Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Swallows, Year Round Peregrine

 Yesterday was a day off birding but grandparenting instead, later in the day joining all the other Nans and Granddads waiting outside the school gates. Frank said they had negotiated time off for good behaviour and were off to warm and sunny Portugal this week where they hope to see White-rumped Swift and Black-shouldered Kite – Good luck Frank. 

In this morning’s cold north-easterly wind the nearest I could get to those two exotica was a single Peregrine and 12 more spring Swallows heading north in ones and twos. I’d gone to Pilling equipped with spring traps and meal worms, hoping for more Wheatears but I saw none in place of those here a few days ago. From Lane Ends to Pilling Water and in pretty cool unspring like weather I counted 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Kestrel, 2 Little Grebe, 70 Shelduck, 300 Pink-footed Geese, 12 Greylag Goose, 3 Little Egret, 4 Linnet and 6 Meadow Pipit.

I was watching 8 or 9 Skylarks, sorting out territories near Fluke Hall when the Peregrine sailed over but heading out to the marsh. The Lapwings and Oystercatchers on the stubble field didn’t seem to react; neither did the Skylarks, perhaps because the Peregrine wasn’t in true hunting mode but as it passed by glanced over at me sat on the stile by the gatepost. 



The Skylarks did a lot of chasing each other about with odd ones rising up to sing while others stayed on the ground. With the grassy areas yet to sprout any real growth it’s very unlikely the Skylarks have started nest building just yet. 


Skylark Nest

Along Fluke Hall Lane and Backsands Lane I counted 16 Lapwings and 10 Oystercatchers but sad to report that I saw more Carrion Crows than I did waders, the corvids outnumbering the Lapwings and Oystercatchers by two to one. Maybe one or two pairs of Lapwings and Oystercatchers will succeed but the odds are clearly stacked against them. Redshank numbers are similarly low with one or two pairs displaying out on the marsh but none on the inner fields. 


Nothing much else to report apart from a Robin carrying food near Fluke Hall where I saw 50+ Woodpigeon still flocking, 4 Stock Dove and 3 singleton Swallows heading east. 


Dave said...

Great post and lovely Perigrine shots - never easy without a clear blue sky.


kirstallcreatures said...

Super shots of the peregrine

Kay L. Davies said...

Super peregrine shots, Phil, especially the one where he's looking at you.
The skylark is just too cute, and the redshank is looking very elegant.
I noticed several birds across the street yesterday but couldn't see them clearly. Finally decided they were probably crows, and my husband agreed, saying he'd seen some crows in our yard, too.

Michael said...

love the skylark pic

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a gorgeous hawk! Beautiful spot. Grandparenting is one pretty good excuse to not go birding.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I bet you thought I took you of my follow list and broke up with you ; } hahaha!!
I am glad to hear you fulfilling your grand parenting is nice when we have grandchildren because you can send them home after spoiling them!! ; ]
The Peregrine Falcon is a bird I have not seen yet...but came close ..someday!!
Good photos of the P.F....and is it right to trick those poor birds with those meal worms sounds rather wimpy to!!
I have a Mourning Dove nesting in the cedar tree next to the house..2 eggs so far..way to early for some reason!! We are about 2to3 weeks ahead on everything here ..sure hope it doesn't turn bad ...we had 10 inches of snow a few years back the end of April!!
Well take care, and if you get bored my back porch needs painting ..still!! : }}
Your bestest friend

Geoff Gradwell said...

excellent peregrine images and t'others too.

Stewart M said...

The old Pelerines are great birds! They can cause havoc for us sometimes, when we are trying to organise waders in front of the net.

For some reason, waders seem a little worried when BOP's are about!!

Stewart M - Australia

PS: You are correct, in big flocks the corellas can do some damage.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Don't you wonder just what that Peregrine was thinking, as he gazed down upon you with that big shinny lens pointed in his direction... I am always thinking, sorry for the glare chaps.
I feel a bit sorry for the species of birds that have ground nests, it must be very difficult to raise a clutch with predators about.
I know you had to have enjoyed your time with the grandchildren. Happy Thursday Phil~

Monica said...

Great shots of the Perigrine, but I love the Skylark! Wonderful header!
Have a nice day:)

thefisherlady said...

what a wonder to come by here and hear and see all this beauty... marvelous that while others are caught at work or play computer games we can all be out and about the wilds seeking its beauty and being so filled!
Thanks for sharing eyes... I so enjoyed the visit!
You said 'Land's End'... Northern Scotland?

Russell said...

Dashing photographs of the peregrine. Very good work!! The songlark and the redshank are splendid portraits too. I'd be over the moon with that bit of birding.

Christian said...

Hi Phil

Superb photographs of the Peregrine in flight. It's such a thrill to see those birds. Didn't know a Skylark nested like that.

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