Thursday, October 21, 2010

One or Two

I knew something was afoot when I opened my back door this morning and heard a Fieldfare going over. I live in a bit of suburbia but less than 200 yards away I’m on a road that leads through old hedgerows, bits of woodland and eventually down to the River Wyre, so I suppose it’s not totally surprising that my garden list includes things like Buzzard, Cuckoo, Redwing, Fieldfare, Treecreeper, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. There had been some splendid even huge counts of Fieldfare up in the Pennines for a few days now, just a pity the continued wind strength frustrated efforts to catch and ring these handsome birds.

Anyway I paid my usual Thursday visit to Knott End then headed out to Pilling; a bit late I’m afraid at 0915. Out of my car at Fluke Hall and the calls of Fieldfares made me look up to see hundreds swirling about looking for a place where they might land and feed. In fact I estimated 250/300 birds that swept over the wood and out of sight. It was no good following them, at this time of year they might land or just keep going. So I walked up towards Ridge Farm where I found yet more Fieldfares, this time about 40 in a flock over towards New Ridge Farm that once again kept going in their autumn urgency. There were lots of Starlings too this morning, with over 300 birds here in the area of Ridge Farm, and more like 6/700 hundred on the stubble at Fluke Hall Lane. In fact the influx of continental Starlings has gone almost unnoticed on local commentary but they certainly arrived in good numbers in the last three weeks or so. The Skylarks joined in the movement when I counted more than 30 coming off the stubble in the morning rush, but as Skylarks tend to do to so as to frustrate birders keen on categorising them, they flew around rather aimlessly before they returned to the stubble where they hid very successfully.



If nothing else the Ridge Farm track guarantees Dunnocks galore, Tree Sparrows, Linnets, with in winter, Greenfinches and maybe a chance of a Lapland Bunting for twitchers but not for regulars like me. So no chance of a Longspur but I did get 15 Tree Sparrow, 8 Greenfinch, 7 Linnet and 4 Stock Dove crouching in the stubble with the regular and more numerous Wood Pigeons.

Tree Sparrow

Back up Fluke Hall Lane I found the Fieldfare where they had settled in enormous berry laden hawthorns, only to be disturbed by the postman opening a gate for access to the track the birds lined. Erupting again they flew inland to more distant hedgerows in the centre of several fields where the poor thrushes looked less likely to be disturbed again.


Instead of chasing the thrushes I walked through Fluke Hall wood, strictly no go of course to ordinary birders unless on the road, but perfectly good to see the numerous Chaffinch feeding high in the beech trees. The Chaffinch were with a couple or more of Brambling this morning, plus the fly through secretive Buzzard pursued by crows and Jackdaws again, but not so secretive that we don’t recognise the signs of regular breeding.

I took time out to check the tit flock; all the usual suspects but plenty of Long-tailed Tits ,endless Coal Tit, and the quiet calls of Robins.


Coal Tit

Lane Ends threw up nothing save for the singing Chiffchaff and the omnipresent Little Egrets whose roost now nears 60 birds. At this rate of increase they will outnumber Fieldfares.

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