Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blowing In The Wind

Every birder should have a Plan B. I turned to my alternative this morning when the cold north easterly again frustrated my early morning migration search. I started at Ridge Farm where I met JJ hurrying along the sea wall who like me complained about the un-April like temperature and piercing wind; at least I had hat and gloves to ward off the nip in the air. I saw a couple of now local Swallows, Meadow Pipits and Linnets before calling a halt to a fruitless walk.

A quick visit to Lane Ends revealed 2 Jays that seemingly visit here every now and then, and I watched them searching for Woodpigeon and Blackbird nests amongst the middle and lower storeys of the trees. A single Redpoll flew calling over the plantation and to the west over in the area of the pool I could hear the Little Grebes, but up on the sea wall it was too bitingly cold to expect much in the way of warblers from warmer climes. A local Kestrel hung about for a while, circling the mound, hanging in the blustery chill, on the look out for breakfast. This at least gave me the opportunity for a photograph or two and to confirm that “Windhover” is a pretty accurate name for the Kestrel. But the Jay was pretty adept at putting a branch between me and it.

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel

Jay

So I headed inland to Rawcliffe where although it would be equally blowy, there is shelter in the few woods where I might find summery birds.

I drove up the track where at each side there are at least 4 pairs of Lapwing in residence now, forever fighting off the attentions of Carrion Crows. Brown Hares do very well out here and whilst I didn’t attempt to count any it seemed that most fields had a couple of them sat around or running off at the sound and sight of my vehicle. And the Roe Deer also ran from the plantation as I approached, heading off quickly to the next farm. It’s good to see Roe Deer but deer and early morning mist nets are just accidents waiting to happen, so when we put nets up early we just chatter a lot to let the deer know we are around so they can slope off quietly.

Brown Hare

Roe Deer

On the way from the barn I had seen the lingering flock of 20 or more Corn Buntings, but up here on the farm proper there were four or five Corn Buntings singing, so inconspicuous on a distant post or bush until they let forth with that jangling song. Near the “horsey houses” the Swallows are back to occupy the stables for another year if allowed and I counted 6 of them surveying the scene, in and out of last year’s doors. As I looked towards Pilling I expected to see the Buzzards soaring over the usual wood, thinking that the breeze would help them too. They were there, the pair of them forever too distant for the perfect photo but I’m sure that later in the year the young ones won’t be so circumspect.

Corn Bunting

Buzzard

Through the plantation I counted 6 singing Willow Warblers, but I think there are a few females now as when I stopped in a warm glade there were several flitting about. I also caught sight of a larger warbler moving through the willows and when I managed to home in on the creature it turned out to be a Whitethroat, just about due on 14th April. I watched it for a few minutes thinking that maybe it would treat me to a burst of loud scratchy warble but it didn’t, just a barely audible but unmistakeable sub song as it continued looking for insects. Heading back I disturbed a couple of pairs of Grey Partridge then watched a Kestrel swaying atop a spindly willow as it fought the breeze that threatened to dislodge it from the viewpoint. But I think the Kestrel mastered the situation and flew off only when it was ready despite the wind.

Kestrel

So Plan B worked, a successful morning's birding that's what I like.


5 comments:

Little Brown Job said...

Great Kestrel shots Phil.

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil. Lovely set of images from Over Wyre. Great windhover shots and I like the perfectly balanced image of corn buntings. Keep up the good work

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Once again very nice entries. Since I enjoy all birds, yet have a particular fondness for Birds of Prey, the little Kestrel images are my favorites~

Stu said...

Great photos of the Kestrel!

NicoleB said...

Those shots are beautiful as usual again.
Love those Kestrel shots!
And yes, Plan B saves the day sometimes (mine last Saturday when I was ready to go home and cry in my pillow ;) )

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