Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Right Decision

I was tempted last night by the thought of ringing on a fine Tuesday morning but I looked carefully at the “all wrong” weather synopsis of north easterly wind with a drop in air temperature and decided to give the ringing a miss on the basis that there wouldn’t be much overnight migration to fill a mist net or two. Instead I opted for a birding afternoon, a quick check at Conder Green, a wander around Bank End then a look for Wheatears where I hoped the morning sun might have worked its magic by waking up the chat’s sheltering insect food.

At Conder Green I saw my first Common Sandpiper of the year in the creek together with both a single Greenshank and the piebald Spotted Redshank. Often, but not today, I forget to count the commoner things, like 12 Redshank, 11 Oystercatchers, the dozen or so Teal still scattered around or the Grey Heron that always honks into sight if I wait long enough. There was still at least one Little Grebe with 2 Goldeneye, the wintering duck that always lingers longest in spring and often in pairs.

Like PW yesterday I had to search for the Little Ringed Plover and also following in his footsteps, found it alone in the west corner. Perhaps now is a good time to remind ourselves Little Ringed Plover is a Schedule 1 species and as such, where present in the breeding season, is provided with special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.

Little Ringed Plover

Grey Heron

By the afternoon it was pretty blowy and cool, so I reckoned I hadn’t missed much in the way of morning migration as confirmed by my walk down Bank End alongside the marsh but also on an adjoining farm where I have permission to do a little survey work. The marsh was fairly quiet with 2 of those frustrating Little Egrets that seem not to be paired up but destined to spend their summers and winters stalking the fields and ditches of Fylde and Lancaster districts. The only summer birds came in the shape of 8 Swallows together, and a single Sand Martin, but I listened in vain for a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff or Blackcap to enliven proceedings.

Little Egret

Walking the farm I counted 14 nests in the rookery where a Buzzard flew off to another copse at either my approach or the noise and attention that the Rooks gave it. The farm pools had a pair of Tufted Duck with 4 displaying Oystercatchers and a pair of Lapwings on the surrounding land, not to mention sundry ex-farmyard Mallards, Greylag and Canada Goose. In the passerine line I settled for overflying local Tree Sparrows, 2 Linnets, a fine Pied Wagtail and a single White Wagtail, another species which has been in very short supply this spring.

Pied Wagtail

Back at Pilling Lane Ends I found the now resident Reed Buntings, the trilling Little Grebe and a pair of Meadow Pipits, more bachelor and spinster Little Egrets out on the marsh and still 1000+ Pink-footed Geese that perhaps felt at home in the cool, cloudy, northerly air with a distinct Icelandic feel to it.

Pink-footed Goose

And once again I didn’t find a single Wheatear, another day of grace for the meal worms.


eileeninmd said...

Wonderful post and photos, Phil! I love the shot of the Plover and the Wagtail. Sounds like you had a wonderful birding outing.

Bill Benish said...

Another fine collection of photos. That Little Ringed Plover looks striking!

Gallicissa said...

Nice photos. I see why you refer to your white wagtail as Pied Wagtail. The race we get shows more white than black and we prefer to use the former. I saw it in England when I was there in 2003 for the bird fair but cannot remember it to be as 'pied' as that.

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