Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Flap And A Glide

A dawn downpour hit the bedroom window and a strengthening wind put paid to any elaborate ringing plans, but determined to get out somewhere, I did the local patch Out Rawcliffe then flew across the fast moss road to check out Pilling.

It was when I got to the moss and waded through saturated long grass that I realised the early downpour had actually been a hail storm. In sheltered, cold spots I negotiated patches of still frozen, crunching hail stones underfoot but I found that more than a couple of Whitethroat nests had now hatched. I watched adults carrying bright green caterpillars near likely looking nesting spots close to abundant Willowherb, where the nests I know of had tiny young, one with eggs not hatched and chicks just a day or two old. The Whitethroats couldn’t rely on me to find the caterpillars hidden in the vegetation, but the adult birds feed the young every few minutes with a seemingly endless supply of the bugs, and have to do the same for 7 days a week and 10-12 days.

Whitethroat nest


On my circuit of part of the farm I counted lots of singing birds, 17 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 2 Yellowhammer, 4 Sedge Warbler, 6 Skylark, 1 Corn Bunting and 6 Willow Warblers, but the recent Garden Warblers may have departed. Some Willow Warblers have already finished nesting, and I saw my first family party today keeping together with the “hooeet” calls, but it won’t be long at all before the young birds have to make their own way in life. A displaying Curlew represented the waders, with a single Lapwing calling worriedly and acting as if it had chicks in the rough grass field. May 31st and I saw the first signs of Lapwing flocks today, a couple of small parties of less than 10 birds, both here and later at Pilling. These summer groups can hold the now flying young of the season, but more often they are gangs of failed breeding adults.


Overhead today were the resident Buzzards effortlessly gliding around the warming sky, plus 2 Ravens croaking loudly as they headed inland towards the hills and Garstang.


Lane Ends to Fluke was quiet, with Reed Bunting still hanging on in the plantation and a surprise bird here for 31st May, a Lesser Redpoll that flew off calling towards Fluke until lost out of sight. Waders have been scarce along here this dry spring, with today a couple of Lapwings telling their by now enormous chicks to crouch at my passing. I reckon just three pairs of Oystercatcher here, but there is a shortage of Redshank this year, both inland and on the seaward side of the wall – two cold winters? In fact I could find only one pair of Redshanks, when normally there might be five or six pairs along this stretch of coast.


The wildfowler’s pools held little but Mallards and Shelduck with a highlight of my walk a large female Peregrine that tore through the sky above Fluke Hall in pursuit of a feral pigeon. The pigeon evaded capture and the falcon took off towards the shore down Preesall way. It was probably the female from the pair breeding at Fleetwood, a mile or two away as the Peregrine flies; just a flap and a glide back home for it and for me.


lp.are.the.best said...

They are more like yellowthroats :))))

Phil said...

Grammie G said "I am emailing you because the goo-goo's at Googlville have not fixed comment on this side of the pond our for me at least!!

Phil you said in your post that you flew over fast moss road ...I didn't know you could fly!!!
That's real cool... by the way I did change the Sparrow to Tree so now where even..Isn't it nice we can watch for each
others mistakes.
I love those little nestlings Whitethroats, is there anything cuter than that, big buggy eyes and all!!
I like the way you word your post I can almost visualize what your seeing....well seeing you fly over roads, and flap and glide your way home does disturb me a bit
Your new header although ,very upsetting to me that the Hummer is gone, is how I feel about blogger comment!!

I will close by thanking for your comments on my post's ...and I will try not to complain so much about the weather if you will!! Are we ever happy???"

Mary Howell Cromer said...

So our hail from last week, made it over the "big pond" and landed at your door step...I wondered... Ours was golfball sized and it hit hard~ Love seeing baby birds and is it not one of the most amazing things in nature, how quickly those little eggs, become birds in flight...I love it!!!

Paco Sales said...

Que bella imagen del nido con los polluelos esperando su comida, suerte que la paloma se salvo de la captura del halcón, otro buen reportaje Phil un saludo

Chris said...

Excellent set of pictures Phil!

Seasons said...

You captures these shots at just the right time, especially the Lapwing. Great!

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