Monday, November 19, 2012

A Day Too Late?

Time just flies for us retired folk. Believe it or not, there just aren’t enough days in the week to do the domestic essentials, fit in a spot of bird watching, bird ringing or photography, never mind to then blog the blog. So that’s the excuse for Sunday’s news appearing today, plus the fact that today is rain and yesterday was fine. Confused? Wait until you’re my age. 

Sunday was a mossy day, Stalmine, Pilling, Winmarleigh and then Rawcliffe mosses where many times the four do meet, especially when multitudes of Woodpigeons blacken the combined skies of all. After a couple of hours surveying the moss roads and taking in the spectacular, roaming flocks I revised Thursday’s count upwards to one of 18,000/20,000 Woodpigeons. I realise that is one hell of a tally so welcome comparison counts from the many bird watchers currently travelling along or standing about the same moss roads. 

At Union/Lancaster Lane junction was a Barn Owl, sitting, watching but also hunting while keeping a distance from prying eyes, as overhead small gangs of Whooper Swans fresh from their night time roost flew back and forth in search of spots to feed. 

Barn Owl

Whooper Swan

Along Lancaster Road were 3 Kestrels, one pair together in a single hawthorn tree, so obviously the closely bonded pair of recent days. Also, 30+ Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 20+ Blackbird, 20 Chaffinch, 2 Yellowhammer, 14 Tree Sparrow, and 185 Lapwing. A Brown Rat crossed the road ahead of the car - maybe there’s a plague of rats, voles and mice this year in the unkempt fields of the wet summer which might explain the number of raptors making late hay out here? 

I spent so much time watching the owl and the hordes of Woodpigeons that it was almost 1030 when I arrived on Rawcliffe Moss. So followed a quick scoot around with 1 Kestrel, 2 Redwing, 1 Tawny Owl, 6 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 15 Corn Bunting, 40+ Chaffinch, 4 Reed Bunting and 15 Tree Sparrows, one of the latter rapidly departing a nest box as the car approached. To the east 3 Roe Deer waded shoulder deep through the abandoned wheat crop, the animal's heads just visible. 

Roe Deer

The Corn Buntings were the first seen for a while. It begs the question: where do the Corn Buntings that winter very locally actually originate from, when following the breeding season the few pairs which raise families then disappear into thin air until the winter? No one seems qualified to provide an answer about such a difficult species to monitor through the normal methods of survey or ringing. It’s a gap in knowledge which leaves yet another unsolved mystery about a threatened species. The iconic but shy Corn Bunting may have passed the point of no return, with the result that we are too late to save it from local if not national extinction. Let’s hope not. 

Corn Bunting

Corn Bunting

P.S. There’s an interesting comment from Chris in Tuscon, Arizona on Saturday's post about  WaxwingsYou are not the only one: They're here as well and I can't seem to find the darn Waxwings. BUT that will all change once our palm trees start producing fruit. Then they get drunk and fly all over the place. It's funny and dangerous at the same time.” To a Waxwing all that fermenting red fruit must combine the taste and effect of a glass or two of red wine. I’ll drink to that. 

More from Another Bird Blog soon. In the meantime keep blogging and birding. This week I'm linking to I'd Rather be Birding and to Paying Ready Attention Gallery


Choy Wai Mun said...

I just love the owl in flight image, Phil.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...How time passes so quickly is beyond me !! It's a tough life you have in retirement,but someone has to do it, and it might as well be you!!
I think you could have multiplied wrong on that woodpigeon count...maybe to many 0's!: )
I just love your Barn Owl. I have never seen one..maybe a need to do some barn visiting! ; )
So Corn Bunting's in thin air hmmm..that is odd, but interesting!!
I always wonder about House Swallows they come in May..nest..raise there young and are gone..I may have to find an answer for that!
Chris at nature photos up there in Iceland has had a great time photographing Bohemian Waxwings, maybe you should plan a trip, or better still I will let you know when they come here ; ) "tease"!!
I posted Pine Siskins just what you like "birds"!! : )
Your teasing friend over the pond

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Awesome, incredible shot of the barn owl! Love all your shots, but that one stands out for me. :)

Anonymous said...

A wonderful series of birds shots here, Phil. I especially liked the Barn Owl awesome capture!

Gary Jones said...

crackig shot of the Barn Owl Phil, and a great post. Just posted some more Waxwing pics...sorry!!

Rohrerbot said...

That Barn Owl is awesome. We were tracking some owl the other night. Not sure if it was a Barn or Great Horned but it sounded scary:) I have to go back to the area and find out if it's getting ready to nest.

The Corn Bunting has such an unusual head!

As for time. I'm a tad frightened myself. I don't know where it all goes. I have to do chores. Have to do them. But there never seems enough time to do it all. And I blame birding on it:) But I will say this....if you knew some retired people like my dad, for example, you'd be glad that you run out of time. I wish he'd find an active hobby that got him excited. Oh well.....keeping fighting the battle. Love your pics and fun. The Barn Owl is one of my favorites.

Carole M. said...

your barn own snapshot bought me in; just beautiful

Isidro Ortiz said...

Hello Phil,buenas capturas,la de la Lechuza comun es fantastica.Un abrazo

Stewart M said...

Great pictures - I'm still trying to add Barn Owl to my Australian list! They seen very hard to track down!

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M - Melbourne

eileeninmd said...

I wish I was retired, so I could do more birding during the week. Love the barn owl shot and the swan is awesome. Great shots! happy birding Phil!

Stewart M said...

Hi Phil - just looked it up the "Little Green" and "Green" are the same species.


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm not sure that I've seen that many birds in my (long) life! Wow. Thanks for sharing ..wish I could be in a birding group led by you

Ken Schneider said...

I feel your pain! Retirement can be a busy time. Love the owl in flight. I still have not gotten a decent shot of a Barn Owl.

TexWisGirl said...

love that owl in flight. laughing at drunken waxwings. poor things.

Mama Zen said...

That shot of the barn owl is breathtaking!

mick said...

Great in-flight photos - especially the barn owl and the corn bunting is a beautiful bird.

Gary said...

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

Adam Tilt said...

You're making me jealous with talk of retirement. Fantastic photos.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Owls, deers, swans and Buntings all so very wonderful and I am so glad that I had the time to play a little catch up with my blogging friends after my 12 1/2 hour long day in the big city yesterday...a child is born;')~

Brian King said...

Gorgeous! I love the barn owl shot! That is fantastic!

i stora drag said...

Lovely, the barn owl! Looks a bit crazy to me, but I've never seen one in my whole life! :)
Greetings Pia

Wally Jones said...

Another fantastic report and equally wonderful images. Thank you! It seems owls are real crowd pleasers! I hear them, I chase them, I sit and wait for them - very few results! I must be doing it wrong.

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