Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Positive

It’s been a tough week. I got soaked to the skin twice; a third day I received a thorough wetting as well as being almost blown into next week by the strong westerly; and then damn it, the mist nets must remain packed away until the weather improves. On three occasions the Marsh Harrier wouldn’t cooperate at the end of the lens and nor could I get photos of any other winged creature. Then yesterday to cap it all, a birder with I might say a history of dodgy records and something of a reputation, cast doubt upon my ability to count 10 Little Egrets on my regular patch of 25 years. If there are three words guaranteed to wind up a birder, they are “Are you sure?” It got so bad that last night I thought about packing in bird watching, perhaps buy a pager subscription to Birdguides, swap in the 4x4 Suzuki for something fast with a dashboard satnav and then wait for someone else to find some interesting birds for me.

But then I slept on it, read some really nice supportive comments on the blog from friends near and far that reinvigorated my enthusiasm, then this morning I set off for Pilling after calling in at Damien’s brilliant Knott End fish shop for some brain food.

At Knott End jetty there wasn’t a lot along the river with the channel being as low as I have ever seen it following this week’s high tides. There were 7 Meadow Pipits and 4 Pied Wagtails, plus a small gaggle of Redshanks, and out in the narrow channel, near the Isle of Man ferry, a couple of Sandwich Terns feeding back and forth. A rainbow hung over Fleetwood in a sky as black as my boots but behind me the sun shone and lit the ferry in a halo of optimistic light.


Fleetwood Morning

I think Kestrels bred close to Lane Ends, there have been two or three about for a week or two, just like this morning when one fence hopped and followed me virtually to Pilling Water.


Six more wagtails, and 8 Meadow Pipits around the dyke, Pied I think without being able to study them too close in the still strong wind, but Meadow Pipits that are perhaps from Iceland do often arrive with wagtails that might or might not be White Wagtails from Iceland. However it certainly looks like the Meadow Pipit autumn migration has begun in earnest. There was a single Wheatear again this morning which briefly sat up on the rocks where I should really have put a spring trap. I counted 2 Common Sandpiper and several hundred Curlew with a couple of Snipe rushing from the marsh, but didn’t wait for the tide today. Instead I walked to the wildfowler’s pool near Fluke in the hope of seeing the Teal. I did indeed see Teal, probably 200, the numbers rapidly increased since the first arrivals about two weeks ago. The Teal aren’t put down by the wildfowlers, they are wild as wild can be and simply take advantage of the sacks of food put out for the shoot’s bought in Mallards.

Meadow Pipit


Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

There seemed to be a few more House Martins around this morning, with probably 20 or so hawking around the dyke and outflow, but in contrast Swallows were thin until the temperatures rise a little.

I first heard and then saw the Green Sandpiper today, spooked with Mallards from the wildfowler’s pools before diving quickly back in. A Sparrowhawk here as well.

Little Egret? Fourteen today, I’m positive.

Little Egret


Paco Sales said...

Preciosas estas fotos amigo, curiosa y bonita el Andarrios con la comida en la boca, espero que estos tres días que te has mijado no hayas sufrido ningún resfriado, un abrazo amigo

Ari said...

Phil, don't even bother to think of someone like that! you have all our support...

forestal said...

wonderful blog and photos. Nothing like a night's sleep to put the negativity in perspective.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

FOURTEEN!!! Your being greedy Phil - I'd be very happy with just a lonely solitary single one sailing past south shore



Larry said...

Hey Phil, don't waste your time with people like that. I decided years ago that I only have so much time on this planet and I wasn't going to waste one minute with louts like this guy.

The Redshank photo is gorgeous. I love the reflection in the rippling water. And the Little Egret is awesome with the fish in its beak. Well done! I'm positive!

Stu said...

'Are you sure?!'

You did well not to punch him.............

Mark Young said...

Nice write-up Phil. I'm very envious of your Redshank and Sandpiper images. I'ld love to see these birds in real life.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Phil, I am sorry you had such a tough week, but I did get a giggle out of your words, for I too have been cast in that light. "How do you know they bred three times in six days? How do you know that they had three nest attempts?" Hello, because I have been doing this since 1996 and this is what I do and I just know it to be a fact... Anyway, I am thrilled that you did not give into your thoughts and that you are still among us!!! Love those busy little Sandpipers and the Kestrel looks outstanding. Have a great weekend~ SMILE;)

O1229 Ringing Group said...

You could reply with something like: "I think I can count to 14, Matey"!

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