Friday, April 1, 2011

Rougher and Ruff

This week is payback time for the last four weeks of dry, calm, and settled if sometimes cold weather that at least allowed plenty of birding and ringing. Following a rained off ringing session on Tuesday the week went from bad to worse, with rain, gales and generally unfriendly spells blowing in from the Atlantic.

As I waited for this morning’s downpour to stop, peering from the kitchen window that looks west, the sight of 3 Siskin, 6 Goldfinch and 5 Greenfinch taking turns at the portholes of the garden feeders certainly cheered me up. After a while the rain stopped and I set off for a few hours at Pilling which turned out not too bad at all when I found a few spring migrants to jot in my notebook.

Lane Ends was first stop. On the flood opposite the car park entrance that often holds little of interest or nothing at all, I counted 2 pairs of Lapwing, 16 Teal, 2 Redshank and a single Ruff.


The trees around the car park were fairly well sheltered from this morning’s wild wind, enough to hear 2 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff in song. On the pools were pairs of Little Grebe and Tufted Duck with a Little Egret stood alone and unmoving in a sheltered bay of the west pool.

Little Egret

The wind hit the moment I left the shelter of the Lane Ends trees to walk west along the sea wall, so I ducked seaward, seeing nothing until I got to Pilling Water apart from the Kestrel that breeds at Damside.

Spring Redshanks are coming through, numbers building, roosting as they always do out of sight on the wildfowler’s pools where I counted a flock of 95 'shanks today sharing the pools with 4 more Teal, a pair of Mute Swan and several Shelduck. Below the wall again I made my way towards Fluke Hall and Worm Pool with overhead displaying Oystercatchers, Lapwing and the occasional Skylark singing against the whistling wind.

The pool is too full of water for waders, with just a few more Teal and Shelduck, but small birds feeding around the midden, 8 Meadow Pipit, 6 Pied Wagtail, a Reed Bunting and a couple of Skylarks. I sat on the stile waiting for something to happen, trying for a few Skylark pictures, when the Merlin dashed through and scattered the pipits and wagtails, then as quick as it came it left: over the sea wall and out onto the marsh it disappeared, as did my moment of excitement.


It was a rough old morning, not very spring like, but hey it’s only April the first and there’s lots more birds to come yet.

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