Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Whistle In The Wind

I was thankful to get out at all after a poor weekend’s weather, a lost day yesterday then more wind and rain before lunch today. There were Leach’s Petrel off the coast today, at Cleveleys and Cockersands, but I didn’t see any from Pilling where the tide was too low, the edge of the tide beyond the green marsh. I did see a few bits and pieces even though I read the tide table wrong and arrived at Pilling far too early. It wasn’t a problem when the sun came out for a while and although it was very windy, I was reasonably comfortable tucked down a hollow in the sea wall. Much better anyway than standing in a raging wind at Starr Gate or Cleveleys looking for petrels and having grockles say “ Are there many ships today?”

Leach’s Petrel

I wasn’t totally surprised when 8 Pink-footed Geese appeared from the north, flying quickly south over the wall and inland, bang on cue as harbingers of winter I suppose on September 14th. I was making a count of the Curlew when a single Whimbrel appeared, whistling as it flew overhead in the same direction as the pinkies. The Whimbrel often known as the “Seven Whistler”, is often associated with a Celtic superstition of the 'seven-whistlers', supposedly a group of six birds looking for a seventh - hearing the call augured death or other disaster. I hope it was just a coincidence that soon after the bright yellow Air Ambulance helicopter flew across the bay towards Cockersands.


The Curlew numbered their usual 700+ and Lapwing 130, but the smaller waders were too far out, keeping low in the wind and hidden by the green marsh. I did note 2 fairly close Greenshank, 2 Snipe and a single overflying Golden Plover. The wildfowl were more easily counted, with 4 Wigeon, 2 Greylag, 45 Pintail, 180 Shelduck, 3 Great-crested Grebe and 500+ Teal, some of which made their way to the wildfowler’s pools for an easy meal. The Kingfisher appeared from behind me once more, then shot out along the channel towards the tide, and I didn’t see it again, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t cross the bay to distant Heysham.


There were a few Linnets about today, less than 10 but I did note 8 new in Wheatears, and as is often the case with Wheatears, they arrive in windy conditions from the west or North West sector.


It looks to be more wind tomorrow with Leach’s on the cards and maybe a few North American passerines in Scilly and Ireland. In fact if Ireland didn’t get in our way, they might well landfall at Lane Ends.

Wednesday’s Chart


Unravel said...

Storm-petrel is one nice group of birds that I've still yet to see. Wish they're a bit more common around here.

Paco Sales said...

Amigo Phil, espero que el tiempo te acompñae y puedas conseguir llevarnos bellezas como las que nos tienes acostumbrados, un fuert abrazo amigo Phil

Russell said...

Love the flight photos of the Whimbrel and the Teal. Top shelf.

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