Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blue Sky Thinking

To use the phrase that seems to be fashionable at the moment with politicians, civil servants, trendy business types and teachers. It aptly described both the weather and my mood today because not only was it a really brilliant blue sky as I set off, but I hoped I my birding would be free of any preconceptions about what I might see and even better, without limits as to what I might encounter. The only limit was the time I set myself of being home for lunch in time to indulge in some grandparenting.

Although the air was clear it was also still frosty, enough for another layer of ice on the Fluke Hall Lane puddles and shallow floods where I struggled to see much at all. A party of 28 Whooper Swans stood in much the same spot as weekend, with about 30 Shelduck, and 120 Pink-footed Geese for company. Further along the lane the sun definitely stimulated spring in the air this morning with a couple of Lapwings tumbling around, and when a flock of them spooked, I watched a few males chase others off, and then stand defending their patch of ground. A male Starling posed against the blue for me in a roadside tree, and I took a photograph of a Greylag, that unexciting, unphotographed relative of Pink-footed Goose.




I looked from Lane Ends car park where miles out, more large white swans 50+ ducked up and down from the skyline, and from the distant calls were probably all Whoopers. The fields normally dotted with waders were very quiet, even deserted, but at the entrance to Lane Ends 2 Fieldfares hopped over the frozen ground, before as my car passed, flying into the buckthorn where the berries still cluster.


There was nothing for it really but to head up to CG where my forward scout from Tuesday reported a quiet period, but that would never deter either of us from revisiting this place. Even Braides held zero, just an open gate that hinted of recent vehicles on the birding fields.

At Conder Pool I counted 2 Coot, 2 Shoveler, 80 Teal, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Lapwing, 3 Snipe,18 Wigeon and 12 Shelduck that chose that moment to disappear into the blue. But as they say “here’s one I did earlier” and also a head shot of a fabulous Wigeon.




Scores on the board at Glasson Dock: Tufted Duck 56, Pochard 8 and Coot 104, with an image from a couple of weeks ago when the heavens were equally cold and bright.


At Cockersands, Crook Farm end I noted a Kestrel at the junction then 8 Linnet and 2 Song Thrush below the road that quickly flew into the walled garden. Along the shore and in the shallows were a selection of slightly distant, common but simply still stunning waders, brightly lit in the clear sunshine: Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Redshank, Dunlin, Turnstone, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover. Off the scar I quickly noted 5 Eider and several hundred Wigeon but after the waders, didn’t have more time for lingering.

A quick tour round to the caravan park confirmed the presence of the “tidechat”, Saxicola torquata that always sits on the wrong side of the light, 2 Meadow Pipits, a smart male Reed Bunting, 4 Greenfinch and a single Rock Pipit.


Tempus fugit or some similar words, then home.


Pete Woodruff said...

The wisest Stonechat in the country this Cockersands bird Phil, with a full larder in the tide wrack, it's relatives are all either dead or on a late trip to North Africa.

madibirder said...

Great writeup. Love the lapwing. Coots are not common here but I heard they have spotted one recently in Sabah

dAwN said...

Wow! wonderful bird here...that Lapwing is so very cool..
Amazing captures!

S.C.E. said...

Hey Greylags are a rarity where I am...............

Nice 'tidechat' shot............

C. E. Webster said...

Great post. Beautiful pictures.

Azahari Reyes @ Jason a.k.a horukuru said...

Nice looking Coot and the Northern Lapwing is another vagrant for Borneo mostly seen in the tiny country Brunei hehehe hope to see it next time.

Will the Lapwing be around in August during the British Bird Fair ?

Phil said...

Yes, Lots of Lapwing at most times of year. Thanks for looking in.

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