Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never A Dull Moment

The blog title today was nearly “Pinkies and Raptors” to sum up the highlights of a few hours birding at You Know Where, but after a superb morning’s birding filled with action and interest I renamed it to something more fitting. 

The “pinkies”, Pink-footed Geese seem to arrive from Iceland earlier each year. There were some flying over the house yesterday afternoon as I cut the lawn for the umpteenth time of this grass-growing-madly year, about 40 geese fairly high in the sky but calling to each other and heading towards South-West Lancashire and the area of Martin Mere. So I went to Pilling this morning expecting to encounter more pinkies and I wasn’t disappointed, even if it does mean that winter will soon be here. There were about 50 or so out on the distant tideline, with small groups taking off occasionally before climbing and heading south. 

Pink-footed Goose

Although the morning sun was up, the wind gusted quite strong from the south, and after seeing yesterday’s virtually zero migration in 100% cloud conditions, in contrast this morning there seemed to be a definite rush of birds and also lots of raptors about. Maybe the raptors had something to do with the release of several hundreds of non-native Red-legged Partridge in recent days, but I’m sure Hi-Fly won’t miss one or two partridge, which would still leave 998 on the loose but destined to be blasted from the sky pretty soon. 

Red-legged Partridge - gun fodder

I’d kicked off at Lane Ends with 5 roadside Wheatears, a hovering Kestrel and then Swallows and Meadow Pipits heading into the wind. I wasn’t particularly early at 0800 but the remnants of last night’s roost, 6 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons still congregated in the shelter and safety of the island. As I neared Pilling Water I counted 60 Lapwing and 4 Golden Plover on the wet fields and then from the stile watched as a Peregrine scattered them before it flew back over the wildfowler’s pools where 2 Grey Herons objected noisily to the falcon’s presence but left anyway. 

Grey Heron

There was a wary Greenshank feeding on the pool and I got distant views before 2 Buzzards appeared over the trees and scared it off into the less open ditches. The Buzzards saw me, keeping their distance until they flew off in the direction of Fluke Hall. 


Buzzard and Carrion Crow


From the gate I watched as 100+ Goldfinch fed along the wall and the edge of the plantation, with a couple of White Wagtails along the shore below. There were enormous numbers of Teal on the pools, roughly 650, with a dozen or so Pintail and I’d gone past looking for the Buzzards before the duck erupted from the ditches, flushed this time by a Marsh Harrier. The harrier kept a distance away, intent on searching the ground and ditches below and it’s another crappy record shot of a “Gold Top”. 

 Marsh Harrier

There’d been Meadow Pipits and Swallows heading east and by Fluke Hall I’d counted 50+ and 70+ respectively. With some grounded Meadow Pipits I found two newly arrived Wheatears here too, one of them posing for a picture, but when I’d finished the Kingfisher perched on the same rail but further back had by now sped off along the dyke. 


The morning wasn’t finished. As I headed back to Lane Ends a Merlin flashed by, low over the marsh and heading out to the tide, but then a few minutes later it or another followed the path of the earlier Peregrine by dashing across the field of Lapwings and scattered them into the sky, calling as they went. What with the Meadow Pipits, Wheatears, Merlin and the pinkies the morning had a definite Icelandic theme, and while they can keep the cold weather their birds are certainly OK. 

This week I’m linking Another Bird Blog with both id-rather-b-birdin and paying-ready-attention-gallery Australia .

It’s not a good birding forecast for the week ahead, but with luck there will be more posts soon from Another Bird Blog, so stay tuned. 


NatureFootstep said...

so many great birds. Love the partridge and the last Wheatear,

I hope they all stay clear of hunters.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas Phil,la de la Perdiz me gusta mucho.Un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, great post and wonderful photos. I love all the birds and the flight shots. The partridge is my favorite. Hopefully the grass cutting season will be over soon. Happy Birding!

Adam Jones said...

Great to have the Pink foots back, now for the winter Thrushes.
I lkie your Greenshank shot too.

El rincón de Ceditas said...

Que bellas capturas!!! me gusta sobre todo la perdiz, con su bonito colorido.
Un abrazo

Carole M. said...

your partridge stole the show for me Phil, also like that little wheatear

Andrew said...

Wonderful images Phil..

Kay L. Davies said...

I have raptors on my blog this weekend, too, believe it or not.
Your little wheatear is so cute, but by the time I got to its photo, I was so depressed about gun-fodder partridges, I almost clicked right off your blog.
I didn't, however, because I haven't been commenting much lately, due to one thing and another, including my husband having surgery in Calgary, and my being in a hotel with the dog so I could see him every day.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

That partridge is a work of art. Love the red decoration on his face and around his eyes. Wonderful shot of the wheatear, too. All are good though!

Rohrerbot said...

Holy cow, did you have some fun shots on this outing! Love the pink footed geese......I've never seen them in a pic before. I've heard about them but never seen a blogger picture. Very cool. Great finds!

Findlay Wilde said...

Wow, so many great birds.

Chris said...

Hi Phil,
We are now getting a huge storm from the North (you will get all our birds) and then Leslie is coming to our land on Wednesday... That's pretty dull for us, except that it might bring birds... Well done on your buzzard pictures!

Adam Tilt said...

Great post Phil. Really love the Partridge and Wheatear shots.

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Neil said...

Beautiful series.

TexWisGirl said...

that partridge rather steals the show! your raptors are beautiful, too, but i always love to see those soft-colored handsome wheatears.

mick said...

You certainly saw a great number and variety of birds. I'm sorry your colder weather is coming - BUT - that means our summer is nearly here - and that's good news for us!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

All lovelies,but the Partridge is glorious...gunfodder, so very, very heart breaking. i think that I would go out and net as many as possible and bring them to my backyard until the season had passed. hoping you are doing well Phil~

Anni said...

awwww, 'gun fodder'? Sad. But what a beautiful image of the partridge tho!!

A pink footed goose I've not heard of before. Learn something each time I come to pay you a visit!!!

Silent Silhouettes

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Always a delight to see photos of the Red-legged Partridge. What a stunning species.

Stewart M said...

Great post! It does look like a busy day - but it was the right kind of busy by the looks of it.

Thanks for linking to WBW - and sorry for late reply, I was in Dubai all last week and work rather took over my life!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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