Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter Birding

It was winter chores and winter birds today with time for a quick update to the blog in between grandparent duties. 

Although we’ve had no snow out here near the coast there remain roads blocked not too many miles away in the hills inland, so while there’s no problem getting about, spring is still a way off. Mid-April used to be “Swallow Day” and it looks like this year might well revert to that rule of thumb. 

If the wind would drop I would have an interesting little catch of birds at the feeding station out on the moss where the selection and number of birds remains much the same. This morning when I went to top up the food supply there were still 6+ Brambling, 8 Chaffinch, 15+ Reed Bunting and 8 Goldfinch, not forgetting 3 or 4 Blackbirds which also spend time searching through the seed on the ground. 


There are still Fieldfares about, a sure sign that winter is not quite over with 40+ today, feeding with c150 Starlings in a nearby stubble field. Beyond those and in the direction of Lancaster Lane I could see separate flocks of 140 Curlew and 60+ Golden Plover, some of the plovers in optimistic summer plumage. 


Last week I mentioned the beautiful bubbling trill of the Curlew, a call specially related to courtship but which is sometimes heard at other times of year. The Curlew actually gets its name from the more familiar loud curloo-oo, a sound which epitomises the atmosphere of the lonely marshes and tidal landscapes where the bird is found.

So for all readers but also for Wally in US who asked about “bubbling”, close your eyes, turn up the volume, picture the wilderness, listen to the magic of a Curlew and then dream of warmer weather.

This post is linking to Stewart's Photo Gallery.


Derby Tup said...

The bubbling call of the curlew is also associated with the dales in spring / early summer. We saw maybe forty to fifty birds (and a dozen oystercatchers) in Wharfedale over the weekend. Plus a bonus ring ouzel. We can hear curlew through the bedroom window sometimes a bit later in the year than now :-)

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

The flying curlew is spectacular!

TexWisGirl said...

love the fieldfare! the curlew sounds wonderful!

Findlay Wilde said...

I really, really like that flying Curlew picture. From Findlay

mick said...

The in-flight Curlew is wonderful and very interesting to hear the "bubbling" call which is different from the call from the species that comes down here.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Hello Phil,buenas capturas.Un abrazo

Ken Schneider said...

I haven't seen a curlew in recent years. As a kid I remember seeing an odd robin that I assumed was an immature, but it was springtime and unlike any other. Only later I learned about the Fieldfare, and I have that nagging feeling that maybe my "robin" was a wanderer from afar.

Wally Jones said...

Thank you so much, Phil!
I saw my first Long-billed Curlew earlier this year. That, along with your superb Curlew photo, was just perfect for listening to the "bubbling"!

Hope your winter wanes soon!

Carole M. said...

lovely post and I especially loved the curlew and the audio; thanks for all

HansHB said...

Nice serie of photos!
Well done!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I didn't close my eyes, and I could see my dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, and it still sounded absolutely fabulous, Makes me long for some spring weather !!
Really like that Curlew shot!!
Now you take real good of those
Grand kids...don't let them tie you to a tree or caught you in a net and try to get a ring on your leg!! ; )

eileeninmd said...

Cool, I love the sounds of the Curlew. Now, I need to see one. Love the Fieldfare and your Curlew photos. Happy Birding, Phil!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great birding day and the flight shot of the curlew is magnificent.

Stewart M said...

I do like Fieldfares - and the call of the curlew will always say "uplands" to me - oh well!

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

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Chris said...

Hi Phil,
The spring for us is associated with the arrival of the golden plover... he is THE one, when you see it, you know better days are coming... Still not there in good amount thought, only few individuals have been spotted. Nice flight capture of the curlew...

Gary said...

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

DeniseinVA said...

Thanks for sharing the link, their sound is delightful to listen to. Wonderful photos!

Marie said...

Just wonderful! great shots and great info!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh how wondrous the voice and the beauty of this bird the Curlew...NICE Phil~

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