Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Stint Of Birding

Four days on from Menorca and I finally managed to get to Pilling for a look at the regular patch and a stint of local birding which began at Lane Ends.

Each year I complain about the lack of Lapwing success so it was great today to see two broods of chicks in the field closest to Lane Ends, one of 3 healthy sized young and a second family of 2 marginally smaller chicks. If only all the attempted nests could produce 3 flyers, the Lapwings might be able to maintain a foothold in the area.

Further up the sea wall I found another pair of Lapwings but with only a single chick, which while delightful to see, is simply not productive enough to sustain a population. The adult birds were as protective as can be but I caught up with the youngster crouching in the grass to ring my first chick of the year. Luckily I had taken my “goodies” bag containing spring traps and “A” rings in the event of tardy Wheatears and “D” rings for any Lapwings I encountered; and of course a camera, pliers, an apple, spare lens, notebook and sundry essentials. That old bag of mine just gets heavier and heavier.


Lapwing chick

My morning had started well and improved with that rarity a Cuckoo calling from the trees at Lane Ends, a single bird that equalled my count of Cuckoos in two weeks of Menorca watching where in May many migrant Cuckoos should pass through the island. The Cuckoo’s decline is not just UK centered, but seems universal and related to problems in its wintering areas in Africa.

Also singing well were Blackcap, Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler. On the pools were hidden but trilling Little Grebes and a single silent Tufted Duck, no doubt waiting for the emergence of its mate with ducklings. Weeks ago a couple of Greylags sat tight on island nests but today revealed the extent of their subterfuge when I counted a crèche of 26 young of various sizes that on closer inspection obviously came from 3 separate broods such were the differences in their proportions.



Out on the marsh a single Whimbrel looked out of place with Shelduck and Lapwings for company but no Curlew for comparison. I plodded on up to Pilling Water with marsh dwelling Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Redshanks for company, the oyks and shanks yet to produce young as normally they are a week or two later than the Lapwings.

I flushed a couple of Pied Wagtails from near Pilling Water, and a Grey Heron that exploded from the margins of the ditch, hidden from my view but obviously more alert than I could be.

There were more Lapwings and Oystercatchers on Hi-fly fields, some clearly sat on nests but with green shoots emerging and no further ploughing on the cards I think and hope there may be a little more wader success soon.


I found a couple of Black-tailed Godwit on the pool, and a Redshank, and then running around their gigantic feet a tiny excuse for a proper wader, a Little Stint. Trying not to disturb the birds but get at least a record shot I manoeuvred into a spot where I might get a picture. Against the light and into the pool reflections the pics aren’t perhaps too bad considering the amount of cropping. The adult bird was naturally much more wary than any juveniles encountered in August and September.

Little Stint

A very enjoyable couple of hours and spring is wonderful, but I wish the wind would drop and let us get ringing soon.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails