also to watch some Magpies, Public Enemy No1, clowning around. I must admit I’m not a Magpie lover, after on many occasions helplessly watching them take fledgling Blackbirds from hedgerows, so I have in the past shoved a few mist net bamboos through one or two Magpie nests to sort of even up the score. But here was a bit of a challenge; first, because they are the unloved, they are usually very wary of close approach, and secondly, can I get a photograph of a black bird whilst depicting the dark eye, not to mention the blue/green of the plumage?





A Pied Wagtail also fed around the flooded compound, avoiding the Magpies as much as possible. This reminded me of a gem of a story involving Mr and Mrs Joe Public who upon seeing a number of recently fledged wagtails, and being familiar with Magpies, concluded that the wagtails were in fact baby Magpies! In a strange way it’s actually fairly logical. Maybe as this couple grow older they will learn that the average small passerine’s breeding and fledging cycle takes 4 to 5 weeks, whereas human offspring don’t fledge nowadays until they are at least 25 years old, by which time they have outgrown their parents. Thanks for the story Will.



That rarity the common House Sparrow, hung around the immediate hedgerow, about 8 of them, together with 11 Collared Doves.



At Bank End there were 4 Little Egrets, with 2 Kestrels hunting the embankment but it really was too wet and miserable to get good photos.



Even though the rain hammered down, I called in at Fluke Hall Lane where at least we will reap the benefit of the floods that will soon hold some waders, wildfowl and swans. Today a family of Whooper Swans sat some distance towards the wall, 2 adults and 4 young.



By now the rain had changed from heavy showers to a torrential downpour, beginning to actually flood the roads, so I headed for home via Wheel Lane where in parts the roadside ditches were overflowing in readiness for tomorrow.

Not a bad morning’s birding, very enjoyable considering the shocking weather but it would have been nice to get out and walk in a little sunshine.

2 comments:

Pete Woodruff said...

An enjoyable read Phil and my favourite pic of the day is the one of the hovering Kestrel......well done.

The Little Grebes on Conder Pool are a real challenge to count, I appreciate they were mostly hidden from your view today but when they are all out on the pool they are really hard work, I reckon in three visits I counted them up to 30 times to arrive at an accurate count, that leaves two options 1) I'm dedicated to the facts or, 2) I'm nuts.

Phil said...

Hi Peter and thanks for your support. Each to his own, but my favourite of the day is the Chaffinch, it was more difficult to get.

Phil

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