Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Different Days, Different Birds

On Tuesday we spent a day at Blackpool Zoo with our two granddaughters. Today I took a well-earned rest and spent a good three hours birding the usual spots. 

Zoos, you either love or hate them and I hadn’t been to a zoo for many years. At ages 8 and almost 3 respectively, Olivia and Isabella loved it, spending the first 30 minutes running around wildly as they discovered new animals to look at. Eventually the pace slowed as the girls began to take an interest in the “exhibits”. 

They were both impressed with the Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens fulgens an animal which in the wild “feeds mainly on bamboo” to then spend most of the day asleep or escaping from Snow Leopards. In the picture the panda is eating a rabbit. Cue Granddad, two cuddly toy Red Pandas from the Zoo Shop. 

Red Panda

We all rather liked the Ring-tailed Lemurs a species closely related to Homo sapiens; both species often practice Yoga in their spare time. 

Ring-tailed Lemur

In between finding Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Swallows along the pathways and over areas of water, Granddad was quite taken with the White Pelicans, one of the few bird species confiding enough to be photographed. There’s a good number of free flying Barnacle Geese wandering close to passing Joe Public, not a trait exhibited from the occasional Barnacle Goose spotted at Pilling. 

White Pelican

White Pelican

Yellow-naped Parrot

Barnacle Goose

A good day was had by all, but now for today’s lack of pictures from Pilling. 

The morning started rather well at Fluke Hall with plenty of redpolls arriving from the west before feeding in the tree tops as they worked their way east. Seventeen birds went into the notebook as the common Lesser Redpoll even though an uncommon Common Redpoll was seen just across Morecambe Bay yesterday. I wouldn’t dare separate the two species on call but I once found an Arctic Redpoll in Wales by hearing it call and then following to where it landed. The joy of “vis migging” is occasionally palpable. 

Confused? It’s a quirk of birding for redpoll species UK style - Common Redpolls are actually quite scarce in the UK, Lesser Redpolls are widespread and numerous in Spring and Autumn, while an Arctic Redpoll is almost unobtainable. 

In today’s rarity stakes were 3 Song Thrush, probably convertible to 2 pairs as one pair were busy collecting food for youngsters and a third bird sang loudly from some distance away. In the same area a pair of Mistle Thrush, 4 Tree Sparrow and the now resident Kestrel. Below is a quite shocking picture but proof that Song Thrush does exist and is breeding hereabouts. 

 Song Thrush

The air was quite still at first allowing not only the redpolls but the songs of 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap and 1 Chiffchaff. The wind was to pick up noticeably quite soon and put a stop to visible movement. 

At Lane Ends the southerly wind had become quite strong as I walked the sea wall. Two Wheatears was the highlight even though getting a picture of a probable “Greenland” female proved difficult as the wind shook the camera. Neither bird was near the normal catching area.


Also at Lane Ends - a Swallow flying east, 1 Buzzard heading inland, 2 Little Egrets leaving the confines of the pool for the outer marsh and a Kestrel returning to its Damside nest box.

Singing in the plantation were singletons of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. 

There’s more from Another Bird Blog on Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday, and…..


carol l mckenna said...

Love the red panda and lemur ~ Great shots as always, xoxo

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil I am sure the girls really enjoyed being at the Zoo and seeing all the animals, and you managed great shots of some of the animals and the birds. I love the Pelican shots.

Andrew Fulton said...

Wonderful to see...

David Gascoigne said...

Congratulations on a fine job at the zoo, Grandpa. You maybe needed a yoga session yourself after a day with two energetic grandchildren! Now it's time to get them involved in birding. A promenade at Pilling perhaps.......

eileeninmd said...

Phil, I have the same love -hate feelings for zoos. But, once in awhile I enjoy the day walking around seeing the animals myself.. The Lemurs are cute. And I love the Pelican.. And one of my favorites is your last shot of the Redpoll.. Great post, happy birding!

Carole M. said...

very unique Pelican. The good thing about zoos is having the opportunity to see things you wouldn't normally. Yes they're not in their own habitat, but generally I believe they're well accommodated and cared for. Loving the Wheatear ..

Kay L. Davies said...

Love the red panda and our relative the lemur, but of course I like your little birds best. Always do.
My best friend, who lives in England, sent me photos of her holding a little owl, a larger owl whose name I forget, and a falcon. I was jealous about the owls, don't think I could pretend to be nonchalant enough with the falcon, although Judith says he's not heavy.
How were the fish and chips at Kay's Place? I'll get there yet, although rumor has it we're doing a driving holiday, complete with dog, to Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and New Mexico, if I remember correctly. Not until October. Should be photos galore from that one.
PS, my husband simply must buy a card reader for his big camera, or something to link up his camera with a USB port. I've shown SO few pix from Iceland yet.

Dział Przyrody MŚO said...

Hi Phil! It was a successful day at the zoo and the result are nice pictures. Greetings for you and your granddaughters.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

The zoo is lots of fun, in small doses and always with grandchildren! Nice shots!

Adam Jones said...

That is a cute panda.

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