Thursday, April 21, 2011

Long Time No See

A spot of just birding at Pilling this morning where I didn’t see many species and not in any numbers, but the ones I saw were pretty interesting.

I’d gone armed with spring traps looking for Wheatears but saw only two, neither of them interested enough in a meal-worm, although the male spent quite a while watching a trap intently before wandering off up the fence line. So I sat on the sea wall where I could see the traps but also look out to the distant tide line, some four hours to high-tide. There was an Osprey out there in the sunny haze, on top of the tallest post that sticks out of the sand, halfway to Heysham, where it just sat and sat waiting for the tide to come in I supposed, just occasionally changing its perspective or stretching its wings. The bird was just too far out for a picture, but below is an archive shot from Egypt as today’s Osprey reminded me of “the big white hawk that lives in the sand”.


I walked along towards Fluke Hall where I found several Linnets and 2 White Wagtail, and at the wildfowler’s pools, 2 Grey Heron, 4 Teal, several Shelduck, plus plenty of territorial Lapwings and Redshanks. There have been Golden Plovers on the partly ploughed field for a week or two, up to 170, camouflaged in summer plumage against the brown, dry earth, but today a distant 40 or so that flew around a couple of times when the Lapwings spooked off for nothing.

Golden Plover


More territorial Lapwings at Fluke Hall with pairs of piping, displaying Oystercatchers and protesting Redshanks, but nothing on Worm Pool save for more Shelduck and Oystercatchers.


I got back to Lane Ends where upon setting off earlier I had noted the now resident pair of Jays, 2 singing Willow Warblers, singing Reed Warbler, 2 overhead tree Pipits and a single Redpoll. The pools held the now resident pairs of Tufted Duck and Little Grebe.


I sat at the picnic table, making notes when from towards the western end of the plantation I heard the unmistakable bursts of a Wood Warbler in song, but try as I might I couldn’t get any pictures of the said bird.

This species is now so scarce in our area that it has become twitchable, a “target” bird. I looked on IPMR and found that I last saw them here at Pilling about 15 years ago, on 2nd May 1995 when one turned up in a mist net, with one again in a net on 19th August 1997. Apart from finding a few nests and ringing nestlings in the Pennine lowlands since then, my sightings of Wood Warbler remain few and far between, and I certainly don’t have any digital images of them. With luck we’ll catch one in the next few days of spring, but don’t hold your breath.

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