Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What A Choice

A problem for me at 9am: 1) go shopping with Sue to M&S and her Christmas Vouchers, joining the other poor souls at the man-chairs feigning interest at their better half’s latest pair of shoes, or 2) go birding.

As I drove through Stalmine and Pilling, along Burned House Lane, Head Dyke and then Lambs Lane it was obvious that more than a few waders had found their way back to the post-thaw fields so unusually quiet in recent weeks. At Lambs Lane I had counted 160 Curlew, 45 Lapwing and countless gulls on the now wet fields. Blackbirds scattered from the roadside at Wheel Lane and Fluke Hall Lane, continuing the theme of recent days, and by the time I reached the wood my Blackbird count reached a rough and ready 25. I tried counting the masses of Jackdaws near the wood and the nearby fields but gave up at 600+.

The somewhat elusive Whooper Swans on the Fluke Hall stubble were indeed hard to fathom this morning as one lone bird hung around the flood, and during the morning I managed to count only 11 birds in total. At Damside and Backsands Lane I found 2 Pied Wagtails, 6 Meadow Pipits and a very good selection of waders on the flooded field: 64 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Dunlin, 160 Lapwing, 24 Redshank and even a few Oystercatchers, now able to probe the wet rather than frozen fields. The light was poor again this morning, as the “noise” in the Pied Wagtail picture at ISO400 confirms.


Black-tailed Godwit

Pied Wagtail

I stopped in the car park at Lane Ends where I counted 17 Redwings and 12 Blackbirds feeding on the ground close to the doggy walking path, until of course a doggy walker disturbed then scattered them into the trees. 2 more Pied Wagtails here plus 15/20 Chaffinch finding bits of food amongst the giant flower pots where it looks like someone may have strewn nyjer seed.


From the sea wall I watched a Peregrine beating up the shore birds, back and forth a few times, until it landed preyless on the log. There were a number of Skylarks flying about, flushed by the incoming tide, and between here and Pilling Water I counted more than 30 of them. Just 1 Little Egret in the ditch today, but I am sure they will be back in numbers if the weather stays kind.

At Pilling Water I found a Rock Pipit and 10 Linnets along the shore, with a tight flock of 1000+ Dunlin, more Redshank, and as the tide ran in a Brown Hare loped from the filling marsh.

Brown Hare


It was Number 2 but now I have to pay for my sins by making a Spaghetti Bolognese and opening a bottle of red, therefore excuse me, I must sign off.

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