Saturday, August 28, 2010


Not so much with a bit of local patch news but rather a dilemma to find new photographs after a torrid few hours fighting in the face of a strong westerly with a heavy shower or two thrown into the mix. So the camera stayed in the bag, my baseball hat blew off more once then headed towards Cockerham without me, whilst my notebook had wet, blotchy, blue entries instead of neat pencilled items because I am an adult and don’t use pencils.

A 2pm tide beckoned even though at just over 28ft it was almost certainly a bit of a short arse and wouldn’t reach the necessary height to concentrate any decent numbers of waders. Out from Lane Ends there wasn’t much point in ear birding, listening for birds in competition with the blustery head wind that drowned out all but the nearest sound, but I did note a couple of brave Meadow Pipits. I found a semi sheltered spot and waited, and waited, taking a break by wandering over to the pools when I heard the Green Sandpiper. It was a bit strange when I watched the Green Sandpiper chased off a pool margin by the much smaller Pied Wagtail that continued to dive bomb the wader as it sought refuge in the middle of the pool. As the wagtail continued, the sandpiper flew off further down the pool where it was left in peace. Maybe the almost black and white colouration of the sandpiper combined with its bobbing feeding action led the wagtail to think it had to chase off a very large wagtail?

Teal came in with the tide; I counted 400 flying in, rather than out from the wildfowler’s pools from where they probably spend the darker hours on the easy food menu. Also on the tide, flying about briefly were my first Pintail of the autumn, but only 10. Returning Shelduck plus birds of the year now number more than 60, still way off the eventual winter numbers of course.

I made a special effort to count the Little Egrets today but I don’t think the mediocre tide helped my mediocre count of 6 birds, with a single Grey Heron only. The incoming tide pushed in 2 Greenshank to add to the one I had already seen on the wildfowler’s water, where I won’t be welcome come 1st September unless I carry a gun rather than a telescope.

I’d sat for some time watching Swallows, every single one arriving from the east, north east or south east before they fed either over the outflow of Pilling Water or on the inland side before leaving to the west and Fluke Hall. I also counted House Martins arriving and leaving in a similar fashion with eventual migration totals of 350+ Swallows and 40 House Martins, which confirmed my on-going thought ratio of 10:1 in favour of Swallows.

Linnets abounded today with 22+ but smaller numbers of Goldfinch at 9 and a single windswept Wheatear scratching a living near the United Utilities bits and pieces, the training ground for budding earthmovers and timewasters. The Kingfisher put in an appearance when it flew from behind me, out along the channel, over the marsh and back again towards the pools, Teal City and Mallard Heaven. I think it wants to sit on the parapet at the channel but if it spots a human form, does a circuit then disappears out of sight and waits for another occasion.

So, as now becomes obvious there are too many words and not enough pictures, repetitive shite perhaps as a fellow blogger accused me of? The problem is that when someone works a local patch it can be monotonous, maybe even boring but at least I’m out there looking, not a slave to a pager or a phone call and when I do find the big one or even a teeny weeny little one on my local patch, it will give me the greatest satisfaction in the world. Maybe I’ll delete the link to his blog, deplete any readers he ever had and consign him to clicking his counter to inflate his visitor numbers, right hand man.


Swallow and House Martin



The weather forecast doesn’t look much better for tomorrow so perhaps I’ll watch the GP instead of birding, but then you never know.


Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Teal and the Pintail are amazing entries Phil, so what if you only got a few, the few are awesome!!! Had to giggle at your last paragraph, too funny and the thing about pencils, I don't use them either, hey they smudge even without rain, so the ink works for me. Tough day, better tomorrow, hopefully. Cheers~

Little Brown Job said...

Love the updates from your local patch and the images a are great. Mine is my back garden and all I'm getting are Starlings, Starlings and more Starlings with the occasional House Sparrow thrown in. The likes of Pintail and Wheatear are positively exotic :-)

Moore Patcher said...

Pintail would be a patch tick for me! Very nice :) As for your anonymous desenter, pah! Says I! Patch birds are PROPER birds - self-found, unremarkable maybe sometimes, but little pieces of an everchanging patch jigsaw. Subtleties lost on some less-evolved birders ;)

Paco Sales said...

Preciosas fotos, me encanta la de culiblanco un ave preciosa, y espero que el tiempo mejore para que puedas seguir tomando buenas fotos, un saludo

Phil said...

Gracias Paco, For my English speaking readers Paco says "Beautiful pictures, I love the beautiful bird of wheatear, and I hope the weather improves so you can continue to take good pictures, greetings"

Stu said...

Great Wheatear pic, that guy who criticized your blog sounds like a d**k, don't worry about him.

My blog is fairly 'repetitive' too, like you say it's inevitable for primarily local patch birders. Like you say we aren't a slave to birds other folk find. Not that I mind twitchers (not at all in fact) but if one of them looked down on and dissed me I'd give him a slap. If he was smaller than me.

You speak Spanish?

Unravel said...

Nice note on the habit of dive bombing of the wagtail. The Green Sandpiper is fairly uncommon here in Thailand and I've yet to see one this autumn (while hundreds of Wood Sandpiper have already stayed around my place for several weeks now).

mick said...

Nice description of your patch and great photos. It's only by going over the same patch numbers of times that we finally understand what is happening there and sometimes begin to figure out why.

Neil said...

Great photos and a nice patch if that is what you find there.I no of someone who uses waterproof notebook and pencil for field work.Works well.

Larry said...

I love your descriptions of your patch Phil and I think you are lucky to have such a beautiful place to bird.

Your photos are awesome as always. The Wheatear of the header is absolutely incredible!

Related Posts with Thumbnails