Thursday, January 14, 2010

Almost Normal

After an aborted ringing session because of an early breeze, I started off the dull morning at Knott End with a look from the jetty where the tide was slowly running in to a grey scene of 1400 Oystercatchers, 40 Knot, 90 Dunlin, 118 Shelduck and 80 Redshank on the shore with 9 Turnstone roosting near the top of the jetty. Down near the end of the jetty I could see 4 Eider on the path with a couple of Herring Gulls but the slope looked so slippery with ice I didn’t venture down to find out. Six Red-breasted Merganser flew off the incoming water and then upstream towards Fleetwood docks. An overflying Fieldfare chuckled off towards the Golf Course. It was so dull; I set the ISO to 800.

Knott End




I found the resident party of 40 Twite feeding on the shore but these birds are so jittery I didn’t get chance to look in any detail before a passing soul disturbed the flock enough for them to fly up and beyond the Bourne Arms to the marsh beyond. I walked towards the village to see the Twite fly back and forth at least twice, settling only briefly before twittering off again. But in amongst more Redshank feeding in the partly frozen puddles I found 2 Rock Pipit and 2 Meadow Pipit with a Pied Wagtail scuttling along the wall beneath me.

Pied Wagtail

Already the road thawed and the sky brightened so I thought to try my luck at Lane Ends, maybe even walk to Pilling Water for the first time for a month or more. I’d looked a couple of days before for thrushes feeding on the last resort Sea Buckthorn, and today a single Fieldfare fought off a Blackbird and reserved a spot on the overloaded bush. In the car park, the leaf litter and the scrubby woodland I counted more than 18 Blackbirds where I switched my ISO to 400 to get a picture or two of the Fieldfare in the buckthorn and 4 Redwing and 6 Meadow Pipit searching through the thawing grass opposite the entrance.


Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit


From the top car park I could see Whooper Swans out near the tide line but also flying just inland to Fluke Hall Lane so I walked up to Pilling Water taking odd pictures as I walked. At Pilling Water I was able to count he birds, the ones now on the inland fields, those still on the move and a few still out on the marsh. My total count was 96.

Whooper Swan

A passing Peregrine disturbed the massed Teal, Wigeon and Mallard in the tidal channel but apart from saying there were thousands, I’m afraid I didn’t have the time to count and in any case it was still cold enough to stop telescope fingers working normally. On the walk back to Lane Ends I found 2 Skylark still around the grass at the base of the partly thawing sea wall.

I drove out of the car park to see a Snipe flying gently towards a roadside ditch so followed to where it landed. I guess it’s not a species of which we expect to get prolonged or even close views; in my own case only when occasionally they might be caught in a mist net. But today I just got lucky, and although it took me a minute or two to spot the bird in the ditch below me, I bided my time and waited for the bird to relax a little.


An eventful and fruitful morning, even almost normal after the last few weeks.


Brian Rafferty said...

Phil.It's good that things seem to be returning to normal and it could be much milder by the weekend. You have had a good day's birding with plenty of variety and some nice images from your day out. I particularly like the last one of the snipe which posed very nicely for you. Well done.

Unravel said...

Great Snipe shots there!
It's hard to get that close and not making them flushed away.

S.C.E. said...

Nice shots, especially the Snipe...............

Pete Woodruff said...

Another excellent read with equally excellent pic's. Keep up the good work Phil.

T and S said...

Cool series of bird pics...Thomas

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