Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ticking And Trying

It doesn’t get any easier filling this blog, except that is with words, the pictures are a bit harder to come by. I had lots of birds when out birding today but despite the camera to hand I couldn’t get any decent photographs. If only birds had no wings and couldn’t fly? So if one or two of these pictures look familiar they are from the archive and appear so as to illustrate the birding time. But at least the news herein is current and complete.

There was a high tide due at just midday and for once the sun shone for the time being, so I made my way towards Pilling where the rising tide concentrates the birds. At Lane Ends car park a party of titmice included at least one Willow Warbler and whilst I didn’t linger in counting the other birds, I noticed a couple of Robins give out their “tic”calls, a sure sign of autumn. Like many other birds Robins go almost completely silent during their autumn moult, only re-finding their voice as autumn arrives with their territorial or warning “tic” call and their distinctive autumn song which is softer and more melancholy than the spring one. Also a male Robin’s song is of greater duration and contains more diverse phrases then the female song.


Pilling Water and beyond towards Fluke Hall is probably the best place for watching the incoming tide, so I made my way down there on the seaward side to avoid the blustery south westerly wind. I got half way then scanned back over Cockerham Marsh and Lane Ends itself where Sod’s Law really swung into action with a Marsh Harrier that came off the marsh and flew slowly over the pools and plantation where I had stood ten minutes earlier. I think it probably went out of my sight line and east back towards Cockerham because I didn’t see it again.

First I looked for the birds always around, and counted 12 Linnet, 7 Goldfinch, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Kestrel and 1 Pied Wagtail. There was a single Wheatear and my first real numbers of autumn Meadow Pipits with 10 or 12 along the shore and near the outflow. I sat and counted the Swallows about, some of which were obvious migrants as they hurried through south west; I came to a count of 40+, with one Swift and 6 local House Martin.

Pied Wagtail

Common Sandpiper

I turned my attention to the tide, and after yesterday I made a determined attempt at Curlew counting; 750+ was my result, hardly unexpected or original but quite satisfying. Other waders: 15 Redshank, 45 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 40 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plover and a Green Sandpiper over in the wildfowler’s ditches. On the incoming tide were 9 Cormorant and 4 Great-crested Grebe, with herons represented by one each of Grey Heron and Little Egret. It’s interesting that my count of 9 Little Egrets here last week was a one off for now, but they too have a post breeding dispersal which isn’t necessarily obvious to casual watchers.


The Peregrines were about again today, a clearly juvenile bird, very fuzzy faced and brown underneath, in contrast to an adult male with clear cut facial marks. Unlike on many previous occasions when I have watched two or more Peregrines interact which I ascribed to family bonds, these two keep a distance apart, hunt separately, and head off in different directions. It was the juvenile bird that in the distance caught a rather large bird in mid-air then laboured towards the shore carrying the prey before dropping it amongst roosting gulls and Curlews. Rather strangely I though it didn’t attempt to retrieve the meal. Below there is a very bad, distant shot of the Peregrine, the best I could get in amongst the pretty good birding. I am trying, honest.



Quantum Tiger said...

Great shots there. I love the redshank. Very minimalist!

Birdringal-andalus said...

Dear Phil, greetings: with nearly 44 G º here today is a joy to recreate with Robins and Pied wagltail ...
If you smell fall, that's very good sign, here is an urgent need to smell of wet earth, to hear the dawn piiiiiiiiiiii issued by a Thrush and can spend a full day in the forest.
Tallies already be in hell, knowing that your birds will soon be here is at least an illusion.
There are only a few days to do so, blessed with its storms in September ...
Regards, Fernando Gavilan.

Anna said...

Well there is nothing wrong with archives. Sometimes I have the same, weather does not cooperates, birds do not cooperate you name it, but then on the end I am satisfied that I saw something new. Phil stunning photos, like QT said, the redshank especially. Anna :)

Idaho Birder said...

Oh...that is what a Robin is!

- a friend from North America

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Redshank and the Robin are amazing in colouration. It does not matter if these are old, or if they are new, they are brilliant and always look forward to a look-see of what you share~

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