Friday, April 16, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Today was another one of those indecisive occasions and the feeling that its spring therefore I should be out birding or ringing, but after the quiet birding most of this week where might it be best to look? Last night we decided to leave the ringing until Saturday when the forecast looks marginally better with the chance that one or two extra migrants might find the British Isles, especially if they head into a cloud of volcanic fallout just north of here. I decided that I should give Conder Green another chance, particularly as there are always good looking birds to see with plenty of activity from the variety of waders, wildfowl and passerines there; then after CG, who knows?

I parked up quietly and scanned the creek before I approached the screen cautiously as often any birds just below will stay put if I am quiet and unobtrusive. There were 2 or 3 Redshank fairly close that sensed I was around and although they didn’t fly off, they did move a little further away. Also, a couple of them on the nearest island, displaying around and over it, competing with the Oystercatchers and Lapwings as to which could make the most noise. A lone Grey Heron stood on the far bank of the pool, conspicuously silent today unlike their usual habit of taking off with one or two harsh calls before disappearing towards the canal. We think of the pool edges as a place for waders but today I watched a pair of Linnets come in for a drink and to search around the grassy margins for food. Earlier I heard Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipits close by but didn’t search them out so I was happy that small birds were around even if they were not of the warbler variety fresh in from Africa.




I had watched a Spotted Redshank fly from the creek out to one of the furthest islands where it stood in the shallows away from the Redshanks, then moments later I thought I saw a second spotted red just behind the island. It was about then that PW, JB and BT joined me on the podium for a chinwag but also to multiply the searching eyes, which paid dividends when a Little Ringed Plover showed on the far side of the pool. Those Lancaster birders certainly put some time in to seek out the birds; sometimes its difficult to stay one step ahead of them especially now my cover of a different car has been blown, but me thinks they don't know what Sue's car looks like!

There’s one really positive thing about the wildfowl at the moment - they are easy to count there are so few of them, but it is interesting to see the lingerers from winter to guess which ones may be breeding or the ones simply playing at it. I counted 3 Goldeneye, 5 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck, 5 Teal, 4 Mute Swan and 1 Little Grebe.


There was nothing for it but a return to Lane Ends where once again the Kestrel flew hopefully around as workmen cut the grass. Raptors are clever and opportunistic that way, knowing that cut grass leaves small mammals potentially exposed to binocular eyes from above. The migrant highlight here was a Common Sandpiper on the pool edges.



No “phylosscs” at Lane Ends and no Wheatears again today when I walked to Pilling Water, just Meadow Pipits on territory and a single overflying Redpoll.

Meadow Pipit

Time for a decision, carry on or hold off for another day by heading home for a good old cup of British and a Rich Tea biscuit? I think its known as quitting while ahead.


Pete Woodruff said...

A most enjoyable read, you seem to have a way with words and some excellent images here again.

Always a pleasure to 'bump' into you Phil, like the motor by the way....whats Sue got?

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of the birds. These are all new birds for me and I like seeing birds from all over.

Dave Lewis said...

Great blog Phil. I love the Kestrel photos!

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