Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Sunny Day

A layer of frost on the car also means another sunny day lately so who am I to complain about de-icing the windscreen with cold fingers again? All I do is set off a little later and give the birds a chance to move around more when the early sun warms the air. But the current high pressure also seems to be blocking wholesale migration from the south as we birders wish our lives away to hope for a rush of Meadow Pipits, see the first Wheatear or Sand Martin or maybe hear the rasping of a Sandwich Tern along the shore. But there's hope yet as I note Bardsey Island had their first Wheatear on Tuesday.

First call today was Knott End, probably as good a place as any to see the aforementioned harbingers of spring. But there were no Meadow Pipits overhead, just the single Rock Pipit below The Esplanade again with about 25 Twite. Out from the jetty just a single male Eider floated on the incoming tide with no female companion which is a good sign as she was probably up river hidden away somewhere. Before the tide displaced most of them I counted 80+ Redshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 44 Knot, 22 Shelduck, 40 Turnstone and 140 Oystercatcher, a dramatic reduction on recent counts as birds head off to breeding sites.

Isle of Man Ferry at Fleetwood





It was good to be out but I wasn’t seeing any March migrants so I decided to do Fluke and Ridge Farm. In the field at Wheel Lane I could see 2 distant Ruff, and even through the bins I could see how each bird is colouring up for spring; also at least 20 scattered but some displaying Lapwings, the larger numbers of previous weeks now dispersed like the Knott End Oystercatchers.

”Distant” Ruff


Ridge Farm produced a healthy variety of birds in the shape of 70 Twite feeding on the deck in the open field, 9 Linnet, 11 Skylark, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Pied Wagtail and at last, 1 migrant Siskin calling overhead but invisible in the bright blue sky, but zero Meadow Pipits. It was now 10am so I was somewhat surprised to see a Barn Owl flying along the hedgerow before it returned towards the farm buildings. A Kestrel circled the wood and a Sparrowhawk hung around the trees near the Tree Sparrow boxes, hoping for an opportune meal as Sparrowhawks always do.

Barn Owl


Reed Bunting

Tree Sparrow

I motored on to Braides where I saw absolutely zero. The year has been so dry that the ditches dug last autumn to encourage breeding waders are bone dry which makes the field unsuitable for Lapwings at the moment unless we have lots of rain.

Yet another trip to Conder Green produced 2 Greenshank, 14 Tufted Duck, 18 Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Little Grebe and 5 Oystercatchers displaying over the pool again.


Birdringal-andalus said...

Hi Phil, greetings: Have you seen some swallows in your land?. Here are some that have chicks in the nest.
Does no more than an hour I heard one (Phylloscopus trchillus) in Zaframagón.
Best wishes. Fernando.

Phil said...

Hola Fernando, Not yet - another 3 or 4 weeks before we in north of England see Swallow or Willow Warbler. With them comes some warm Spanish weather

Andy Wilson said...

Nice variety of birds with excellent photos.
P.s. Thanks for stopping by.

S.C.E. said...

Great shot of the Owl and Twite. I've never seen a Barn Owl in NW England, would love to one day........

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