Thursday, December 10, 2009

Luney Morning

I stopped at Damside, Pilling this morning to let a wide vehicle over the bridge, quite handy really as it allowed me a glimpse of a Mistle Thrush almost overhead on a telegraph pole, then to hear a snatch of song above the traffic noise. Well it is December and I reckon I always hear a Mistle Thrush on or close to December 25th, but certainly soon after the shortest day; maybe it was the sunny start that persuaded the thrush to try a verse or two. It’s not a species that figures a lot in ringing totals, but here’s an old digitised slide from Singleton Hall in the 1990s.

I had just come along Fluke Hall Lane where strangely the stubble was devoid of birds even though the shallow floods now look perfect for waders and wildfowl – perhaps yesterday was a shoot day and the birds haven’t returned?

But the Whooper Swans were out on the marsh, where from Lane Ends car park I could see distant swans further out from Fluke Hall with 18 Whooper Swans directly opposite me which as usual flew off south in small groups. For the record, 5 Little Egrets here this morning with 4 at Braides Farm, 2 at Bank End and 4 on the Lune Estuary.

The sunny start allowed me to spend a little time at Conder and also at Glasson where in the south facing car park, it was positively balmy if not quite summer. Here’s a picture to remind us how Glasson Dock looks in summer.

I counted most of the wildfowl, i.e. 38 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 1 Cormorant, 1 Great-crested Grebe and 1 Goldeneye, but I didn’t feel up to a Coot count.

There was no tide to concentrate birds but it was such a clear morning with phenomenal visibility that I did a quick circuit of the Lune via the Victoria, Bodie Hill and Cockersands and attempted what was I admit a not very scientific “guesstimate” count of the most obvious and numerical species. For what it’s worth, I got 3000+ Wigeon, 7500+ Lapwing, 2000 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8000 Knot with small numbers of Goldeneye, Pintail, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and Great-crested Grebe. And that’s not including the thousands of gulls and lesser numbers of waders like Redshank and Oystercatcher. I think it’s called “scratching the surface”.

At Conder the sight of 400 Black-headed Gulls greeted me, whose noisy presence rather took over the expanse of the pool. Neither did they seem in any hurry to leave, so I had to search for the normal odds and ends, as in 2 Little Grebe and 1 Goldeneye.

Over near the Stork pub the creek held 10 Redshank, 30 Teal, 4 Curlew and just a single Snipe. I was pleased to see a Ruff, presumably the same one seen in recent weeks but not for a few days or more.

I walked part of the cycle track where a mixed group of 15 Chaffinch and Goldfinch searched through some flimsy weeds with a small party of titmice.

A couple of Redshank fed below the bridge in the strong sunlight but a Greenshank was too quick off the mark for me to get a photo of it and flew off with its customary triple alarm. PW, I think the reflections from the sand messed up the image? Digital isn't everything.

I had time for a dive down to Bank End where I saw a Kestrel with mammal prey awaiting me on a roadside post before it sped across to the marsh to a similar sized post to continue the meal. It did me a real favour because as it travelled low over the grass it put to flight at least a dozen wagtails and 15 Meadow Pipits which remained near the roadside.

There were a number of Tree Sparrows in the hedgerow, staying out of sight as usual but I counted at least 10 keeping an eye on me.

Such short days, so time waits for no man, my cue to head back. It’s all very well getting out then blogging for Britain but I really must catch up with my Bird Track records tonight.


Tabib said...

Beautiful pictures, and love that duck hair style.

Phil said...

Hi Tabib. Thanks for your support and looking in again. Yes, I wish I had that much hair to style. Phil

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