Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wader Count

Today turned out to be a bit of a wader counting session because almost every spot I passed or looked at seemed to hold large numbers of them.

It was a bitterly cold easterly wind this morning at Fluke Hall but a quick look from the sea wall revealed a number of corvids, about 250, comprising 50/50 Carrion Crows and Jackdaws.

On the immediate marsh were 325 Lapwings, later to be a huge feature of the morning, and 1200 Pink-footed Goose that quite quickly left their roost to fly just inland to the fields next to Fluke. 5 Whooper Swans also flew onto the same area as the geese.

I combined the count from the wet fields at Fluke Hall Lane, Damside, Backsands Lane and roadside fields up to Gulf Lane to come up with impressive figures of 600 Redshank, 2200 Lapwing, 40 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 310 Curlew and 22 Oystercatchers. Non-waders seen were 7 Meadow Pipits, 3 Little Egrets and a single Kestrel.

A further 330 Lapwings seen at Braides Farm together with small numbers of Golden Plover, probably 75 only, although they were distant behind the sea wall. Whilst Lapwing numbers are now high following the month or more of snow, ice and frost, it does appear that many Golden Plover left the area. Two more Little Egrets at Braides.

I spent an hour or more in the Conder Green area with nothing unexpected to report: 16 Shelduck, 2 Coot, 2 Spotted Redshank, 95 Teal, 3 Snipe, 7 Wigeon and 1 Little Egret. Only 4 Redshank in the creek, a low count but it looks like Redshank as a whole have taken to the now wet very fields of the surrounding area. Along the hedgerows and car park I found 10 Long-tailed Tit, 13 Goldfinch, 4 Chaffinch, 2 Linnets and several Blackbird.

The Jeremy Lane area held many more common waders; 430 Curlew, 105 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a further 385 Lapwing. Two Little Egrets in the roadside ditches and a Kestrel. I admit I didn’t stop to count the Mute Swan but a couple of hundred of them scattered over the fields amongst the waders certainly added to the impression of a feeding feast on abundant prey.

Next, down the lane to my usual finishing spot at Bank End where the wet fields on either side held more of the common three, 180 Curlew, 85 Redshank and 140 Lapwing.

Lapwing


Curlew


Curlew

Alongside the marsh a Pied Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail walked ahead of me as I prepared my camera for yet another Grey Wagtail photograph. No chance, a Merlin flashed low in front of me to closely miss both wagtails then vanished out of sight over the embankment into the fields. I didn’t see the wagtails after that brief encounter but the Merlin returned from the fields and perched on a distant post out on the marsh before it was seen off by Carrion Crows.

Grey Wagtail


Merlin


Apologies for the poor shot, I did say it was distant and it was.

4 comments:

Errol said...

I like the Arenaria header, Phil. 88 ducks done today, inc. 40 new Gadwall. Keep out the wind and watch out for tomorrow's rain! E.

Phil said...

40 Gadwall!I dont even see 40 Gadwall never mind catch them. Keep it up Errol. I'll mind the rain but go for a swim instead.

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil. A great day for you counting waders. Like the turnstone above, a great shot. Think I will have to have a ride out Pilling way tomorrow after the rain.

Tabib said...

Look like a good waders day. I live inland, so wanders are not in my list yet.
Love that Grey Wagtail playing with water.
Happy birding!

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