Saturday, August 7, 2010

Distant Dreams

I jumped out of the car and glanced towards the distant tide line whereupon I noticed a Marsh Harrier closer in, dead ahead but already heading west. As quick as possible I grabbed the camera from a shoulder bag on the passenger seat, set it to “sport” mode, switched it on and pointed. But already the harrier was on its way towards Fluke Hall, Knott End and eventually I guess the River Wyre which it could follow south and west. On autofocus the camera picked up some clear pictures of the Isle of Man ferry far out in the bay but missed the dark dot of the receding Marsh Harrier. They may fly quite slowly but they can certainly cover some ground, and by the time I reached Pilling Water, the harrier was over the horizon. Over the last couple of years I have had many local sightings of Marsh Harrier without getting one decent photo; one of these days!

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

There was nothing for it then but to forget Marsh Harriers for another day, concentrate on birding the sea wall, the fields behind and Pilling Water itself. I substituted the harrier with 2 Kestrels that quartered over the marsh, hovering now and again as a few Swallows buzzed them briefly. I counted 40+ Swallows hawking over the outflow, others settling on the usual rail, then just 2 Swift, several House Martin and a lonely Common Sandpiper, the peak of autumn migration now passed for this species. At the wildfowler’s pools I heard a Willow Warbler call from the willows and watched a party of 9 Goldfinch move through a margin of thistles. Out on the marsh I could see 2 Grey Heron, but in contrast to a couple of days ago, only one Little Egret. A handful of Dunlin went west towards Preesall Sands, and a single Snipe flew calling from the marsh then overhead.

Swallow

Swift

I made my way back to Lane Ends car park where another Willow Warbler called from the nearest trees; there’s been more than a few about this week.

Next it had to be Conder Green - “Wader City”, where each birder dreams of falling over the next “biggy”, spotting it in the creek from the wound down car window or peering from the “hide” at the mud where the bird waits for fame and probable torment. It was not to be, as I settled for 5 Greenshank, 155 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 190 Lapwing, 4 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Snipe,7 Oystercatcher. So sorry folks that log on here for the chance of seeing the one good enough for the pager, it’s just common old stuff I’m afraid with yet another Little Egret picture, but I did take it myself today. Passerines today were represented by the Goldfinch flock and a couple of Tree Sparrows that I watched searching the roadside traffic signs for hidden insect food.

Redshank

Lapwing

Curlew

Little Egret

A word of caution. If you are at Conder on a Saturday morning look out for the guy that has taken to sleeping in a car in the layby after a heavy Friday night. When he opens the car windows, the air sure does hum. On the other hand I guess he could have received a duff pager message about a wader at CG and had no petrol to get back home. He’d be better doing his local patch.

The weather looks better for some ringing tomorrow with maybe Willow Warblers on the cards after the numbers around this week.

13 comments:

Joops said...

Beautiful shots!

MY Critters

Idaho Birder said...

Thanks for all your pictures Phil. One day, when I get over to the UK, I feel like I'll already know the birds because of your photos.

Fleetwood Birder said...

Five Greenshank is a nice count Phil.

Unravel said...

Nice photos! The (Western) Marsh Harrier is a vagrant in eastern Asia. I've only seen a male once in Thailand several years ago. I'd be very happy to see the species again!

JM said...

Wonderful bird shots!

chubskulit said...

beautiful shots!

Camera Critters at my page, have a lovely weekend.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

WOW! I liked the swallow the most. I took a picture of a swallow bird a few months back, but it's not as good as yours. You're amazing! :)

Stu said...

Good stuff Phil, Marsh harriers and Little Egrets were rarities when I was growing up as a young birder in Lancashire.......

Wren said...

A good day, for sure, even if the harrier got away before you got the shots you wanted. Amazing how you always remember that missing one, isn't it?

Love the closeups of the individual birds. Nice, sharp detail and a sense of the bird as a whole as well.

Halcyon said...

So many pretty birds! I don't think I've ever seen a swallow that close.

NatureFootstep said...

I looked at your location. It´s the UK so that is why I recognised all birds except the egret. The Egret rarely visits Sweden. I like the shot of the curlew. :)

My entry in the Birdblog:
http://nfbird.blogspot.com/2010/08/oland-trip-tryout.html

Larry said...

It sounds like a good birding day to me Phil. The Marsh Hawk is one of my nemesis photo birds too. I know just how you feel about that and your description of them appearing to fly slowly I believe is just that, an illusion.

Your photos are great as always but I especially like the Curlew. Beautiful!

Lana Gramlich said...

The lapwing's so cool & the little egret makes a very nice blog banner!

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