Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stopped For A Chat

The chat in question was a Whinchat, now as scarce in these parts as hen’s teeth. I was watching 3 Wheatears near my traps when a juvenile Whinchat popped up on the fence behind the United Utilities paraphernalia at Pilling Water. It’s now one of those birds that no one passes by anymore but instead stops to take a closer look. Apart from seeing several migrant Whinchats in Menorca in May it was my first Whinchat of the year, and I don’t expect to see many more this year because their population has suffered a dramatic drop in recent years.

Whinchat - courtesy of Jorg Hempel

I didn’t catch any of the Wheatears but they removed at least one meal worm without getting caught, then hung around for a time watching for more easy pickings, but stayed clear of the now reset spring traps. Birds are definitely cleverer than we humans give them credit for.

Wheatears

Apart from the pleasant Whinchat surprise things were much the same this morning with along the shore 5 Pied Wagtails, 4 Meadow Pipits and 15 Goldfinch but the reappearance of more than 30 Linnets. The wildfowler’s pools held a Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Snipe and at least 200 Teal with 3 Blackbirds emerging from the maize cover and 2 Collared Doves diving in for a feed.

Blackbird

Pied Wagtail

Teal

Collared Dove

Along Broadfleet and the outflow I counted 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron and 3 Little Egrets. Feeding along the ditch and adjacent fields were approximately 90 Swallows and 10 House Martin, at one point paying some attention to a spiralling Sparrowhawk that drifted over towards distant Fluke Hall into more hirundine aggro. It was about now that I heard the deep croaking of 2 Ravens as they passed quickly overhead heading south east.

Common Sandpiper

Cormorant

When I got back home staring at the blank sheet of the blog I wondered what on earth I could write as I had seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time watching Wheatears and the Whinchat. But then I looked at my notebook and realised the variety of birds I had actually logged whilst mainly stopping and staring. Maybe that old maxim about letting the birds come to you holds more than a grain of truth and that dashing around in pursuit of birds isn’t nearly as much fun or as rewarding?

11 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful series of bird photos! Love them all but the teal in flight is awesome.

Pete Woodruff said...

The number of bird species going down in my book as a sort of 'mega' is slowly increasing and your Whinchat is certainly one towards the top of the list, always a bird to brighten up any birding day. I'm hoping to visit one or two locations during the next couple of weeks to connect with them on passage as I did last year at three....fingers crossed.

Nice record Phil.

dreamfalcon said...

Nice series of photos. The blackbird and the wagtail look like juveniles.

mick said...

That was actually my first thought about your post - what a great variety of birds you saw! All lovely photos but I especially like the Whinchat against the blue sky.

Unravel said...

Whinchat doesn't exist where I live, but it looks so much like the common stonechat. Sorry to hear that the population is declining. Hope it will get better soon!

Larry said...

Great days accounting Phil! Your photographs are awesome, as usual, and I really enjoyed the trip you took us on.

I must say, my favorite photo is the shot of the Cormorant. The lighting and the green wooden rail really make for a gorgeous shot!

Neil said...

Great photos I like the part about letting them come to you.

BirdingMaine said...

That's the whole idea of bird watching and bird photography, letting the subject come to you. This is the best way to do these activities without stressing the birds. Kudos to you Phil!

Wonderful photos!

Halcyon said...

A very nice assortment of birds.

Lana Gramlich said...

Stupendous shot of the teal in flight, but they're all quite lovely, really. :)

NatureFootstep said...

a lot of great birds. :)

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