Monday, August 30, 2010

Lucky Jim

A fellow blogger and worker of his own patch MP, remarked to me last week that some of the birds I see in my own local area and mention on my blog, almost in passing sometimes, are actually scarcer elsewhere. He’s dead right of course, but perhaps occasionally after a quiet day birding or ringing I either forget or choose to ignore the fact then complain mildly about seeing only a couple of Spotted Redshanks, a handful of Greenshanks or the odd Pintail. So I’m grateful for the regular reminder that I, or anyone else for that matter, shouldn’t get blasé about certain species seen regularly in a particular locality. Birders in this part of the world are very privileged, lucky to live in such a bird rich part of the North West coast. Daily we can see a fantastic selection of waders, pop out of the house to watch Peregrine and Merlin, tour the inland mosses to see thousands of wintering geese, witness the coastal migration of passerines in both spring and autumn, have seabirds galore when the weather is right, or if we get bored with those, head just inland to the Pennine fells to see Hen Harriers, Black Grouse and breeding waders or drive 40 minutes up the main road to Leighton to see Bitterns and Marsh Harriers.

I thought about this a couple of times this morning, firstly when I arrived at Conder Green. It was a beautiful sunny morning, zero wind and there were birds everywhere that led to the welcome problem of choosing between filling my notebook very quickly with a long list and so potentially miss something that might not hang around or dodge out of sight, or alternatively doing the looking first then worrying about my notes later. It wasn’t a real choice because I have a decent memory apart from the compulsory man thing of birthdays. So I set to and looked, not in any particular order but waders and wildfowl first; 5 Snipe, 5 Curlew, 40 Redshank, 5 Greenshank. 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 90 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Little Grebe, 22 Teal, 10 Mallard and 6 Mute Swan.

Lapwing

Oystercatcher

The light was rather strange this morning with a very bright and strong sun, but good for seeing the eyes of the herons, 2 Grey Heron in the creek and 7 Little Egret shared between the pool and the creek.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Grey Heron

The Kingfisher put in a brief appearance on the parapet before it spotted me hiding behind the so called hide, at which point it sped off towards the far side of the pool. Passerines noted today were 2 Meadow Pipits playing at Tree Pipits atop the hawthorn, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Tree Sparrow, 2 Pied Wagtail, 8 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet. Also, 10 House Martin and 25+ Swallows headed due south over the pool.

Meadow Pipit

Tree Sparrow

Whitethroat

At Lane Ends I bumped into a birder who lives in an inland city but was visiting his Nateby family for the weekend. To me, a biased old fart, that city is a hell on earth, a birdless conurbation of filth, crime and mostly sad people that don’t bird, but the lad gamely mentioned a few places where he escapes to when possible whilst admitting his desire to return to civilisation asap. As I watched a Peregrine dive through a flock of 70 or so Teal and return to sit on the deserted marsh I reflected on my good fortune, the simple pleasure of birding and the variety of birds I’d seen on this an average morning. Even more so when I finished off with a couple more Greenshank, a single Wheatear, 3 more egrets and a little Sparrowhawk soaring around the car park but surrounded by Swallows and House Martins. What a great morning!

Wheatear

6 comments:

wenn said...

nice series of bird pictures!

Unravel said...

This entry has a nice warm feeling to it, Phil. I also begin my birding as a local patch birder and I am still, in Japan. It's nice to walk through the same path, seeing familiar faces and watching things change from time to time.

Ali said...

What beautiful photos! I love the little egret in the water, just gorgeous!

dreamfalcon said...

definitely a wonderful variety of birds!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

That entry Lapwing is one great pose, what a handsome/beautiful depending on gender chap. Looks like it has on a feather hat, beautisimo. I also really like the Little Egret with it's water reflection, very cool image. Have a great week~

Manz said...

stunning series!

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