Saturday, April 6, 2013

There’s A Surprise

Yes I know the best birders get up early to catch the worm but sometimes a lie-in just seems a good option, especially after a run of icy mornings with not much doing. So waiting until lunch time I set off for Pilling hoping to see a freshly arrived Wheatear, perhaps hear a Chiffchaff, or watch a Sand Martin or Swallow hurrying north - anything really which might indicate the arrival of Spring. 

Not much at Lane Ends itself, just a pair of Canada Geese and a pair of Greylags seeing who could make the most noise above the trilling of the Little Grebe pair on the smaller west pool. The morning must have warmed up. I disturbed a Peacock Butterfly from the grass and it rested on the path momentarily before flying off; my first butterfly of the year before my first Wheatear or Swallow - now there was a surprise. 

Little Grebe

European Peacock 

All the bird action seemed to be nearer Pilling Water with several Meadow Pipits, leftovers from the morning rush hour I’d perhaps missed. There was no sign of any Wheatears ready for the pepper pot of meal worms stashed in the camera bag. The pools proved quite rewarding with singles of both Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, two species which could be the most unapproachable bird species on the planet, bettered only by our Common Redshank. 

 Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank


There was a good selection of wildfowl too, refugees from the shooting season but still as wary as ever and giving a sporting chance of a picture when they flew about the pools expecting a volley of shots from guns not a camera. I counted 18 Teal, 8 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 4 Shelduck and just 2 Mallard. 


Teal and Pintail



On the marsh there are still 300+ Pink-footed Geese perhaps reluctant to head north without a following wind. More Shelduck too, another 40+. 

One singing Skylark, 1 Little Egret and a few more Meadow Pipits highlighted the stroll back to Lane Ends, otherwise little sign of true April. 

More news and surprises on Another Bird Blog soon. In the meantime take a look at Anni's Skimmers .


Wally Jones said...

And you made fun of my post with butterflies!
Of course, yours at least DOES have plenty of birds!
Very nice photos of all the creatures!
With the butterfly leading the way, Spring just HAS to 'round the corner for you.

I really like the ducks in flight.

HansHB said...

Great serie of photos!
Very good flight shot!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Whoosh Phil the first image of the Teal and Pintail in marvelous! The Peacock Butterfly is wonderful and does seem earlier than the weather you have had and the Little Grebe is also quite grand.

VioletSky said...

I dream of getting such a good shot of birds in flight.

Shey said...

WOW. Awesome shots, esp the birds in flight. Love the butterfly too. Wish I could see that butterfly in person.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Estupendas capturas Phil,la mariposa es preciosa.Un abrazo

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

That butterfly shot was a nice surprise. What a colorful little guy!

Gary said...

Awesome colours in this post. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Anni said...

Oh wow...that one lone teal with the shovelers in flight really stands out in the crowd....what a wonderful in flight set of images. I've never seen nor heard of the red/greenshanks...pretty they are. And that butterfly. What a beautifully marked piece of wonderment. Wow...that's about all I can say this

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