Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Distant Circus

My early circuit of the Lane Ends pools and plantation in the clearing mist revealed 3 pairs of Tufted Duck, with once again the seemingly lone drake Gadwall that doesn’t venture far from the south east corner of the pool. There was a light passage of redpoll, probably Lesser Redpoll as at least three chattered high overhead with a smattering of Meadow Pipits heading out into the Heysham obscured bay. I really excelled myself when I picked up an overhead calling Tree Pipit that also headed north. Fortunately for my now low frequency hearing it was directly above me because if it had been further away and I may not have heard that high pitched but distinctive short sharp buzz. Old age and the loss of faculties, it comes to us all but happily I do have other skills left that come in quite useful occasionally. And I can still easily hear Whimbrel, and who couldn’t hear and recognise the loud, rapid seven whistles as one glides overhead with bill bent but not curved - two went over this morning as I made my way towards Pilling along the sea wall.

Common Redpoll

On the video there’s a bonus of Slender-billed Curlew and Curlew as well as Whimbrel.

I started off at Pilling Water with 4 Teal and 145 Redshank on the wildfowler’s pools, with mixed amongst them 5 Dunlin, then along the water itself looking back towards Broadfleet bridge, a Common Sandpiper. The flock of Pink-footed Goose still numbers about 800 and maybe they are better off at Pilling at the moment rather than flying off north to Iceland. A Grey Heron joined the now constant 4 Little Egrets dotted white across the green marsh together with 30 or so Shelduck, similarly white from a distance until binoculars revealed their real colours.

I laughed out loud today when I remembered the occasion out here many moons ago when I found an Avocet at a time they were rare and a clown of a birder asked if I hadn’t seen a Shelduck! I smiled back into my passerine count which revealed a singing Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 6 Meadow Pipits, 4 Linnets and a single “alba” overhead.




I spent quite a lot of time at Pilling Water this morning because every time I readied for the walk back to Lane Ends something happened, either I spotted a distant bird that required further investigation or I heard a call or two that made me linger a while. Like when I found a single Wheatear, my first there for more than 10 days; a good enough reason to try and catch it I reasoned, but it would have non of my meal worms and eventually headed out over the bay after being flushed twice by separate tide line joggers.

I sat on the stile looking left to Preesall Sands debating whether that familiar distant post had changed shape and now bore a raptor perched on top, moving around occasionally or was it a mirage from the haze? No matter because the next one wasn’t a figment of my imagination but a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, distant but flying over the sands on the edge of the marsh and heading east. I willed it to fly in towards me and linger for a slow trawl of the marsh but it didn’t, just continued on its flight north and east towards Bank End and Cockerham. It was distant for sure and it also gave me and my camera a “V” sign as it flew away out of sight.

Marsh Harrier


NicoleB said...

That Redpoll looks like he's going to fall asleep soon :)

Love the Teal and Duckshot and that Redshank looks much fatter than the ones here :)

Pete Woodruff said...

Another good account and enjoyable read of your day Phil, and you do come up with some little gems on occasions....'and a clown of a birder asked if I hadn't seen a Shelduck'....great stuff Phil.

NatureFootstep said...

you have so many great photos. :) Wish I had too. but my blog is about the speices I managed to photographe and identified. Lets see if I can find your lapwings. :)

Unravel said...

Nice shot of the Redpoll! I've yet to see one...
The Slender-billed Curlew looks very strange to me. The beak is too small for that body...more like a crippled curlew.

forestal said...

Great post and photos. Love the Redshank - neat looking bird


Larry said...

Beautiful photos Phil. The Redpoll and the in-flight shot of the Teal are my favorite. Also thanks for including the video of the Whimbrel and Curlews, excellent!

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