Friday, April 2, 2010

Pipits And Pegs

It was a cracking start this morning because when I reached the end of Wheel Lane for my customary look on the Fluke Hall Lane stubble field I could see a bit of pandemonium breaking out. It was a Peregrine, not racing or diving at full pelt but just cruising around above the field and looking for a suitable opportunity I guess. After I tried to take a couple of distant photos the event did at least give me an opportunity to get an accurate count of the Lapwings as individuals because there certainly weren’t any left on the deck after the peg flew around a few times. I apologise for the poor photo but it does show in graphic detail how big a Peregrine versus a Lapwing is.


Lapwing & Peregrine


I counted the Lapwings at 30, so give and take a few non-breeders I estimate 10 pairs at the moment, some on eggs some not. The Peregrine also disturbed a dozen or so Redshank and similar numbers of Oystercatcher, and lesser number of Skylark. The raptor flew back to the marsh and everything settled down so I drove on up to Ridge Farm.

Although it was fine this morning, unlike the afternoon rain as I type, there was a cold south easterly wind which similar to many mornings lately didn’t bode too well. I did the track/sea wall circuit without seeing or hearing an awful lot except for a Sparrowhawk as soon as I jumped from the car then soon after Meadow Pipits, which I counted at 30+ coming from the west and northwest, some grounding as they arrived, others continuing on with a few “albas” also overhead. The customary 4 Skylarks sang and on the fields just inland I saw the now regular pairs of Lapwing and Oystercatcher. The wind began to pick up to a steady 10 to 12 mph.

I motored back through the wood where on the other side I spied a Barn Owl coming towards the car but it veered off over the hedge on seeing me. The local Tree Sparrows “chip chipped” and told me the owl was still there out of my sight. This owl isn’t very accommodating; I have seen it along here on several occasions lately but it never perches up for a portrait. But it won’t be long before they can’t run away.

Barn Owl

A walk up to Pilling Water revealed more Meadow Pipits on the move as they came from the west along the wall and continued in the direction of Lane Ends; I counted 32 heading east, with little parties grounded here and there, together with 3 or 4 more albas but no Wheatears again this morning. When it finally warms up there will be a rush of Wheatears for sure.

Meadow Pipit

The Goldeneye and Little Grebe pairs are still present on the Lane Ends pools, as are the Reed Buntings, 4 Little Egrets and 8 Teal across the road. I was watching some Pink-footed Geese flighting out on the marsh when a plane disturbed them. They whiffled in to land just in front of the other Peregrine sat on the edge of the green, the bigger pale Peregrine that through a distant binoculars view looks pure white. It sat there outlasting my impatience for something to happen, but with three hours to high tide I suppose it could wait for a while and a guaranteed meal.

The wind picked up more, it grew cloudier and I packed up for the day.


Forest the Bear said...

Don't apologise for the Peg picture Phil, I love to see shots of the birds in action. Nice flying shot of the Lapwing aswell.

The weather has been much the same over here today rain,sun,rain,sun....will it ever makeup its mind!?

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil. Interesting encounter with the Peregrine and a couple of nice shots. Better luck next time with the Barn Owl. I have also seen one around there but so far have not connected. Enjoy you Easter and let's hope some warmer and settled weather is on the way.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Phil, what a nice day you must have had and watching the Peregrine amongst the Lapwings must have been a thrill, although things could have gotten even more suspensful. So is this Barn Owl coming into view in daylight, or evening hours...

Phil said...

Hi Mary. Thanks for looking in. Barn owls can be quite active at dawn for a few hours or at dusk, but especially when feeding young. This particular one I usually see in daylight as long as there are not many people about.

NatureFootstep said...

that´s a great photo of the flying lapwing. You can see the muscles work :)

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