Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Whole Shebang

There was a bit of everything today, as might be expected after the wind and rain of recent days. Even well into Morecambe Bay at Lane Ends there were a few wind-blown seabirds, together with a good selection of waders and wildfowl, an unexpected owl and good views of an elusive mammal.

The morning started quiet enough at Lane Ends where a look on the pools didn’t produce stranded phalaropes or gulls, just 2 Little Grebe and a gang of Swallows feeding low over the pools and in the lee of the windswept trees. Many of the Swallows were also headed west, into the still strong westerly: during the next couple of hours I counted 80/100 flying steadily west. Just here I also found 6 Wheatears on the marsh, another migrant blown in from the west by the constant winds of the past week.

The tide wasn’t due for an hour or more so I walked to Fluke and Worm Pool then back to Pilling Water where I sat for a while. The Green Sandpiper of recent weeks was tucked into the edge of the pool again, with another 4 Wheatears along the wall in their usual spot, and 40 Goldfinch, 12 Linnet and a patrolling Kestrel. I’d seen a Stoat amongst the rocks too, and as I watched to see where the Stoat might pop up, a Wheatear landed on the rock furthest away. So I took pictures of both, although the Stoat wasn’t for allowing a full frame, and the Wheatear didn’t hang around just to finish up a as Stoat’s breakfast.




By now the tide was just about beginning to run, allowing a count of 6 Little Egret and 2 Grey Heron, with many Shelduck and Curlew arriving from the west. The Shelduck count came to 280 birds, a much higher count than recent ones, with the 170 Curlews about par.

Redshanks have been scarce in recent weeks and it is somewhat strange to report today’s 5 as a high count, but there was a single overflying Spotted Redshank that I tried to capture. More waders arrived with the tide, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Grey Plover, 1400 Knot, 35 Golden Plover, but only 18 Lapwing.

Spotted Redshank

Golden Plover

Perhaps the strangest sighting of the morning came at midday when calling Starlings alerted me to a Barn Owl flying over the rough pasture adjacent to the wildfowler’s pools. Maybe the rough weather of the past week stopped the owl from feeding as much as it should and it was simply taking advantage of a spot of sunshine? I walked back to Lane Ends, stopping here and there to count the wildfowl, 70 Pintail, 190 Teal, 40 Wigeon, 18 Cormorant and 2 Great-crested Grebe.


The well up tide revealed a few sea birds, 4 Gannet, 1 Sandwich Tern and a distant "Bonxie", a Great Skua chasing down a few gulls towards distant Cockerham.

Great Skua

So ended an eventful and bird filled morning.


lp.are.the.best said...

The Stoat is so cute....

Seasons said...

Hi Phil, so the weather isn't letting up just yet. But you do have some excellent results for the day. Lovely pictures of the sly Stoat, and special shots of the Spotted Redshank and Golden Plovers. Can't argue with the numbers of bird sightings either. Thanks.

Kat said...

So many wonderful critters in one trip - well spotted! I love the stoat, especially the portratits you got of him/her.

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful photos, Phil. The look on the cormorant's face is priceless, and the stoat is a cheeky thing, isn't it?
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Chris said...

ok now you are getting our golden plovers ;-) I went to the beach to see groups of them tonight, but nothing was there, not even a wheatear!!! But the stoat, mate, Iðd love to see that! Well done on these nice pictures of it!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil..I sure am glad to see you had rocks in your wellies..you did didn't you ??
Well your still with us anyway ; }

That's a cute little bugger that Stoat!!
Love the face on the Cormorant..here looking at ya!

See ya around..

Paco Sales said...

Que belleza de fotos Phil, el armiño es precioso y con una elegante pose. Genial trabajo. Recibe un abrazo

Christian said...

What a fantastic species count on what must have been a brilliant day. I think the stoat images are superb and I am very envious of them! The composition of the one looking out from the rocks has a great natural frame.

Errol said...

Flippin' heck! I'll have to get down to the coast! Can I book in for next autumn??

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