Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grey Wednesday Birds

There was more rain and dreary skies today but by 11am the rain eased even though the grey was set in for the day. 

Determined to get some birding in I headed towards Pilling where the geese have been fairly obliging this week. At Damside and Backsands Lane there’s been anything up to 4500 Pink-footed Goose and where two days ago I spotted a lone Barnacle Goose amongst the legions of pinkies. 

Initially today I counted 250 geese, the Barnacle amongst them; when I looked an hour or two later the count had risen to about 2500 with the Barnacle still there. After “grilling” the geese for in total a couple of hours this week the Barnacle Goose is the only oddity discovered although a darvic marked pinkie proved too distant to read the inscription. Whilst the Pink-footed Goose is a very abundant winter visitor to this part of Lancashire, the Barnacle Goose occurs fairly commonly but in very small numbers only. 

Pink-footed Goose

Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose

I set off for Fluke Hall on Monday only to discover the shoot day had changed and saw 4x4s littering the road alongside the flooded fields. Hi-Fly charge £500 for a full day’s shoot at three locations with breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the day’s entertainment. That’s the problem with us tight birders. Although we think nothing of spending four or five grand on camera gear and optics we expect the actual birding provided for free whereas other folk invest money in their chosen pursuit.

Today the same roadside fields were stacked with waders with a count of 650+ Lapwings, 130+ Redshank, 30 Oystercatcher, 14 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. The unseen Whooper Swans out on the marsh were very vocal with I suspect many more than the seven I saw flying out that way. In the trees and at the car park - 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, a single Jay and 40+ Twite. 

This autumn’s Twite seem to have split into three or four flocks, spending their time roaming the coast and likely to be encountered anywhere between Knott End and Pilling Lane Ends, a distance of three or four miles. Twite can be hard to locate just feeding quietly on the salt marsh and it’s often only as they fly off in a tight buzzing pack that they are noticed. 


I drove to Conder and Glasson for a check of the usual spots and to make sure I’d missed nothing in recent days. The Glasson ducks were distant across the basin requiring a scope whereby the apparent “lots” realised a good count of 72 Tufted Duck but only 2 Goldeneye, a single Little Grebe, 8 Cormorant and a lurking Grey Heron. 

Grey Heron

At Conder Green I found the regular Spotted Redshank, failed miserably with Common Sandpipers and a big fat zero but gained 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 25 + Curlew by way of fly arounds. 

Also, 2 Little Egret, 90+ Teal and a little flock of 25+ Chaffinch towards the car park. 

Tomorrow there’s a ringing session with Andy pencilled in for Oakenclough where up in the hills it can often be raining when down below all is fine. 

Fingers crossed for a bright day for a change. 


TexWisGirl said...

love those pretty geese!

Margaret Adamson said...

we never get many pink footed geese here but I still hope. great shots

Linda said...

It is a dreary, dull day here in Montreal, Canada as well, Phil. However, and thankfully, your beautiful photos brighten up any day! Thank you so much for sharing them.

Chris Rohrer said...

Fantastic shots!!! But what the heck? A Twite? Never heard of that one. What a strange name!

eileeninmd said...

I love those Geese, very pretty.. I wish that kind of camera gear. Great shots and birds. Happy birding, good luck with the ringing..

Wally Jones said...

I'm happy to hear you got in a good day of birding despite uncooperative weather, shooters and fickle feathered friends.

Good show on picking out that Barnacle Goose in the midst of all that pinkness. Twites look like they could be quite a challenge to spot. Sneaky little finches!

Nice report, Phil! Hope your weather gives you a break tomorrow and you have a successful ringing session.

This birder will be celebrating tomorrow by eating a bird. Some sort of holiday started by a gang of twitchers from your side of the pond looking for new lifers along our northeast Atlantic coastline, I think.

At any rate, I'm thankful they survived and proliferated.


Christian Perrin said...

I love the geese also, especially that vivid Barnacle Goose, which must stand out amongst the grey birds!

I'm a little confused by this Hi-Fly thing - there's a company that charges 500GBP to go birding for the day, but they throw in all meals? I will have to start a franchise here in Australia if that's the case! :)

Russell Jenkins said...

The barnacle goose really stands out and I do like the the Twite. I must admit however, it's a new one for me! Quite a good count for a Monday.

Stewart M said...

Great shot of the twite - not a bird you should spell incorrectly!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

David Gascoigne said...

Barnacle Goose - now there's a delicate and appealing little goose. The odd one shows up here, and there is always an eternal and unresolved discussion as to whether it is wild in origin or has escaped from a collection.

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