Thursday, November 10, 2011

Can It Be Magic?

There’s always excitement at Knott End, but not always in the birding line. This morning three police cars arrived to deal with a stolen van, doors left-open and abandoned on the beach; so much for my quiet walk along the esplanade when half the village turned out to see what all the fuss was about. So I clocked the 18 Eider, 4 Pied Wagtail, 8 Turnstone and the 1500+ Oystercatcher then headed off to Pilling for a walk.

Lane Ends turned up 4 Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Jay, 2 Meadow Pipits and three falcons in the similar but different shapes of Peregrine, Kestrel and Merlin. The Peregrine was dashing over the edge of the marsh scattering everything in sight, including 1500+ Lapwings while the Kestrel patrolled the embankment without causing so much as a stir.

Normally I see a Merlin in high speed aerobatic pursuit of prey, ducking and diving, dashing about trying to catch small passerines or waders, but the one I watched today spent a long time fence hopping and then ground feeding by walking about searching for food. If this is the same Merlin which has been around Lane Ends for a week or two there aren’t many small passerines about for a hungry soul at the moment, but Merlins are known to consume insect prey, for instance beetles and moths, although they need a lot in numbers as substitute for the weight of a single small bird. As they always are, the Merlin was pretty distant and the picture well cropped, but I think it’s a juvenile female if that’s relevant.


In the car park I chatted to a couple of wildfowlers who also thought that 15,000 Pink-footed Geese was a near enough estimate for recent morning and evening gatherings, but unlike me they didn’t hear the Siskin that flew over - It’s very worrying when people with guns can’t identify birds. A single Jay and several Blackbirds were the only additions to my Lane Ends list.


Up to Pilling Water where I added 3 more Little Egret and 3 Grey Heron, 30 Whooper Swan, 22 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 4 Linnet, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Skylark. As I remarked, not many passerines about today, so that poor little Merlin needs to pull something out of the hat.



Kay L. Davies said...

People with guns are very worrying anywhere, Phillip. Canada's present federal government believes, as do Americans, in the "right to bear arms" so it has cancelled the gun registry. Now Canadian criminals can have unregistered automatic weapons.
To counteract this piece of insanity? The federal government is building more prisons.
Sorry to get all political in your bird blog. It was either that or tell you again why I dislike Merlins. Oh well, I hope your poor little fella got lots of insects.
The siskin is so cute. I'd hate to find its head, wings, tail and feet at the bottom of the post where the Merlin is sitting!
I know, it is nature's way. When I get to England, I'll visit Knott End and Pilling so you can take me birding and show me the good side of the Merlin Falcon, how's that?
— K

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I know all about police with guns and not identifying the right "house"..; }
So you stole a vehicle and got caught "huh" your car broke down??
That Siskin is a cutie..a whole flock huh!!

You got to watch out for gun toting people!
Be careful ouit there at the Pillings

Millhouse Photography said...

What a fantastic place Knott End is! I need to get up there. Brilliant account today Phil, and that Merlin is beautiful. What a bird.

Russell Jenkins said...

She does look to bne a young merlin. I hope she does find enough food. Maybe she is insect hunting due to the lack of passerines. Bit of a worry when they're that young.

Paco Sales said...

Amigo Phil, es normal que la policía vaya con armas de fuego, yo mismo porto arma en mi trabajo diario, lo preocupante es que lleven armas los criminales que hacen un uso indebido y para cometer fechorías. Bueno centrándome en tu trabajo, la foto que encuentro preciosa es la del Chamariz, que ave tan bella es genial. Desearte que tengas un buen día y un abrazo amigo mío

La sonrisa de Hiperion said...

Genial como siempre.

Saludos y un abrazo.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow, now that is coincidental...we went to get some coffee at Starbucks yesterday and there were a few police vehicles with guns drawn and they went to this one car already parcked and came back with a plastic bag with something in it. The husby said probably drugs...oh my. As long as those guns are not pointed in our direction!
The images are so lovely Phil. I think the little Siskin is just way too cute!!!

Stuart Price said...

Guns, stolen vans..............were you birding in Moss Side or Knott End?

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