Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Still Balmy

Driving up to Pilling this morning I listened to a radio programme where the presenters discussed how this November is set to be the warmest on record. So until the UK sits receives cooler air from the east or north, birding will stay a little quiet with some species in low numbers and yet others apparently absent altogether.

That synopsis is my justification for a quiet couple of hours with amazingly similar notebook entries to recent days, together with an absence of new sightings or additional species. However it was an agreeable morning, and for the record here are the sightings.

Ridge Farm and Fluke Hall Lane: 45 Linnet, 8 Greenfinch, 9 Reed Bunting, 14 Blackbird, 2 Little Egret, 2 Snipe, 8 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit, 12 Tree Sparrow, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Treecreeper, 400+ Jackdaw, 300+ Woodpigeon and a herd of 32 Whooper Swan. On the drive from Lambs Lane, I’d already counted 15/20 Blackbirds, so although there are plenty of those around, there are no Redwings or Fieldfares to be found. Even if the coloured thrushes turn up now there is also a distinct lack of hawthorn berries for them to feed on, and with the benefit of hindsight 2011 has not been a very berry year.

Whooper Swan

Reed Bunting

Tree Sparrow

Lane Ends/Pilling Water: A Stoat ran across the road stayed hidden under the hawthorns when I stopped the car, but as I parked up for a few minutes waiting for the animal to show I spotted the regular Merlin crossing Backsands Lane then perching up on the inner embankment. Looking from the car park the Peregrine was 500 yards out, immobile on the same bit of marsh it has occupied all week, likewise 6 Little Egrets walking in and out of the familiar tidal channels. A walk to Pilling Water revealed just 2 Skylarks and the regular Kestrel.

At Pilling Water the Hi-fly bloke bemoaned the lack of wildfowl, with just 150 Teal and a handful of Pintail on their pools, plus his one and only Woodcock sighting of the autumn. As we chatted he related how there may have been up to 30,000 Pink-footed Geese in recent times, an extraordinary number if correct, but counting or possibly duplicating restless geese can be a more inexact science than counting birds that pass by just once. My count today of the many overhead skeins of geese heading in various directions, in and out of the marsh, and beyond the tide line was in comparison a miserable 3,500.

He told me how last winter during the snow, frost and days of 600 Teal he saw a Bittern, stood bolt upright trying to merge into the background of maize as the loaded quad chugged past. “Not much chance of a Bittern or more wildfowl just yet” we agreed, as we had a good old moan about the British weather.

The wind should drop overnight; let’s hope there are a few birds at the ringing sites.


Paco Sales said...

Si no hay nuevos avistamientos y la mañana es agradable, pues a disfrutar de ella Phil, un abrazo para ti amigo

Humberto Dib said...

Great blog, Phil!
I'm staying here, cheers from Argentina.

Millhouse Photography said...

Belting Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrow shots Phil. I've been noticing differences this November to last. One of the local Barn Owls isn't bothering coming out in the late daytime to hunt. Perhaps relating to the more favourable conditions for voles, leading to a greater number of prey items? What do you think?

Phil Slade said...

I'm sure you're right Christian. When it's mildweather owls are able to find food much more easily than during frost aand snow.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

30,000 Pink Footed Gese, my oh my, that is a bunch of those beauties.
The Reed Bunting...what a sweetheart, you showed it off very well.
A very nice entry and hmmm kind of would be nice to have warmer than usual winters, yet, if you cannot get your numbers with the birds not showing...what a mix of feel there~

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