Friday, September 3, 2010

The Postman's Late

I know it's Saturday and the post is overdue but I got delayed and I'm doing this at 5am before I head off to do some ringing.

There were some bird errands Friday which didn’t necessarily involve much bird watching but I had time for a flying visit to CG Conder Green. And guess what I saw flying away?

Little Egret

On the pool were 5 Little Grebe, the species that’s made a home for itself here, but only it seems out of the breeding season. The 3 Wigeon are still in situ, as is the Kingfisher which did a flying circuit again before it disappeared towards the main road and the reeds of the upper Conder. I found 3 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, 7 Snipe and 18 Teal plus 30 or so Redshank. In the lay-by a Whitethroat still searched through the tangled vegetation and a single Tree Sparrow divided its time between preening itself or darting onto the road and collecting food probably dropped by the wagons that park there.

Tree Sparrow

Whitethroat

I went to see a farmer chap who is keen to create Sand Martin habitat on his farm but lacks the capital that some of our conservation organisations seem to have. Anyway I gave him an article from a recent Daily Telegraph that described how Anglian Water built 350 Sand Martin burrows with sand-filled clay pipes in breeze blocks, and this year there are 180 nests. It reinforced the idea in his head and I think he will get around to doing something in the future. I hope so because he already has a few breeding Sand Martins. I also checked out the little set aside at Cockersands where the finch flock builds up daily feeding on the standard kale, quinoa and goodness knows what else mix, but the birds soon take to it. I counted about 100 mixed finches, maybe 40% Linnet, 30% Goldfinch and 20% Greenfinch with the odd Meadow Pipit and Tree Sparrow thrown in. I have permission to ring birds here so any catches should firm up the proportions of birds involved plus give some vital information on what is happening to our Linnets and Greenfinches.

Linnet

Greenfinch

Up at the farm were 2 Swallow nests with large young. One will fledge any day, the other one in about a week’s time. Let’s hope the weather holds. Plenty of other Swallows in the area of the farm got spooked by a little Sparrowhawk that then headed out towards the Lune. Jobs done I motored on up to Lane Ends in time to see a male Marsh Harrier circling out on the marsh, but it didn’t come close. After a while it headed off towards Bank End and Cockersands, where I had just come from, leaving me to listen to a Chiffchaff sing from the plantation bathed in in the warm morning sun.

I had time to do Pilling Water, just. Because a minute or two before I had watched the harrier fly east, a large raptor out on the marsh threw me momentarily. But it turned out to be a Common Buzzard doing a thermal and I couldn’t turn it into a honey. I found 5 Wheatear, 45 Linnet, 11 Alba Wagtails, 24 Meadow Pipit and 5 Little Egret. The Green Sandpiper called from the wildfowler’s pools and 3 Snipe flew into there from the outer marsh, but out near the sewage filters and the cut field I saw hundreds of Swallows. I drove back that way and estimated over 800 Swallows and took a shot of a single bird.

Buzzard

Swallow

3 comments:

Codders said...

Phil,

we must have different time zones here in Newcastle, its only 4.49am and the blog was published 14mins ago, so how is your post overdue? Maybe its those early morning starts addling your internal clock. Im an early riser also (thinking to myself why am I doing a comment on a blog when I should be getting ready to go out to Big Waters) and sometimes get confused. Great Blog by the way and someday I will go and have a trip round Conder Green and Pilling.

John

Stu said...

Nice Linnet shot, almost like a painting.........

Unravel said...

That's a very interesting news about the Sand Martins. And as Stu said, the photo of Linnet is very beautiful, like an oil painting, very nice composition!

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