Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Sporting Saturday

Sport is great, especially on TV, and at the moment there’s lots of it. I’m really looking forward to The World Cup, Wimbledon Tennis, The Commonwealth Games, The Open Golf, Royal Ascot, Test Match Cricket and the myriad sports events which fill the TV schedules. 

You guessed my reason for loving sport. All this essential viewing means that more people are about to spend extra time glued to a TV rather than relish the great outdoors where their trivial pursuits always interfere with my birding. Yes, birding is a very selfish pastime best enjoyed when Joe Public is elsewhere, preferably indoors staring at a TV screen, so I intend to enjoy this summer’s Festival of Sport and do birding and blogging as much as possible. 

Meanwhile I hope that the present all-pervading discussion and media coverage of sport does not infect me or Another Bird Blog, so if at any time I inadvertently lapse into sporting jargon please forgive me. 

So forget sport for now, here’s a blow-by-blow account of Saturday’s birding. 

There was no game plan but I was quick out of the gate, kicking off with a straight drive along the A585 to Conder Green. I took a few seconds out at Pilling, getting the ball rolling with a knockout Barn Owl, a pretty safe bet along here at 5am. I was off to a flying start! 

Barn Owl

At Conder Green the ducking and diving wildfowl totalled 1 Little Grebe, 3 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 10 Tufted Duck, 12 Shelduck, all par for the course in June, plus 17 Canada Goose. At the shallow end wading birds obliged with 55 Redshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew and 1 Common Sandpiper. 


At this stage of the game many Redshanks are on the return leg as are Common Sandpipers. A  number of the 55 Redshanks are clearly juveniles from elsewhere, the breeding pair here with still unfledged young. The Oystercatcher count includes 5 juveniles of two broods, the largest brood a stunning hat-trick, all there off and running at a fair old pace and sure to go the full distance to adulthood. 



 Oystercatcher chicks

 Oystercatcher chick


It’s a hard call. Do Grey Herons and Little Egrets fit into the category of “wader” or “wildfowl”? Maybe the 3 Grey Heron and single Little Egret should be classed as “also ran”? If so, I clocked 10 more herons at Cockersands later, together with 44 Eider, a healthy tally which included 12 youngsters which knew the score by sticking close to mom. 

 Little Egret

Meanwhile, and back to the second half at Conder Green. Suddenly there were lots of Starlings, a flock of 200+ containing many youngsters jockeying for position on the farm buildings and fences opposite the marsh. The juvenile Starlings shouted the odds, some begging for food from parents nearby as in the car I played a blinder with the camera. A Woodpigeon decided to play the game too and sat posing for a portrait.



I’m on the final lap now, just the little brown jobs to tally and then I can throw in the towel - 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 4 Reed Bunting, 4 Linnet, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, and then a single Tree Sparrow on the rails. 

Tree Sparrow

Yet again a good number of 30+ Swift hawked insects at early doors with only a handful of Swallows doing the same; probably because many females are still confined to nests and I've yet to see many  juveniles. And in any contest for a beautiful bird an adult Swallow would surely be first past the post? 

Barn Swallow

It’s into the home straight now and the A588 again where a roadside Kestrel played ball, but soon it was the chequered flag of home where I was hot favourite for a few chores. 

But no worries, in a contest between watching sport or watching birds, birding wins hands down. 

Please join Another Bird Blog’s team again soon. You might be onto a winner.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog.


David Gascoigne said...

Phil my boy, I am just glad that you cannot see the look on my face!! But I absolutely share your feeling about sports keeping everyone indoors. It's amazing how people get so wrapped up in this stuff, in my humble opinion. Here during the World Series (only the Americans can have two US teams play against each other, neither of them ever having played a team from another country, and call it the World Series), millions book time off work to watch grown men hit a ball with a stick - and get paid truly obscene sums to do so. But as you say, it keeps them indoors and allows us to pursue our passion in peace and quiet. Now that's a home run if you ask me. Maybe even a Grand Slam!

Isidro Ortiz said...

Bonitas capturas de estas especies.Un abrazo

Sandy Kessler said...

outstan ding especially the water birds and waders.. wow

Frank said...

I totally agree with your sentiments Phil.

Your 'team' played well today and they all look fit and well for the next fixture.

Gary Phillips said...

Beautiful series!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

Richard Pegler said...

I'm totally with you on the question of sport, Phil. It's a great aid to peaceful birdwatching, and my wife finds it helps with the shopping too.

In the same vein, it's also one of the benefits of retirement that one can birdwatch mid-week when there aren't too many people about - except during the painful school holidays!

Wonderful set of images in your post, and starting with that beautiful Barnie - well !!!!!!

eileeninmd said...

I am not into watching sports on TV.. So birding would be my choice.. I love the Oystercatcher chicks! Awesome sighting and photos. Hapy Birding and have a great weekend!

Marie said...

Fun post! And such beautiful captures! I really enjoyed seeing them and reading about your day!

Russell Jenkins said...

All stunning pictures, Phil. The Barn Owl is really beautiful. Maybe you needed to put a goalie's shirt on it. Great Oyster catchers too. Japan is up next where I am. I will go out after that along with everyone else.

Betsy Brock said...

Oh, they are all great...but that barn owl is amazing!

Wally Jones said...

Well, Phil, the judges have issued their ruling on today's blog:

Emphasis on Birding: 10
Image Quality: 10
Local Knowledge: 10
Rapport With Readership: 10

Yes, the crowd is on their feet now and with singular voice one can hear the roar all the way across the street: "SCOOOOORE!!"

Congratulations on Another Bird Blog win!

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful images Phil.

Anni said...

Your 'blow by blow' account of your week is phenomenal! Such glorious birds...and your photos, as always, are picture post card perfect. LOVE the oystercatcher chicks. Darling...seriously ugly they're cute at this stage.

Thanks for linking up this weekend at the Bird D'Pot!! All the birders appreciate your participation.

PS...YES!!! to the sports fans being glued to the TV or at sports bars hanging on to each play of the games. =more quiet for us birders.

Gunilla Bäck said...

The owl is spectacular! I love the oystercatcher chicks as well.

Pia said...

Ha ha Phil, I like your humour!
Your photos are great, as always. I love the owl and the little oystercatchers. And all the other photos too :-)

Liebe Grüße,

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

For a minute there I thought I was o the wrong blog. You made me laugh, but I certainly agree that crowds can spoil a good nature day. We always say to each other 'who are all these people and what are they doing on my private river (pond, lake, mountain....fill in the blank)...'

Your pictures are stunning -- crisp and clear. Better than any bird guide I own.

Sylvia K said...

Superb captures, Phil, and such beautiful birds!! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a great week!!

Kathy McB said...

I really like that Egret capture...with it's reflection in the rippled waters.

Dianne said...

Beautiful captures Phil .... especially that gorgeous Barn Owl.

Englepappa said...

Nice bird photos!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent photography of your beautiful feathered friends ~ My favorite is the owl ~ don't see them much here in New England or I don't go to the right places ~ Great post for OWT ~ thanks,

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

Black Jack's Carol said...

I'm a little out of my league here. Your knowledge of, and ability to find, birds would have discouraged me from commenting.. more like just gasp in awe.. but I thought you might enjoy the story of Ollie, the barn owl that had some brain challenges due to DDT and was afraid of the dark. OWL, a BC Birds of Prey rescue, kept him for years. He would stamp his feet and make a fuss if they turned out the lights at night. He lived a long and happy life at OWL (with lights always left on for him), but died a couple of years back. Wonderful photos and finds here, by the way, and your sports analogies were clever too :)

love HAPPY Notes said...

Every photo is amazing. I'm inspire and awed by your captures.

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