Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beware The Balls

My first admission is that I haven’t got any new photographs from today apart from the first one because most birds I saw simply weren’t playing ball for posing, but I also had the usual problem of too much grey sky and no sunshine. I like to use my own photographs to illustrate the blog but sometimes it’s just not possible to get new or relevant ones. What an excuse!

But at least I have some birds to report and if I stick in a few old pictures from sunnier times, maybe I can be excused this time or other readers simply wont notice.

After a morning swim and sauna but in need of fresh air I thought I might head off walking in a slightly different direction this afternoon but I first checked out the Knott End stuff along the foreshore and the jetty.

Go to the top of the jetty, just hang about there and for sure the Twite appear from wherever they were just spooked by a passing stranger. At least in the air I can get a reasonably accurate count as I did when the flock of 40/45 flew over twice before landing in the fenced off abandoned building site where the encroaching weeds must offer a bit of food. Three Eider, 2 males sharing a female, waited for the ferry on the concrete slope but as the boat got a little nearer and they saw the other passengers, the Eider changed their minds and slipped into the water. A sentinel Cormorant was long gone towards the Wyre Light when the ferry was only half way from Fleetwood.

On the pebbles and tidal debris below the jetty I counted 14 Turnstone, 12 Redshank, 2 Pied Wagtail 2 Sanderling and 1 Rock Pipit. And there are three of my older photographs taken at Knott End on previous occasions. I’m biased but I think the Pied Wagtail pic really captures the forever active spirit of the species.


Eider



Turnstone



Pied Wagtail



Sanderling

I didn’t count the Oystercatchers, Redshank and Shelduck further out on the beach to the north because I decided to head up river and south across Knott End Golf Course reckoning that few golfers might be out on such a cold, dismal, windswept day and thus make my walk across the fairways a little safer. As it happened I needn’t have worried too much from head height golf balls as most of the objects travelled fairly slowly at ankle height. Luckily I was now kitted out with walking boots, double skin trousers and thermal socks to protect my lower body, but from wayward golf balls as well as the cold wind.

I reached Hackensall Hall without major incident or little round indents to my boots; I stopped for a while to look around the old buildings and wonderful old trees, perfect for owls I thought, but not today, only Robins, noisy Blackbirds, and chattering Wrens, with a single Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush.

I did find other woodland birds, like 4 Great-spotted Woodpeckers scrapping over the best trees even though I thought there were dozens suitable. Obviously the peckers know which ones are best for their purpose. Below is a “nearly” picture on a sunny day. There were surprisingly few Chaffinch about but a small flock of titmice included four Long-tailed Tits and 2 Treecreepers, just after I said a day or two ago that they are scarce.


Great-spotted Woodpecker



Treecreeper


The recently thawed pool with now the thinnest skin of either ice or much colder water was almost deserted save for a Moorhen and a Coot. Here’s a photo I took a week ago when I recall the weather being a little icy. What enormous feet, but useful for mauling bird ringers.


Coot

Out of the woodland I followed the track towards Barnaby’s Sands where on the other side of the hedgerow I counted 7 Redwings and 5 Blackbirds feeding on a damp grassy field with 15 Oystercatchers and 3 Redshank for company. I was rapidly running out of time after lingering in the woodland and watching the antics of a few less than accomplished “golfers”, but I was in time to watch both a Merlin and a Short-eared Owl over the marshes of the Wyre backdropped by hundreds of distant Teal and Wigeon. I retraced my steps to Knott End along the riverside path where behind the stone parapet I found an abandoned golf ball nestling bright yellow in the rough grass. I threw it back into the fairway to get my own back and hopefully confuse a wayward golfer.

To sum up, a pleasant, quiet walk with a good tally of birds and I'm still in one piece.

1 comment:

S.C.E. said...

Good stuff there, wow I haven't seen an Eider for many many years!

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