Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Sylvia Day

Wednesday - Not quite the morning hoped for with100% cloud, poor light and a touch of drizzle at times. Oh well, best to make the best of a bad job and set off somewhere. 

As soon as I arrived at Fluke, the Blackbirds were at it, scolding a Tawny Owl again. The Tawny Owls here are very active at the moment. I’m guessing that there are youngsters to feed, necessitating more frequent hunting, this being the third time in a week I’ve seen these normally nocturnal owls. I located the owl which was being chased by a posse of Blackbirds, the owl changing its chosen spot in the trees three times until the rumpus eventually died down and the Blackbirds went back to their business. 

It’s a snatched shot just as the owl was looking for a place to roost, away from so much noise and attention. ISO1600 in the poor light and those damned leaves in the way again. 

Tawny Owl

I knew roughly where the owl had flown to and left it in peace. There’d be no point in setting off more commotion by making the poor thing fly again. 

The wood and hedgerows held reasonable numbers of warblers with no obvious fresh arrivals other than a singing Garden Warbler and a song so close to a Blackcap as to be almost identical. I don’t have my own picture of a skulking Garden Warbler other than in the hand - It’s rather like a plain Blackcap but without the coloured cap. Bird watchers have been known to make unkind “jokes” about the Garden Warbler’s plain appearance and its Latin name Sylvia borin - borin = boring, get it? Very unfair. 

Garden Warbler - Photo credit: themadbirdlady - anne cotton / Foter / (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

There are still at least 2 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla in the area giving a chance to compare its loud, highly musical song with the more subdued but lengthy song of the Garden Warbler. 


There seemed to be good numbers of the other “Sylvia” this morning, Sylvia communis, the Common Whitethroat, with at least 8 birds seen/heard along Fluke Hall Lane. The Whitethroat is much easier to see than the previous two with Spring the best time to take photographs of the commonest of this family of UK warblers. 

The males arrive during April/early May and quickly set up territories from where they constantly sing their jolting, scratchy song. They use prominent vantage points from which to show off their white throat and pink-washed breast as a way to impress any watching females. 



On the ploughed field: 1 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail and several Linnets. 

There was a Kestrel hunting the freshly turned earth and a Sparrowhawk in high circling flight. Both species are nesting at nearby Fluke Hall but as raptors do not compete for food, having different requirements.  The Kestrel takes small mammals and the Sparrowhawk favours small to medium sized birds. 



Lane Ends to Pilling Water turned up little in the way of migration or new in birds except for a Common Sandpiper. There was a single Little Egret at Pilling Water pool and 2 Wheatear some way out on the marsh. At Lane Ends: 2 Little Grebe, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. 

It wasn’t a bad morning and while some sunshine and better light would have been welcome, the conditions are never, ever perfect for a very demanding birder.


Russell Jenkins said...

Love the Tawny Owl picture, Phil! The leaves are a nice touch, I reckon, adding something wild to a dramatic portrait. It is an authentic wild bird. Also love the two small raptors in flight and all the sylvias look pretty sweet and not boring at all.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love the owl. Of course, your other birds are wonderful too. Amazing how they chase the big ones!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Chris Rohrer said...

Any day with an owl is a good one! I love the Whitethroat. Very handsome bird. Wonderful collection of birds today. As for a demanding birder/photographer, there's always room for better picture:)

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, sounds like a great outing even with the poor lighting..I love the Owl and the cute Whitethroat. Great sightings and post. Happy Birding!

David Gascoigne said...

How can another day with Sylvia be anything bot good?

David Gascoigne said...

Another day with Sylvia sounds good to me!

David Gascoigne said...

Have a great trip to Spain. I'll be there myself in July.

Mary Cromer said...

White Throat, oh my goodness Phil, have you shared them before, did I say anything, or miss them, what adorable beauties they are...sweet! I also liked seeing your Kestrels in flight, great share as always Phil. Have a great weekend~

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I will take your non-perfect day any time Phil. Especially if it includes an owl. But I even like the Sylvias. (LBJs or little brown jobs we call that kind of bird, but yours is prettier than ours). I worked with a lady once whose name was actually Sylvia Boring. Really. And she was rather.

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