Sunday, May 18, 2014

Back To A Patch

Two weeks in sunny Menorca meant Saturday was employed in catching up with family, a mountain of post, a long list of emails and then downloading and sorting hundreds of photos from the holiday. But this morning the local patch beckoned so a full Menorca post was postponed for now. Log in to Another Bird Blog soon for this year’s pictures from The Idyllic Isle. 

Remembering to drive on the “correct” side of the road I set off north in the direction of Pilling and Cockerham, first stop Conder Green where a goodish list ensued, waders, wildfowl plus “bits and bobs” of passerines. 

The huge passage of Black-tailed Godwits of April has left lingering individuals, 16 or so birds still having feeding success in the tidal creeks, their long bills buried deep in the mud to then pull out long worms. I am guessing that their prey was the lugworms and ragworms that anglers dig for here and then use for bait. 

Black-tailed Godwits

Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit

Other waders are now limited to species which breed here but not necessarily all of those counted, although I did see an Oystercatcher sat tight on a nest. In addition, 9 Redshank, 8 Oystercatcher and 4 Curlew, the latter flying overhead. 

Wildfowl are scarce now with the counts of 2 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Canada Goose, 16 Shelduck and 2 Grey Heron a reflection of Spring becoming the doldrums of Summer. For the small area surveyed I found a reasonable number of passerines in song, so numbers which represent the males alone and discount the quieter partners: 4 Whitethroat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Greenfinch and 2 Goldfinch. 

There were reasonable numbers of Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins about but sadly no Swifts in evidence. A Swallow gave brief chase to a passing male Sparrowhawk, the hawk no doubt with a nest bound female not too far away. 

Last week on the Menorca patch I watched swallows, martins, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Booted Eagle, Red-footed Falcon and Egyptian Vulture! Oh the joys of a local patch. 

Egyptian Vulture

I headed back to Pilling via Braides where a Sedge Warbler sang from the Cocker Channel and 18 Stock Doves scrutinised a recently sown field. Maybe the doves were finding undrilled seed? 

Stock Dove

Fluke Hall seemed almost silent, the warbler reduction since April very marked with now just single Chiffchaff and Blackcap in song and no Willow Warblers. Luckily the Whitethroats were in good voice my ear still tuned to their scratchy song rather than the machine-gun rattle of Sardinian Warblers. Whitethroats are passage migrants in Menorca, Sardinian Warblers ten-a-penny. 


Sardinian Warbler

A male Kestrel hunted the freshly sown fields where I found no evidence of breeding Lapwings, the plough of April having done its job with great success. At least 4 Skylarks remain on territory and a pair of Tufted Ducks prospected for a breeding niche in the sea wall channel. 

A good morning’s work. There’s no beating a local patch, wherever it might be.


David Gascoigne said...

Great shots of the godwits, Phil. I am especially partial to them, and of course I never see Black-tails here. Hudsonian Godwit is rare and Marbled rarer still. As you so rightly point out, what is sweeter than your own local patch? Right now the joy of joys on the trail right behind our house is a resident pair of Eastern Screech Owl. We just returned from our morning walk and, predictably, the male was sitting up on the lip of the cavity, which by the way was excavated by a Pileated Woodpecker.

Wally Jones said...

"Birder Of International Intrigue"!

Welcome home, Phil. I know you had a wonderful time but are nonetheless happy to be back. Glad to hear your patch was not completely abandoned during your absence.

You certainly had a good number of birds listed! Splendid images of the differing plumages of the Black-tailed Godwit. Hope your Lapwings found suiting nesting habitat nearby, out of the path of the plow.

Sorry to have been absent of late. Quite busy exploring new territory and cataloging breeders. If it wasn't so much fun, it might be called work!

Enjoy the coming week!

Sylvia K said...

What marvelous captures, Phil!! I'm not familiar with some of them, but they are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your week!!

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful series of bird photography for OWT ~ Learning a lot here ~ thanx ~

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Randi said...

Very interesting post! These images are enchanted!
Thank you for sharing!!!

mick said...

I agree that there is no beating a local patch! I especially like the photos of the Black-tailed Godwits.

Adam Jones said...

Fantastic pictures here Phil.

Snap said...

Wonderful series and I loved the Godwits. I've always enjoyed the waders ... they put on a fun show.

Bob Bushell said...

Nice one Phil, especially the B-t Godwits, superb.

Gary Phillips said...

Great sequence!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

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