Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Foxy Finish

Tuesday’s constant rain wasn’t an incentive for doing much, despite my not getting out much since the holiday. This morning dawned better, so it was good to get back to the local patch today where in a couple of hours I saw more species than in two weeks on Lanzarote, where although my birding was part-time, finding birds in early January proved difficult.

Not so at Pilling today where my walk turned into a good birding session even though the grey skies kept my camera in the bag. Apologies then for archive photos to illustrate today’s sightings.

On my way to Lane Ends I drove along Fluke Hall Lane to the din of 400+ Jackdaws feeding in the wet stubble field. Stopping to look closer all I could find extra were c15 Redshanks and a single Bewick’s Swan, although as I watched, 4 honking Whooper Swans flew over to the marsh. At Damside instead of the usual Lapwings were 65+ Oystercatchers and a few Redshanks probing the soft soil of the soggy fields.


I hadn’t done Lane Ends for weeks but I began to see familiar birds. Six European White-fronted Geese were in the field opposite Lane Ends, and when I checked the quiet pool the wintering Kingfisher flew low across the water to a safe distance but where partly obscured by the trees I could just make out the orange breast. Around the plantation about 15 Chaffinch fed, with at least 2 Dunnock in full song.


I didn’t find any Goldeneye today, just a single Tufted Duck amongst the Mallards. A look for wildfowl on the marsh revealed 4 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 320 Shelduck, and with the tide only partly in, 60+ Teal, 4 Wigeon and 6 Pintail. A walk to Pilling Water turned up 4 Little Egrets, with the sole concession to passerines 3 Skylarks, but give them a week or two and they will be in full song. I can’t wait.


Back at the car park I tried to count the distant Curlews and Lawings, a couple of hundred at least of each. It became more difficult when a pair of Red Fox appeared, when as one sat and watched, the other, which appeared to be the larger dog fox, circled the group of by now very alert waders. The fox splashed through the marsh as it unsuccessfully tried to approach the birds, before running off towards the sea wall. By now the second fox had also set off in pursuit of a meal, making a wide arc around the birds, before heading off towards the Cockerham end of the sea wall. Naturally, the foxes caused some panic among the waders but a number of them stayed put, perhaps far enough away from the foxes but from where they could remain watchful.

The foxy encounter was a great finish to a fine couple of hours and it’s good to be back birding on home soil. I’m ending with a picture of a species I saw today, but unfortunately not in such good light or so close, a Little Egret in the Lanzarote sun.

Little Egret


Seasons said...

Intrepid Phil, that's a delightful picture of the Kingfisher. Lanzarote is excellent, but now this is home ground.

eileeninmd said...

I am glad you had a great birding session. Awesome birds and photos. I especially love the Oystercatcher and your Kingfisher is beautiful. Cool fox experience, glad the waders were on alert. Great post.

Christian said...

My word - these photographers abroad have it easy don't they! Wall-to-wall blooomin sunshine...No, I joke of course - there is many an excellent photographer in warmer climes.

I've still never seen a fox! To see two together must be lovely.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

They are wonderful remembrances of images taken on brighter days, and the Little Egret looks just fine Phil. What a great encounter with those 2 foxes, must have been a thrill to observe, yet also a wee bit difficult...glad this time out they did not grab anything before you~

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...You didn't offer that Oystercatcher a napkin?? lol
Great one of the Kingfisher, but that Foxy ; } story is a good do well even if the weather stinks!!

Tammy said...

I sure wish we had Kingfishers like that one around here. Beautiful shot!

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

I love the song of the skylark, too. Still haven't heard any of them singing over here, but I think they will soon.

Paco Sales said...

Me encanta la foto de Martín pescador, es preciosa, un bello trabajo el tuyo amigo Phil, espero que el tiempo acompañe y consigas buenas capturas. Un abrazo para ti

Russell said...

Great photographs of all of them but I especially like the skylark posing on the top of the sign.

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