Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Right" said Fred

I gave Granada Fred a chance with his TV forecast this morning because he promised a “good” day, “quite windy, but sun in between the showers”.

I chose well with the first spot Fluke Hall Lane because out on the sun soaked wet fields were over 60 Whooper Swans, where they fed in the distance just behind the sea wall. Some of the crowd started whooping, then gradually the whole lot flew off south in small parties until within five minutes they were all gone and my actual count was 65. This corresponds with what happened a week or two ago when I saw over a hundred Whooper Swans flying to Pilling near dusk, so it looks like Pilling may be the roost site for the many Whoopers currently scattered around the Fylde.

Whilst I watched the Whooper Swans fly off a little Sparrowhawk came from the direction of the fields before heading out of sight behind the wood.

Well Fred was right about the wind as I confirmed when I tried to stand on the sea wall beyond Fluke Hall and although a Little Egret braved the gale, I didn’t. Already the clouds gathered, and weighing up the options I decided that if I wanted to see much, most of this morning would of necessity not involve much walking in the wind and rain but looking at well frequented spots via the car.

From the sea wall at Lane Ends I could see the Pink-footed Geese leaving their roost, so while the sun was out I took a few pictures.

Within minutes the dark clouds rolled in and the rain began. What a difference as I took what I thought was a colour picture of some flying Shelduck.

For the record I counted 3000+ Pinkfeet with several hundred distant Shelduck but 5 Little Egret closer in and a Peregrine beating up mostly everything.

With nothing doing I motored on up to the Conder Green area stopping in at Braides where as I watched a small flock of 40 Lapwings on a flood, as a sudden heavy shower forced 300 Starlings to join them. Here's a picture of a male Starling in my garden on a brighter day.

Conder Green was as quiet as expected but I found 4 Little Grebe a bit closer than normal until they realised I was there behind the screen, then 11 Shelduck opposite me did the same, drifting up the pool out of range. Teal numbers were normal with about 35, together with two Goldeneye, but the wind was whipping up the pool water to a lively head so I suspect some hid or sheltered out of sight as the Snipe must have done with none seen today.

The water level in the creek was fairly high due to the low tide heights this week which meant I couldn’t count more than eight Redshank, but the Spotted Redshank was still there and my picture is from a sunnier day.

It’s quite a view from Bodie Hill but perhaps not today where the squally showers and 50mph wind shook the car as I struggled to even open the door. Out near the waters edge I could see many hundreds of Lapwing and more Shelduck, and like at Lane Ends the Lapwing were being tormented by a Peregrine but for me the conditions were making the birding very hard work.

It was now 100% cloud cover with the rain hammering down, therefore pointless trying to walk anywhere to look so I decided to try Bank End from the car. Two more Little Egrets just out in the puddles and a Pied Wagtail that scampered along the tide line ahead of me were normal as was the Kestrel I disturbed from the fence posts. If it could hang above the marsh today it would well deserve its other name, Windhover.

Not for the first time recently the weather defeated me, but Fred, you must do better.


Pete Woodruff said...

Plenty of determination here Phil and that's what counts. I'm sure you will want me to tell you I botched the Flag Counter I installed yesterday by making a serious wrong 'click' and its there......gone!

So,not being able to find a way to retrieve it I've had to start a fresh but not going to let it worry me!

Keep up the good work Phil and Best Wishes.

Errol said...

Never mind, Phil - I liked the B+W Shelduck; triffic sky! It's B awful down this way, too, but not as wet! Me pliers are rusting!

Phil said...

Thanks for your messages of support chaps, I think we are all a bit peed off at he mo. It can only get better. Wrap your tackle in an oily rag Errol.



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