Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Raptorous Time

I tried again this morning and returned to Lane Ends now that the sportsmen moved on. A slight change of tactics today after the Yellow-browed Warbler at Heysham yesterday had me looking harder for both a YBW in the trees and a Lapland Bunting along the shore, but the anniversaryies of finding such exotica here in a mist net isn’t until the 18th October and the 24th October respectively; 1998 and 1987 were the unexpected occasions, almost a lifetime away such is the mundane nature of my everyday ringing.

I started well enough with a clear view of the pool where the Little Grebe I have been hearing for weeks turned into not one but four. A quiet walk around the bottom car park and the other pool found the resident Kingfisher that shot through the trees and over to the pool I just left, but apart from Robins and a few Blackbirds, warblers were absent.

It was going to be something of a raptor morning because I hadn’t gone far towards Pilling Water when I saw a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a Merlin. I think the latter two were after one of the many Skylarks around this morning, of which I counted 90+ birds, some of this attributable to the incoming tide pushing birds off the marsh and over the sea wall. I soon notched up a Peregrine too when one appeared briefly and sped over towards the stubble where there was a gang of Pink-footed Geese, just some of the 11,000+ I counted this morning. There was also a not very well bird, a left over from yesterday’s shoot, but I didn’t have the heart to put it out of its misery.

Peregrine

Sparrowhawk

Skylark

Pink-footed Goose

I made a few counts of waders and wildfowl, not in any particular order, 80 Dunlin, 65 Redshank, 1 Golden Plover, 15 Grey Plover, 11 Snipe, 300 Curlew, 13 Little Egret, and 2 Greenshank. Wildfowl - 750 Teal, 240 Wigeon, 40 Pintail, 5 Cormorant, 4 Great-crested Grebe, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 165 Shelduck and 2 Mute Swan.

I turned my attention back to the sea wall when I got distracted into photography again as 12 Meadow Pipits, 3 Wheatears and half a dozen Linnets fed almost along the tideline at the base of the sea wall close to where I sat. The Linnets evaded my camera but the others didn’t.

Meadow Pipit

Wheatear

Wheatear

Up near Worm Pool I could see 20 or so corvids harassing a Buzzard so I set off in that direction, almost treading on a Grey Partridge in the process, but by the time I got closer to Fluke Hall the Buzzard had drifted inland. Oh well, I’d just seen five raptors in the space of an hour or two, not a bad morning’s work.

7 comments:

Unravel said...

I've been seeing Peregrines here and there several times for the last two weeks as well. One of them seems to be staying around the tower near my dorm catching autumn passage flock of starlings.

Jen said...

Ooh I love your wheatear photos!

Pete Woodruff said...

Just to let you see I'm still looking in and keeping an eye on what you're up to.

The Meadow Pipit image in particular is excellent Phil.

madibirder said...

Hi Phil,
It looks bright and sunny over there, fantastic opportunity for photography.As usual a great collection of photos. The wheatear looks interesting and I've yet to get my first Peregrine.
madi

Paco Sales said...

majestuoso el vuelo del halcón peregrino, unas bellas fotos las que nos traes, un saludo amigo Phil

Errol said...

I agree with Pete - lovely Mipit, beatifully composed, taken with a wide aperture. ATB.

Russell said...

My kind of raptor morning. Lovely photos too.

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