Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A While Away

After a morning at the gym I had a few hours to show my new wheels around the patch. Nothing too muddy yet to spoil the newness and anyway it’s still a bit cold for buckets of water and a chamois leather.

By the time I arrived at Lane Ends the tide was well in, right up to the sea wall in fact and I had been remiss in not checking either tide heights or time for the past few days leaving myself out of sync. I decided to just walk to Pilling Water in the hope of seeing some evidence of springtime in the shape of bird behaviour or new arrivals. Firstly I walked to the east pool to check on the duck but noticed a couple of male Pied Wagtails along the tide line that I am sure were newly in. The pool was quiet, even the “mallards” were down in numbers and I counted more Goldeneye than I did bread hungry Mallard, with 4 Goldeneye drakes and 3 ducks. A male Goldeneye certainly thought it spring as I watched it display to females with a variety of comical head throwing, neck stretching plus other posturing and calling, with a female positively encouraging him at times. Now there’s a novelty chaps.




In the trees surrounding the pool I saw a pair of Long-tailed Tit and heard a couple of Wrens, Dunnocks and Robins singing so they at least survived the winter. Heading towards Pilling Water I counted over 200 Redshank along the tide line and on the lower levels of the sea wall, plus several Oystercatcher, 1 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Little Egret and 18 Curlew.

Up at the pool I sat in the still biting south easterly for a while where on the higher part of the marsh towards Fluke I counted more Redshank, 2 more Little Egrets, 170 Dunlin, 40 Lapwing and that elusive Ruff, still about but seemingly spending time both out here and on the inland stubble at random. On the edge of the lapping water were 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Skylark and 1 Rock Pipit. There was a report of a Snow Bunting here about four days ago but no sign of it today.

The walk back to Lane Ends was uneventful but brisk as a means of warming up again. Back in the motor I switched on the heated seat and the blower before I headed off towards Damside and Fluke Hall Lane. I would never describe my birding as desperate but March can be a cruel unrewarding month; the winter birds thinning out when flocks break up and birds head back from whence they came some months ago. Meanwhile I wait for the first Chiffchaffs and Wheatears and the bulk arrivals a few weeks and miles away in Africa or the Med with no incentive to fly into a cold UK spring.

It must have been quiet, I even counted the gulls on the Fluke Hall stubbly wet, 135 Black-headed Gull and 40 Common Gull. There were 45 Dunlin, 70 Golden Plover and 120 Lapwing, but several Lapwing now displaying and paired up across the wider area away from the general flock. No excuses for having a picture of a Lapwing again, they really are a true sign of spring and just wonderful to watch and listen to.


Also on the stubble with the Lapwing and Redshank was a Stock Dove, not a species we see a lot or hear much about, but a first for my camera.

Stock Dove

I stopped at Knott End to put out Twite food following the cleansing of the recent high tides that washed all the previous food into oblivion. Better luck tomorrow.


Unravel said...

Nice series of displaying Goldeneye! I really like the opening image.
I find this duck being difficult to get close, thus I have yet to get the one shot that would satisfy myself.

Larry said...

Beautiful shots of the Goldeneyes doing their mating rituals. I was able to watch the Green-winged Teals last weekend doing theirs.

It sounds like you had a good birdwatching day, all in all, even though it sounds pretty darn cold! I love the Lapwing and Stock Dove photos as well.

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