Friday, November 6, 2009

... They Keep Fallin......

Yes, it’s still raining but I’m not going to let that get me down because I have just spent an hour fixing the tethers of a mist net then set to on my pliers with WD40 in preparation for Sunday morning and the second coming of Fieldfares.

I’m still going through the old slides so here’s few to be going on with, the theme being “peckers and others” - and they give me the chance to have a rant where necessary.

Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers have never been common in this part of coastal Lancashire, in fact quite uncommon but turning to rare in the 1990’s, then becoming virtually non-existent in the new millennium. I think they last bred in the Fylde in the early 90’s but the picture below was taken in a wood near Salwick, Preston in 1982.

The last regular place to see lesser spots in the Fylde was perhaps Thurnham Hall where the ringing group used to do some work until that too was developed, this time for “leisure”. “Isn’t birding leisure?” I ask myself. What I really meant was the site was developed for someone to make money out of it, selling timeshare flats and opening up the grounds to a free for all. There’s no money in birding unless you are the RSPB, a mobile phone or pager company or import the latest optical must have.

Anyway the next picture was taken on Merseyside some years later when a fluke catch found both Great-spotted Woodpecker and Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in the same mist net. Note the aggression of the larger bird towards the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker.

My own ideas on the demise of the smaller species is that it is linked to the simultaneous rise over the same time span in the numbers of Great-spotted Woodpeckers where both species must compete to a great extent for suitable nesting sites, where the larger species is predatory and where the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker has historically always been on the edge of its range.

The next pictures show Northern Flicker which I likened in habits and looks some weeks ago to our UK Green Woodpecker when one showed up in Poulton le Fylde and which apparently became the subject of some frenzied twitching and listing. Obviously the first two pictures are mine, Long Point circa 1990, the third and superb one, is definitely not.

The next two pictures are fairly old digitised slides, one has clearly taken to the new format better than the other. The first is a Wryneck I found at Marton Mere many years ago one early August morning in 1986BMP (Before Mobiles and Pagers). At first it was easy to watch, I re-found the bird on a later visit where if I remember correctly, several people gathered round to watch it. By the third and forth day it became increasingly difficult to find as it roamed around the site, hiding amongst the old tip material, and some people never caught up with it.

Maybe the second picture from Scilly shows why a Wryneck can be so difficult to see or find unless served up on a plate.

Finally, someone asked me if I had any more pictures of the Pine Bunting because they want to go out and find one this weekend. I found one more picture, but good luck, you’ll need it if it continues raining like this.

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