Friday, August 1, 2014

Off A Duck's Back

There’d been a day or two without birding so I set the alarm clock on the strength of Thursday night’s forecast. It was raining hard at 5am so I dozed off for a while. Not long after something stirred me from slumber and the rain had relented, at least for an hour or two. By 0930 a threatening shower had turned again to more persistent rain so play was abandoned for the day after less than two hours of fun. 

A quick stop at Conder Green confirmed a Common Tern sat tight on a nest while two minutes later at Glasson the male was on his circuit. While the female Common Tern sits tight on the nest at Conder Green, the male Common Tern flies off to a regular tour of Glasson Dock 800 yards away where the preferred food seems both readily available and fairly easy to catch. 

The male starts with a round or two of the yacht basin, where it sometimes rests on a tiny but distant jetty, followed by a short flight to the dock where it quickly catches a small fish of the required size. He immediately heads directly back to Conder Green where he presents the fish to the sitting female. 

Both the dock and the yacht basin appear to be teeming with fish at the moment, food availability being a likely factor in the terns choosing to nest so late in the season. The pool at Conder Green seems to lack both the amount and availability of food on offer at Glasson Dock, but has the advantage of an island with the required structure of vegetation that is relatively safe from predators. 

Common Tern

The early rain had mostly kept people indoors but the dock was in noisy working mode with no sign of the regular Kingfisher amongst the boats and moorings. The late start meant less Swallows too, a count of 40ish being considerably down from recent ones. Eight or more Swifts overhead and 8 Cormorants heading south. 



Tufted Ducks numbered just 16 today, the picture below taken from the car when the rain started again and water droplets rolled off the proverbial duck’s back. 

Tufted Duck

A walk along the canal proved fairly fruitful until the rain called a halt. There’s an old neglected orchard with apple trees and fruiting plants like Blackcurrant and where I found 3 brown-headed Blackcaps, 3 or more Robins and several each of Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Goldfinches, 2 Song Thrush, and a Sedge Warbler in song. The regular Tawny Owl was there too, hidden in the dense trees and extensive cover where the scolding of Blackbirds and Song Thrush gave the game away. 


Further along the canal were 8 Tree Sparrow, and hiding in the waterside vegetation a minimum of 6 Reed Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat and 1 Willow Warbler. It’s the time of year that a birder has to use ears rather than eyes to locate the tiny “brown jobs” flitting unseen before their very eyes. 


Real rain had arrived so I “birded” as best I could from the car at Conder Green with counts of 145 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin and 3 Little Egret in the immediate channels. 

It was no good, even with the car window partly down everything was getting a soaking. Time to save it for Another Day on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's BlogCamera Critters and Eileen's Saturday .


eileeninmd said...

Sorry about the rain, we are expecting a rainy weekend here. I love the birds you sighted and the photos. The Tufted Duck is one of my favorites along with the cute swallow.. Happy Birding and have a great weekend!

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Bonita entrada, buenas fotos, como siempre. Un saludo desde España, amigo.

Marie said...

I bet the birds enjoyed the rain, though it made it harder to find them and photograph them. Nice post.

David Gascoigne said...

It just goes to show, that even in the rain, a little birding is better than one at all.

Susan (ABON) said...

Beautiful the Tufted Duck. Have a great weekend!

Ela said...

Gorgeous shots ! I love to watch the birds in the flight !

Stewart M said...

The trip to the UK yielded some very good times - and the Farne Islands were (as ever) a highlight!

I don't think I'll leave it so long next time for a return trip!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Noushka said...

Oh gee!
What a gorgeous post, Phil!
I envy you swallow and the Tufted Duck, 2 species I have yet to photograph!!
I have gone through your previous pics, all very interesting and beautiful!
Sorry I don't have the time to blog more!! ;-)
I wish you many more delightful sightings!!

EG CameraGirl said...

You are a hardy soul to be out birding in the rain!

eileeninmd said...

Phil, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up to my Critter Party, have a great weekend!

Margaret Adamson said...

Rain or sun, there are always birding opportunities and you certainly got some great shots for this post, Phil. Have a great weekend.

A Quiet Corner said...

Raining here now, Phil...we need it. Love the Swallow best...:)JP

Rajesh said...

Wonderful set of birds.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

Sorry the rain put a damper on your birding day- but you got some great shots. It amazes me how much the Cormorant looks like a military fighter jet.

Gunilla Bäck said...

A wonderful post as usual. I love the baby robin.

Adam Jones said...

Lovely Whitethroat picture.

Christian Weiß said...

Great observations and photos.

Karen said...

You get great shots rain or shine!

Anni said...

For me, sitting here sweltering in the Summer heat, rain sounds heavenly!!

As always, I do so enjoy reading your commentary as I view your photos. That swallow on the jute line is fantastic. And the terns...if there seems to be a lot of fish...well, they know just where the best place is to dine and nest.

Thank you for linking up at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend. Always appreciated!!

Bob Bushell said...

Excellent images Phil.

Janet Shaw said...


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