Thursday, April 22, 2010

We’ll Wheat Again

OK I know the pun is excruciating but it’s not easy to keep dreaming up blog titles, not to mention coming up with a page full of nonsense and half decent photographs.

After a couple of blank weeks plus other days when the few Wheatears I saw gave me the run around, Wheatears finally appeared in the UK in some numbers this week. At last I managed to get to grips with anothere one today when I found a party of 7 “Greenland” type Wheatears in my (and their) favoured spot near Pilling Water.

Just like two days ago the birds were extremely mobile and active and within 30 minutes of finding them they had disappeared across the bay towards Heysham but not before I caught the single female shown here. The wing length of 103mm confirmed it as Oenanthe oenanthe leucorrhoa the subspecies of Wheatear which breeds in Greenland and which appears as a passage migrant in the British Isles and especially the west coast. It wasn’t especially heavy at 26.6 grams.

”Greenland” Wheatear

In amongst the wildfowler’s pools the Redshank numbered 130 again with 2 Teal and 2 Little Egret. I spent a little time waiting for a Wheatear to find the bait but during that time I counted other passerines as 8 Meadow Pipits, 4 Skylark, 11 Linnets and 1 Willow Warbler.

Before Lane Ends I had walked the Ridge Farm area where I counted 21 Linnets, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Little Egret and visible migration of 2 House Martins and 7 Swallows that flew north over the sea wall. I looked hard for Ring Ouzel having had a message of 2 at Lytham and 1 a further one at Fleetwood in the morning, and even though Ridge Farm is ideal habitat, I've yet to see a "Mountain Blackbird" there.

Earlier still I took a look at Knott End and walked a small way up river alongside the golf course. A little way up I heard the unmistakeable rasp of Sandwich Terns and found 2 flying up and down river and perching intermittently on the mid stream boat moorings. A bit further upstream and under the old fishermen’s jetty were 3 Turnstone, several Redshank and single Common Sandpiper and Dunlin.

Sandwich Tern


The golfers emerging from the clubhouse flushed 3 “alba” wagtails that flew north from the fairway and out towards the jetty. There on the flat calm water I found 12 Eider, 11 drakes and 1 female with 2 Whimbrel on the mussel beds. The little genuine visible migration I witnessed came via a few Swallows that crossed the river from Fleetwood and headed east along the sea wall towards Pilling.

More tomorrow............


Stuart Price said...

I really like that Sandwich Tern pic........

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hear hear on you first paragraph Phil - hard to maintain the literary genius standard isn't it!
Not brilliant at the bottom end of the Fylde coast too this morning, certainly no ring ouzels lurking on this strtch of the prom



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