Monday, March 11, 2013

Snowy Scene

What a strange day for birding. There was a bitterly cold easterly wind as the BBC said there would be, but one minute I’m out in the sunshine enjoying a good bit of birding, and then two minutes later scurrying for the car to escape horizontal snow showers. Listening to the radio and waiting for the shower to stop it seems the maritime Fylde is surrounded by snow to the north, east and south once again. 

Sunny Showers

It's On The Way

Snow Shower - Out Rawcliffe

I was out on the moss again topping up the finches with niger and their regular seed mix, and not before time after being unable to get there yesterday. The birds are becoming quite astute, disappearing as soon as I approach the dropping point, and then by the time I stand there filling the feeders the place is devoid of birds. A stranger to the site would quickly abandon any birding there on the assumption there were no birds to see. After a while the finches return allowing a count of sorts as 10 Brambling, 15 Chaffinch, 6 Reed Bunting, 8 Goldfinch, 2 Yellowhammer, 4 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush. 

The Robin often waits near the car hoping for seed spill when the car stops and a gust of wind blows spilled seed from the open hatchback.


More interesting today was the number of birds on nearby stubble, most of them visible only when a Hen Harrier motored in from the west in fly-fast surprise rather than slow-quartering pounce mode. As it flew rapidly over the fields the harrier dislodged 120+ Skylark, 35 Corn Bunting, 18 Fieldfare, 60+ Woodpigeon and 90+ Starling from just one field as pandemonium took hold. With so much food in the offing and snow still blanketing the hills, no wonder the harrier is staying put for now. 

Hen Harrier

Snow in Bowland

The car window was down and as I drove further down the farm a female Sparrowhawk came off the roadside and then flew in and then out of the adjacent wood to escape attention. The hawk wasn’t unnoticed by the resident Tawny Owl though, the owl giving out a couple of territorial hoots to see off the Sparrowhawk. That  ploy worked well enough on the hawk but made me head into the wood instead. I found the Tawny in what looked like a well-used roosting spot of a low, ivy covered stump of a tree. No sign of its mate which could well be sat on eggs by now and keeping those snowflakes at bay. 

Tawny Owl

Other bits and bobs today - 1 Grey Heron, 1 Mistle Thrush, 30+ Tree Sparrow, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 1 Little Owl. 

Little Owl

More soon from Another Bird Blog, but just for a change of scene and a hint of what’s on the menu here next week, try Princeton University Press Blog .

In the meantime today I'm linking up with Stewart's photo gallery.


Russell Jenkins said...

Wonderful post full of birds and atmosphere, Phil. I think the harrier shot is superb. Very artistic but the subject's markings are signature. The robin looks confident and healthy as are those beautiful owls.

Choy Wai Mun said...

The Tawny Owl image is excellent, Phil.

Carole M. said...

wow those skies were amazing; but you also picked up super-duper birding photographs Phil; well done!

Isidro Ortiz said...

Estupendas capturas Phil.Un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

Cool capture of the sky and storm. Love the pretty robin and awesome shots of the owls. Great post, happy birding Phil!

Wally Jones said...

That's some pretty dramatic weather!
Very clever of you to hire the Harrier to flush birds from the stubble so you could get a count.
Wonderful photographs! Love those owls.

Mama Zen said...

The owls are so beautiful!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Enjoyed seeing the surrounding areas. Some beautiful scenery there. Nice shots of the robin and owl. You certainly have an abundance of birds!

Andrew said...

Wonderful images...

HansHB said...

Gorgeous photos! Nice to study your post!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

All your birds look happy and healthy...and they must be hearty to enjoy that weather. I love the hawks and robin and all of them, but it is the Little Owl that captures my heart.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...That sky looks like something out of Oz...I am surprised it didn't take of with you and your car!!
It is a thrill to see that you have some yucky weather like me! ; )
I love those Owls "gee-willies" I need to see one !
Keep your feet on the ground, don't end up like Dorothy, you might look strange in red shoes clicking you heels together to get back
home : )) Be safe!
Your old Pal

TexWisGirl said...

the owls are awesome! but so is that stormy sky!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh My Goodness Phil, what a spectacular catch you got showing the snow storm moving toward you...very neat. I have seen rain do that, but never snow.
Those Owls...I just showed the husby and he does he get them in daylight, and I said, he just does, always does;')
Love your Robin. Ours do not eat seed, at least on our property...maybe other places~

mick said...

Great bird photos and the scenic ones are fascinating. After looking at them and reading your description of the weather I am glad I only have rain (and wind) to contend with!

Kay L. Davies said...

We didn't see many birds in Spain and Italy, Phil, not counting pigeons in St. Mark's Square, Venice, but of the few we did see and were able to photograph, we said, "One to send to Phil for identification."
My husband took so many photos, however, that I still don't have all of them on my computer, but I'll be sending you an e-mail soon.
Meanwhile, your weather looks dreadful, and your robin looks as sweet as can be.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...Wow I guess you don't know about the "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" a story book from the early 1900, made into a movie in 1939!
I bet you will remember Dorthy, the Lion and the Tin Man!! ; )
Sorry old buddy about the red shoes
LOL ; }

Gary said...

Nice weather captures!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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