Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's That Hobby Again

It was another snatched hour or two when in between rain showers I ventured down to the local patch Pilling shore. I wanted to take a look on this the highest tide for a week or two, where I hoped for a few early autumn waders or whatever else might come along.

First off were the Lane Ends Reed Warblers, two of them singing below the car park, but not much else apart from the building numbers of Greylag on the pool and the shore, 31 of them today. The walk to Pilling water yielded the usual Kestrel, a singing Meadow Pipit and couple of Skylarks. The Kestrel sat about near the pool, and so did I, but on the stile as the grass was soaked from a previous shower. I found the four Common Sandpipers along the outflow, unwilling as ever to come close so I settled down and counted the 550 Curlew and 110 Lapwings, the most numerous and obvious birds until the tide runs in a little more.



I really couldn’t believe it, but it happened again, the same Hobby from 12 days ago or a new Hobby, cruising over the incoming tide as it scattered the birds below on the marsh. I made the elementary mistake of taking my eye off the bird as I fiddled with the camera in the belief I could lock onto the Hobby again, but I couldn’t and it disappeared.


The Hobby is real mystery bird up here, a will-o’-the-wisp thing, here one minute gone the next. I was left wondering about the influx to the UK in early July, the one I saw on July 2nd and the one or two extra ones that suddenly appeared in Lancashire without any obvious reason or explanation.

I settled down again maybe knowing that if the Hobby came back the birds on the shore would know before me and alert me accordingly. I counted the Black-headed Gulls coming and going from the sub-roost and spotted an adult Mediterranean Gull heading off towards Lane Ends and eventually probably Bank End where the gulls settle on the higher tides. There were groups of Dunlin going to and fro, circling and calling, settling occasionally on the margins of the marsh which allowed me a count of 80, but apart from 20 or so Redshank, I didn’t see much wader variety.



Terns sometimes appear at the Pilling Water roost, usually at or just after high tide when they follow the tide into the bay from Knott End way. That's how it was today when 2 Common Tern flew in to settle down on the outer marsh until the tide dropped.

Common Tern

I had watched the dark grey clouds head in from the south, and jacketless as the rain thundered down I put a roof over my head in the birder’s shelter for a while. It was temporary only as the rain continued and I headed back to the car, wet but happy that my hobby is so rewarding.

Birder’s Shelter


Anna said...

What a rewarding birding, and btw the Dunlin is my favorite. Anna :)

Anthony Dixon said...

Lovely set of shots Phil and I really like that shelter...Very novel!

James said...

Hobby encounters are always great! Wish i could borrow the shelter.

Stu said...

Nice birds, I always thought July was a slow month!

I only ever saw one Hobby in the UK.......

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil.That hobby seems to have your name on it !!! An excellent sighting and one that is certainly on the increase in Lancs. Excellent read and images Phil and what a great shelter !! Keep up the good work.

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