Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Pilling

A change of tactics today meant I washed a few weeks’ worth of muck from the car in the morning and left a walk until the afternoon; and I know I work Pilling close to death but it’s still the local patch that holds the ever present optimism for new discoveries. Today I split most of my precious few hours between watching a newly arrived Wheatear and observing the Skylarks and their territories.

The first find was not a disappointment, a very juvenile, scaly Wheatear, fresh in from goodness knows where as it sat on a post below the sea wall. It took thirty minutes of gentle persuasion before it finally saw the meal worm in the spring trap, then bingo, I took a closer look. With a wing length of 99mm and more growth to come in the next few weeks the bird was almost certainly a male, but could be of either the nominate race Oenanthe oenanthe, or the Greenland race O.o. leucorhoa.


Wheatear - juvenile

The area around Pilling Water was much the same as recent days, 40 Linnet, 18 Greenfinch, 8 Goldfinch and 4 Meadow Pipit, with 4 Common Sandpiper and 3 Grey Heron along the outflow. It was good to see the young Kestrels have finally emerged from the Damside nest box, with 3 birds together, alternating between hunting the silage fields, fence hopping below the sea wall and exploring the outer marsh.

Kestrel - juvenile

The next discovery was another Skylark nest to add to the one yesterday. This latest nest was just a couple of yards from the still visible remains of a previous nest where I ringed the chicks on 7th June, so this new one is almost certainly a second brood from the same parents. Today’s nest was at a handy stage whereby the three youngsters were an ideal size to ring, feathers just emerging from their sheaths and legs fully formed. Because of a Skylark’s almost completely open nesting situation, only a few leaves of vegetation overhanging the nest, the straw coloured downy growth of motionless chicks makes perfect camouflage against overhead predators.

I also checked out yesterday’s Skylark nest but from a distance, and found the parents still visiting with food, so all should be OK for more Skylark ringing tomorrow and yet another Pilling visit.

Skylark nest

Skylark chick


Errol said...

Can't beat patch work, can you, Phil? I think it's the grist of birding and enjoy it as much as you obviously do. Keep it coming - and the photos!

Pete Woodruff said...

It's not possible to visit a 'patch' too often....but you already know that don't you Phil.

missing moments said...

Great photos! That last little guy is, well ... little!

Seasons said...

Phil, I try to make every effort to keep up with your posts. I like reading the narrative, and days I am rushed, then looking at those pictures is always a pleasure. Thank you.

Magia da Inês said...

♥ •˚。
Passei para conhecer o seu blog.
Estou encantada com suas fotos... você consegue segurar na mão pássaros que vivem na natureza.
Beijinhos, querido.
♥ •˚。
°° 。♥。
●/ ♥•˚。˚
/ \ 。˚。♥

David Riewe said...

Just a quick note to say I am enjoying all these photos, I am glad you put up "Another Bird Blog" :-)

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