Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wall To Wall Whoopers

I grabbed a couple of hours birding at Pilling today, between lunchtime and with winter solstice imminent, the rapidly failing light of 3pm. So, longer days soon which can't arrive quickly enough for me.

At an unusually peaceful Lane Ends I got on to the winter Kingfisher sat in the waterside trees, but it quickly saw me and flew low to the opposite side of the pool where there are spots to sit and watch the water. A UK Kingfisher is one of the shiest birds imaginable, almost impossible to approach, with the slightest human movement enough to send them darting low over the water to a safer distance away and preferably out of sight. In Egypt I couldn’t believe how confiding the local Kingfishers were in comparison to our UK birds.


Not a lot on the pools save for a pair of Goldeneye and the usual Mallards, but no Tufted Duck today.


Scattered on the marsh between Lane Ends and Pilling Water I estimated 4000 Pink-footed Geese, and 900+ Shelduck, the main concentrations of both being on the tideline out from Broadfleet. Raptors along here were 1 Merlin, 1 Kestrel and 1 Peregrine, but very few passerines, 1 Pied Wagtail and 3 Skylark, but 4 Little Egret.

I got near Swan Lake just before the Hi-Fly guys on the quad arrived for an afternoon shift, emptying bags of wheat onto the flooded stubble. I had a phenomenal count of Whooper Swans at circa 600, just managing the rough count before the guys turned into the track and flushed the birds out to the marsh. I guess the swans will be back tonight and tomorrow for the free nosh. When the guys got to their pools just 110 Teal and a single Snipe came off.

Whooper Swan

It was a quiet couple hours, but nice to be out for a change.


grammie g said...

Hey Phil..Great one of the kingfisher..some of the blogs I follow those guys complain about trying to get close enough for a decent shot..smarty you!
So glad you got out, and got a Goldeneye to show us.. beautiful bird !!
Those Swans make up are quite the bunch..well a lot more than a bunch ...I didn't know you had that many finger's Phil!!
Well Santa will come soon and bring you some nice weather..I have already contacted him about you being all shut in ; }
Have a good few days before the big day while you can...are the grandchildren coming over for Christmas ; }

Kay L. Davies said...

Super photos, though, Phil.
Just today, at lunch, my husband asked a local birder friend if he might accompany him sometimes. I just listened quietly, instead of jumping up and down and saying "Oh, do go, oh yes.
I'm quite looking forward to the eventual results, although I don't expect anything immediately. I've been having trouble with my eyesight lately, so didn't ask if I could go, too.

Russell said...

Superb portrait of the UK kingfisher and unimaginable counts on the geese on swans. The Goldeneye pic is also superb. I'm just too delicate to go birding this winter.

news said...

Hi Phil: Nice shot of the Whoopers in winter sunshine now the solstice is over begining slowly lenghen the days.All the best JWB.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

From the Whooper Swans, the Kingfisher and the Goldeneyes, all very beautiful set of images Phil! Have a wondeful day and I too am sooo looking for longer days that shall lie ahead~

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