Friday, December 4, 2009

It's a Cracker

Time just flies by very fast in these short mid winter days. It was only just light enough for birding at 0830 by which time I was taking the longer moss route this morning – Stalmine Moss, then Pilling Moss to finish up on Rawcliffe Moss.

Stalmine Moss always looks so promising, but unless there is a full day to wander the moss tracks it is not always possible to see a lot, and especially by tempting fate to park on single track Union Lane where last week a coach slipped off the road to finish on its side in a field. Before I hit Union Lane two Jays flew alongside the road to disappear into Clegg’s Garden Centre where I could see 8 or 10 Blackbirds flitting about the nursery trees. The fields either side of Union Lane were fairly well flooded where little parties of Black-headed and Common Gulls sat around expectantly. Along here I also saw a single Kestrel but little else apart from Collared Doves and Woodpigeons.

I turned onto Pilling Moss where out on the edge of another flooded field I saw a party of 15 Whooper Swans, where 9 hung together and the other 6 stood some yards distant out of my camera range. Another Kestrel moved alongside the roadside telephone posts but didn’t want to be photographed.

I stopped to look for the Little Owl that I hadn’t seen for months. It wanted to play hide-and-seek with me but at least it was there in the shade of the ivy covered tree. Some cold weather should see it become more obliging and maybe sitting out in the sun for a while.

I motored on down to the farm to check out the feeding station. Not as many Tree Sparrows today, in fact I counted only 180 but the usual dozen Chaffinches and 5 or 6 Reed Bunting were about. Those Tree Sparrows at the feeding station are real hard to photograph, so here’s one I did earlier from my garden. After that is a picture of a Reed Bunting from today; it was near the feeding station but trying to merge into the background vegetation.

I looked across the field opposite to see another Roe Deer, this time a single that like the Reed Bunting was trying to merge. These creatures are so wild, within seconds of seeing me a hundred yards away, it legged it out of sight.

Along the next hedgerow I counted 8 Fieldfare together with 100 or so Starlings and they mixed for a while on the wet field than on the overhead wires. When I look at the hedgerows around the Fylde now they seem pretty devoid of Hawthorn and perhaps we have already seen the biggest numbers for this winter. Along this hedge I also scattered 5 Grey Partridge as well as hearing more further up and either side of the track. In fact I think I have heard and seen more this winter than post breeding time – released birds? I saw one Stonechat today in the same place as a few days ago, as were another 4 Reed Buntings, a couple of Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Up near the plantation a Stoat saw me coming and scampered many yards along the track before diving into cover – he’d better not let the gamekeepers see him. In the closest alders 7 Goldfinch fed hanging upside down, tweezering open the fruits to find what they were after.

Time was running out, but what a cracker of a morning, just time to call in at the farm buildings for ten minutes before heading off home to catch up with the bits and bobs of life. Oh how the plans of mice and men are thwarted. If there’s a Grey Wagtail about, I want to try and take a few pictures, so another 30 minutes go by. Maybe it was worth it.

Later in the day at Knott End I saw 40 Twite on the shore being scattered by a male Sparrowhawk, 2 Pied Wagtails, 4 Linnet and then 2 Whooper Swans flying north plus 1 Little Egret in the usual spot on the shore opposite the Thai takeaway. One Twite refugee from the Sparrowhawk attack finished up sitting on the edge of the jetty.


Pete Woodruff said...

Enjoyed the read Phil and your photographs are pretty good......excellent even, and I know what I'm talking about when it comes to photography trust me. The one of the Grey Wagtail above the Twite appearing to look at its reflection is quite something.

Phil said...

Hi Peter

Thanks once again for looking in and thanks for the comments.



yen said...

I love Owl, nicely done on Little Owl and superb shots of the Goldfinch and the Wagtail.

Phil said...

Hi Yen

I put some more Goldfinch on for you. Thanks for looking in again.

Cheers. Phil

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