Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Bridge Beyond Troubled Waters

I did “Over Wyre” this morning. Well I live on the north side of the Wyre anyway so I don’t actually need to go there as such because I’m already here. It’s just a figure of speech, a legacy from when I lived on the other side and my favourite birding destination was “Over Wyre”. As lots of Fylde people say, once you cross Shard Bridge into “Over Wyre” you immediately notice the difference by entering another world, where folk greet each other and it's a bit laid back, a slower pace of traffic and daily life, away from the hustle and bustle nearer the coastal holiday towns, the port of Fleetwood and the Blackpool conurbation. So when we moved house about ten years ago I joined civilisation over here but now ten years on when I go birding locally I still say I’m going “Over Wyre” when I’m already here.

I was reminded of this today when I did a gentle circuit of some of the usual spots but got delayed, waylaid twice by separate folk who just wanted to pass the time of day with a chat in the spring warmth.

The tide was out at Knott End so although there wasn’t much point in looking for waders, I did take a look for the Twite where 18 or so fed in the usual spot after some kind soul had put out more food, whilst the well meaning chap who walks dogs all day long, his own and other folks’, stopped for a chat and prevented me from taking more pictures. But I did grab a Twite and a Redshank.



I took a look along Backsands Lane where 160 Golden Plover fed in the roadside field, too distant for photographs as usual. All the Lapwing flocks broke up in the last week or two and now all that’s left is endless display from paired up birds between Fluke Hall and Lane Ends. I listened in vain for Chiffchaff at Lane Ends but did manage 2 singing Reed Bunting with Goldfinch and Chaffinch joining the chorus. On the pools were 4 Goldeneye (2M, 2F), 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Teal and the return of 2 Little Grebe that vanished during the cold and ice but today trilled to be back. Three Meadow Pipits and 2 Pied Wagtails came off the marsh while 2 Long-tailed Tits flitted about the lower car park. My highlight here was a male Peregrine sat waiting out on the marsh, all grey, white and black marked face in the distance. I talked to a local couple for what seemed ages, who were amazed by the sight of a Peregrine at Pilling, and when I explained Peregrines can be seen most days here they were truly astounded as they only live in the village. Sometimes I think us bird watchers take our knowledge and experience for granted; just occasionally maybe it’s good to share it to make someone else’s day.

Conder Green was always a favourite place of mine, even before the honey pot pool and it seems like the Greenshank, Common Sandpipers, Redshank, Snipe and Teal have just been there for ever. I guess they all have, long before birders with plastic tubes came along to take a closer look and wonder at them.

Today I found the four uncommon “shanks”, 2 Greenshank and 2 Spotted Redshank with the regular 10 to 12 Redshank, 40 Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 18 Wigeon, 15 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew.



Whilst I didn’t notice any Meadow Pipit migration it was interesting that 2 birds did their display flights from the marsh here, presumably a case of the early males bagging the best territories before the main arrival. Also in song was a single Reed Bunting and in the back garden of the Stork, that uncommon thing a Greenfinch. Let's remind ourselves what one looks like before they disappear for ever.


On the way back Head Dyke Lane is closed for repairs for a week, a detour of a couple of miles plus ten minutes or so on the journey each time, slowing down on the narrow lanes to let other pass with a raised hand from the steering wheel. Who cares? We’re Over Wyre now these things just don’t matter.


S.C.E. said...

I had no idea Greenfinches were becoming rare........

Alan said...

This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.


Tabib said...

Love that three Teals in flight.

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