Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turned Over

The Infamous Five met up at Fleetwood this morning hoping to catch more Turnstones, but despite there being the usual couple of hundred about, we waited in vain for any to come in the catching area as most of them stayed roosting on the island of the Marine Lake. The few that came near the net proved reluctant to enter the catching area.

If there is one thing that ringing birds has taught me it is that birds are lot cleverer than we humans perhaps like to admit, and there's many a time when birds outwit our supposed superior intellect. So for the next Turnstone Time we may have to invoke Plan B when we have worked one out.

The Turnstone, as its name suggests, feeds mainly on rocky shorelines, searching for food by probing into cracks and crevices with its short, stubby bill. But here at Fleetwood they learnt many years ago to find food in a very different way. Here they wait for the locals to throw out food onto the grass for gulls and ducks then follow in the larger bird’s footsteps picking up whatever is on offer, often stale bread, fish and chips or the remains of a half-eaten burger.


Seumus adjusting his tension

Craig looking busy

On the lake were a few Red-breasted Mergansers, with a couple of Pied Wagtails and several Linnets whizzing about. After being turned over by the Turnstones the thought of calling in at Poo Corner to see a Ring-necked Duck didn’t inspire me much so with the sky brightening I journeyed to Out Rawcliffe for a while.

Red=breasted Merganser

An entertaining couple of hours on the moss realised a few good counts but nothing out of the ordinary, except maybe the 120+ Fieldfare feeding in a wet field with a couple of hundred Starlings. In most years Fieldfares do turn up in early spring, even when they have been absent earlier in the winter as they were this time. Also feeding on the soggy, partly flooded fields were 85 Woodpigeon, 6 Stock Dove, 3 Curlew, 9 Shelduck, 3 Snipe and 180 Lapwing.

Passerines and others: 2 Kestrel, 70+ Chaffinch, 140 Linnet, 14 Yellowhammer and 3 Goldfinch.


As I drove off the moss at 4pm a Sparrowhawk was following the droves of Starlings towards a distant roost. I hope the hawk caught better than we did today.


Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

So nice to have turnstones close to you. They hardly turn up here where I live and definitely wouldn't come waiting for food from the locals.

Cardew Ellis said...

Thanks for reminding me what a Linnet looks like. I can see that I'll have to go up on the tops and find my own soonest.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Turnstones are such cool charachters Phil! That little Linnet...did I spell that correctly...is quite a little charmer...lovely image with the flower along side of it. I am having majoy blogger difficulty once again and am so frustrated right now, as well as exhausted from trying to get the thing to work...I give up~

Russell said...

Great portrait of the Linnet. Love the plant he's posing on too.

Paco Sales said...

Nunca había escuchado lo del come piedras, es por ello, que es un placer visitar tu blog e ir aprendiendo. Un abrazo Phil

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Phil! I love the Turnstone and I am looking forward to seeing the shorebirds moving back in for the summer. Your Linnet shot is beautiful. Interesting that the birds might be catching on to you and the banders.

Chris said...

Hi Phil,
Nice to see the kind of gear you used to catch our friends ;-) And very nice merganser picture, I love it. I'm eager to see them around again ;-)

Madibirder said...

Interesting to see the gear that you use. Wonderful photos as usual Phil.

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