Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wood You Believe It?

After Wednesday’s Wood Sandpiper today provided another one this time at Conder Green.

By 0600 I was  headed for Conder, Glasson and Cockersands, a trio of pretty good birding sites that are close together and share many species, but I started at Conder Green. A Wood Sandpiper was feeding on one of the islands, perhaps easy to miss at long distance or when it decided to feed around the side of the island hidden from view and where it could remain for many minutes at a time. 

There were the usual and consistent wader counts of 120 Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 2 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 14 Oystercatcher, 4 Snipe and 6 Curlew. And of course, 2 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Little Grebe, 4 Teal and 1 Cormorant. 

Common Sandpiper

A Kingfisher showed briefly and didn’t hang around for a decent view or a picture so I made do with a more obliging and dependable Pied Wagtail, one of three around. 

Pied Wagtail

I made for Glasson where the Swallow numbers were much reduced from recent days with just 30+ feeding over the waters today but overhead 9 Swifts. As the Canal Trust workers readied the lock gates a service boat for the rigs waited to exit the basin on its way to the river and then the open sea. Two Grey Wagtails on the far side of the yacht basin again.

Glasson Dock

Glasson Dock

The Tufted Ducks were fairly obliging this morning unlike some days when they just head for the deeps as soon as anyone looks at them. A standard count of 16 containing no males, just females and juveniles. Ducks manage to preen themselves without leaving the water by turning partly over and doing the necessary then repeating the process on the other side. This seems especially true for Tufted Ducks, a species loathe to leave the safety of water. 

Tufted Duck

 Tufted Duck

It was a beautifully quiet morning for a saunter along the canal, an undisturbed walk where I picked up on another 30+ Swallows, 1 Grey Heron, 8 Tree Sparrow, 5 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, 1 Reed Bunting and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. I couldn’t help but feel that I missed many more birds skulking silently in the still dense reeds and impenetrable hedgerows. 

Reed Warbler

Speckled Wood

Cockersands was serene in the morning sun, no cars, no dog walkers, no birders, just birds. Along the shore and in the close fields I found 18 Linnet and made a magnificent count of 110 Tree Sparrows and 400+ Starlings. 

Tree Sparrow


Along the shore and in the shallows I counted 26 Eider, 7 Whimbrel, 300+ Oystercatcher, 22 Redshank, 2 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret. 

The ancient abbey above Cockersands shore was founded about 1184 as the Hospital of St Mary on the marsh belonging to Leicester Abbey. It later became a Premonstratensian priory and was eventually elevated to abbey status in 1192. 

In the background to the picture below distant Heysham Power Station dates from the mid 1980s.

Cockersands Abbey and Heysham

The tumbledown walls of the abbey provided good feeding and vantage points for 3 Pied Wagtails and 2 Wheatears, sitting stones where I took a rest and tried to imagine how many Wheatears had passed through here in more than 800 Springs and 800 Autumns. 

What a splendid morning of being out in the big wide world and enjoying it to the full. Better still, there’s more bird news and views on Another Bird Blog UK very soon.

Linking to Eileens's Saturday Blog and   Weekend Reflections.


Carole M. said...

you had it all that morning Phil, great location shots too. The Wheatear is fabulous. You tucked all that in your camera and soul that morning and then headed home; what a great start to your day.

eileeninmd said...

Phil, what a great outing. cute Sandpiper and other favorites are the Pied Wagtail, Tufted Duck and the Wheatear! Now, you have me wishing I was not working full time and had more time for birding.. Have a happy weekend!

David Gascoigne said...

I am curious, you use the term "Pied Wagtail" all the time. Does this refer to a specific colour morph of White Wagtail or is it considered a separate species in Europe?

Susan (ABON) said...

Lovely variety of images, Phil!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Great variety of birds and butterfly in this post as well as fantastic reflections at Glasson Dock.

Marie said...

Love the photo of the Docks! The little abbey is wonderful! And I loved the different birds, of course. Wonderful captures!

As for coming to the US out west...head on over!!! :-)

'Tsuki said...

A very interesting post, with a lot of clever informations, and with very pretty picture... I can feel the passion you have for your hobby, and it is very inspiring ! Nice reflections indeed.

Viera said...

Fantastic reflection and lovely birds and butterfly...Great post...

Felicia said...

love the glasson dock image and the butterfly. all are wonderful

eileeninmd said...

Phil, just stopping back to say thanks for sharing your post with my critter party.. Enjoy your weekend!

HOOTIN ANNI said... the dock photo! I can see why you return to this area that is so close by...what beautiful scenes. The ruins of the Abbey I would definitely want to explore.

Beautiful birds.
Love the reflections of the ducks on the water....gorgeous.

Mary Cromer said...

The glorious skies and dock scene, and the abbey images are outstanding. The old abbey looks quite lonely and yet I can imagine the activity over the years there.
The Speckled Wood Butterfly is a real little beauty too.
I always enjoy the Pied Wagtails and Wheatear, such beautiful birds and the Tufted Ducks looks mighty fine too.
Always a pleasure to pay a visit, sorry that I am so late...been busy with 3 little grands ;)

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Such an interesting & enjoyable post full of a variety of birds and scenic shots! :)

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful skies! beautiful waters. lovely birds and butterfly!

DeniseinVA said...

Glad you had such a lovely morning out and about. You certainly got some great shots! Thanks for sharing them, I loved them all.

Snap said...

Hi Phil, looks like you had a successful day out. You can show me shore birds any day and I'll be happy!

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! Phil ~ What a day birding ~ gorgeous photography!

artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

sandyland said...

your blog brings me so much joy just wanted you to know

Gunilla Bäck said...

You had a great morning. What a beautiful day to be outdoors.

Adam Jones said...

Great shot of the Tree Sparrow and really like the Speckled Wood.

Pieni Lintu said...

Lovely shots!

SusuPetal said...

Sounds like a magnificent and magical morning with lots of beautiful to see and photograph!

Matkatar said...

Sweet birds!

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