Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Double Day

There wasn’t much time for birding on Monday however I did manage an hour or so at Knott End on either side of the 1 p.m. high tide. 

The highlight was a juvenile Marsh Harrier seen from the promenade about 1230, the harrier quite high above the tideline but heading purposefully west towards Fleetwood. Like many one-off migratory birds here, it probably flew up river towards the extensive marshes either side of the river and where it would avoid the Fleetwood conurbation. Marsh Harriers are very much passage migrants in this part of Lancashire and where they occur in fairly small numbers April/May and then again from July to September/October. 

Marsh Harrier - Photo credit: Ferran Pestaña / Foter / (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A reasonable only count of 110 Oystercatchers, but otherwise just 9 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Redshank completed the waders. Four Sandwich Terns on the beach, with 4 Pied Wagtails at the jetty and 2 Shelduck up river. 

Tuesday dawned bright and clear so I hit the road north to Conder Green and Glasson Dock. 

The numbers of Swallows flitting around the Glasson yachts was down to about 150 today. It could be that the Swallows are actually spending these warm nights roosting amongst the shelter that the boats provide and where the Swallows would be fairly safe.

Glasson Dock

When birds settle down to sleep, it’s called “roosting” and the place they choose to sleep at is called a “roost”. The main things birds are looking for at a roost are safety and warmth but also to minimise the danger from predators. Predators could be ground or avian predators like birds of prey, owls, foxes, mink, stoats, rats, cats, dogs or man. Dense cover, foliage, reeds or even farming crops can serve as a secure roost for small birds. Bigger birds have more options and can sleep on the water, on a branch, or even just right on the ground. 

Birds using communal roosts probably benefit by gaining access to food supplies: an individual that found insufficient food one day might, on the next, accompany others leaving the roost, and so be led to a new food source. So a roost is a sort of information and meeting centre, Facebook for birds. 

At one point a number of Swallows took off noisily to see off a Peregrine they’d spotted, the Peregrine coming in from the estuary and flying strongly in non-hunting mode in the general direction of Cockersands. It’s getting to that time of year when a Peregrine becomes an almost guaranteed sighting for a birding session along local coasts. Getting a decent image of one is another matter altogether. 


At Glasson I parked on the “wrong” side of the dock whereby 70 yards away the tiny Kingfisher was fishing the dock waters again from a huge mooring rope. I was just about to drive the wheeled hide around for a closer look when from under his nose an oblivious early morning dog walker sent the Kingfisher packing. 

One Common Tern was also fishing the dock with 2 Grey Herons waiting their turn. There was a Grey Wagtail on the dockside and then along the towpath 2 Pied Wagtails, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap. No sign of Saturday’s Tawny Owl. 

Grey Heron

Conder Green was quiet again with little new to report except for consistent counts of 135 Redshank, 9 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 1 Snipe, 2 Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron. 

 I checked Bank End, Cockerham to see how many wagtails were about after last Thursday gave a count of 130+ feeding on the marsh. Just 58 Pied Wagtails today, a more than reasonable number. There were a few Lapwings on the marsh, 2 Little Egret and a one legged Curlew struggling to make a living. 

Pied Wagtail


The sun hadn’t lasted long. The clouds rolled in, it was backwards to ISO800 and at 10am I headed home, just in time to see a familiar Barn Owl heading for a familiar building near Pilling. 

He’ll be out again soon and so will I.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


EG CameraGirl said...

You just reminded me that I haven't seen any Northern Harriers yet this year! The Pied Wagtail is a cutie and the Curlew is handsome!

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Grandes fotos, bonita entrada. Un saludo.

Adam Jones said...

Wow! That Marsh Harrier is awesome, but then so are your other shots. I really like the Peregrine too.

TexWisGirl said...

a beautiful bunch of birds, again!

Christian Weiß said...

Great observations and birds.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Both of your flight shots of the birds of Prey are fa.ntastic

mick said...

Poor Curlew!I don't imagine that it can last long with only one leg. The in-flight photo of the Peregrine is beautiful and I especially like the photo of Glasson Dock with the reflections in the still water.

eileeninmd said...

Great photos and birds, Phil! The first Harrier shot is my favorite! Happy Birding!

Marie said...

Each sighting with its fabulous photo delights me, and I think, OH my! Then, the next one is just as amazing, and then the next! You do such a great job as a birder, and I love your posts!

bettyl-NZ said...

I've always loved to see peregrine falcons--they are such majestic birds. All your shots are simply wonderful.

David Gascoigne said...

You know, it's amazing how many one-legged birds one sees. I wonder how they manage to get into a situation where they lose a leg. Whenever I see groups of Ring-billed Gulls here there always seems to be one or two birds minus a limb. For the most part they seem to survive well.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful shot of the heron. I see them here too, but they're always far away.

David Gascoigne said...

Double Day. Sounds like a good name for a publishing company don't you think?

Janice Adcock said...

such beautiful birds you captured so very good.

Mary Cromer said...

Glasson Dock, what a great looking little dot in the big world, just beautiful. The Swallow is of course amazing as always ;) and the rest of your shared bird photos, always a stand out, very well done, as usual. Have a great day and weekend approaching. Almost Happy August~

Chris Rohrer said...

Really nice birds Phil. That Curlew is interesting as are the other birds. The Marsh Harrier is another new one for me. Similar in body to our Northern Harrier. Cool find!

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