Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Not Life Or Death

Conder Green was the destination this morning, where a gentle walk and a dose of serious birding seemed a good option for the bright sunshine start. 

I stopped briefly at Braides Farm perhaps the most reliable spot in the Fylde to see Golden Plovers and where sure enough I saw a number of goldies, 45 or so distant in the rough grass field. Much more impressive were the large numbers of Curlews feeding in the soggy field whereby I counted a minimum of 430 birds. 

Feeding in the same field were approximately 600 Starlings, perhaps the reason a female Sparrowhawk was poised "ready to go" on a distant fence post.  Sure enough the hawk dropped to within inches of the ground and in one motion set off low across the field, scattering everything in its path, hoping to surprise some luckless prey. I lost the hawk in the melee but within a minute or two and after a panicked fly about, everything returned to normal. 

I’m posting a picture of Golden Plover courtesy of Princeton University Press which is from The Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland.

For anyone who missed it last week, it’s not too late to enter the free draw for a signed copy of The Crossley ID Guide: Britain and Ireland here on Another Bird Blog via Last Wednesday's posting.

There were more Curlews at Conder Pool, another 60+ refugees from the flooded fields nearby. Something had disturbed them from their usual hangout, some flying about the pool, others landing briefly but remaining as wary as only Curlews are inclined to be. Also representing the waders were a single Snipe, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Spotted Redshank and 12 Redshank. 


I had a good count of Teal when the wandering but resident cows pushed the duck from their favoured haunt behind the island. Together with the Teal in the creeks it made my count up to 270 birds, dwarfing the other wildfowl and waterbird counts of 14 Little Grebe, 10 Wigeon, 3 Cormorant, 1 drake Pochard and 4 Little Egret. Looking across the marsh I noted another large female Sparrowhawk, this one adopting a slow, gliding flight in the hope of flushing something in passing; with no luck it continued its path and into the caravan park where there will be bird feeders.


I decided to try my luck at Glasson where the morning light for counting the wildfowl was dead against me, but there looked to be 150 or more combined Coot and Tufted Duck. 

I’m not in the least a religious person, but I quite like a mooch around a quiet churchyard where gravestones tell wonderful tales of life and death and where birds can be found; usually it’s Robins, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Mistle Thrushes and in the summer if you’re lucky, Spotted Flycatchers. 

No big thrushes today, just 10 or more Blackbirds which found me a Tawny Owl huddled away in a tree, Chaffinches and Goldfinches joining in the scolding. There was even a Grey Wagtail on the topmost branch of the tree and a Chiffchaff adding its warning call. 

Tawny Owl
What a great way to a end a fine morning. There's more of this bird watching lark soon on Another Bird Blog.


EG CameraGirl said...

I like each of your bird photos very much!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Those poor little Owls get a tought break when it is time for their napping. That is how I have found the Screech and Great Horned Owls, as well as Hawks, by the songbirds making a riot of noise. I so enjoy going to one large cemetery in the city and they have all kinds of birding activity, it is just too far to go often~

The happy wanderer. said...

It sounds like an interesting walk with quite a lot of action, and certainly lots of birds. I do like the Tawny Owl. Owls seem to be more visible in the northern hemisphere!

Margaret Adamson said...

hi Phil. great to see more shots from the wonderful book. You certainly had a great number of birds ans I loved the Tawney Owl

Carole M. said...

interesting to see the Sparrowhawk in action today Phil. Loving those curlews; very impressive. Pochard looks great with the sun on his lovely chestnut feathers. Oh, you got lucky with the beautiful Tawny!! Cheers.

eileeninmd said...

Sounds like a great outing, Phil! The Golden Plovers are pretty birds. Great shot from the book. Also love the Curlew and the cool owl. Happy birding.

Lou Mary said...

How fantastic to see the tawny owl and get a super shot of it!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Amazing bird count and pictures as always...the owl is just wonderful .

Wally Jones said...

Those appear to be really good numbers of Golden Plover and Curlew!
You really must train your raptors to flush the birds toward you!
Sounds like you already have done a good job with the cows to bring the water birds into view.

Super photographs, Phil!

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