Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Showers Birding

The weather lady promised there would be two or three hours of fine weather before the rain arrived on Sunday. She was right. By 11am I was back home and rained off. I’d managed a quick birding circuit at Conder and Glasson followed by a drive to Oakenclough to top up the feeding station.

Backsands Lane at Pilling and then Sand Villa at Cockerham produced three species of raptor, a Kestrel at the nest box, a fly by Sparrowhawk and then two Buzzards, one along the fence line and another distant on the sea wall. Hordes of Pink-footed Geese were flying from their salt marsh roost and dropping on Cockerham Moss Edge. Now the shooting season is over and in just a week or two the geese will become more tolerant of people who just want to enjoy them as a spectacle rather than as a shooting trophy or a meal.

Pink-footed Geese

The pool at Conder Green was pretty full following a series of very high tides whereby excess water from the Lune is diverted into the mere, so not too many muddy edges in evidence for waders. Four Lapwing loafed on the nearest island where a pair of Oystercatchers busily mated as a prelude to nesting there again, as they do in most years. Several Redshanks were dotted around the pool margins but today was mostly wildfowl with 2 Goldeneye, 2 Tufted Duck,2 Canada Goose, 2 Little Grebe, 22 Teal, 18 Wigeon, 6 Shelduck and 2 Cormorant. As usual more Teal dabbled in the shallow creeks to bring the total of this species to 70+.

 Canada Goose


I counted the Goldeneye and Tufted Duck at Glasson Dock at 45 and 42 respectively. It’s rare indeed to find that Goldeneyes outnumber Tufted Duck on this water although a few tufties are often hidden amongst the moored boats or the distant reeds. Male Goldeneyes look wholly black and white from a distance and it’s not always possible to see the glossy green head of this wary duck.


Looking west I could see rain approaching but inland was still reasonably bright so I headed up to the feeding station where it was dry but very cloudy. There’s a clearance and replanting programme ongoing here following years of neglect when rhododendrons took over the woodland. The team have worked extremely hard with the result that in a few years’ time the place should be buzzing with birds, hopefully a few of the species in evidence fifteen or twenty years ago when I spent a good number of days here; Green Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and good numbers of breeding Willow Warblers and Lesser Redpolls spring to mind.

Each stake represents a young native tree to be planted in the next week or two, each sapling a welcome addition to the rather sparse habitat left following the demise of the rhododendron.


In the meantime Andy and I can monitor the changes through our ringing and birding here. Today showed evidence of both Goldfinch and Chaffinch returning following the cold spell, with good numbers about the feeders.

In or adjacent to the woodland - 1 Buzzard, 1 Jay, 4 Fieldfare, 9 Redwing, 14 Blackbird and a singing Mistle Thrush.


In nearby fields and waters I counted 55 Lapwing, 45 Oystercatcher, 4 Greylag, 15 Mallard and 2 Gadwall.

That’s all for now, but be sure there’s more birding, ringing and photography soon on Another Bird Blog.

In the meantime I'm linking to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello PHil, I am glad the rain held off for your outing.. Beautiful birds and photos.. I would love to see all those Lapwings someday.. The Shelduck is gorgeous.. Have a great week ahead, happy birding!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful goldfinch and handsome shelduck! like the pink-footed coming in for a landing. glad you got a couple of good hours in!

Marie said...

Your narrative is poetry...your photos, art. I love your posts so much! I am so happy they will be planting native trees in the area where the rhododendron once was.

David Gascoigne said...

It's really encouraging to see the attempt at reforestation. It's amazing how we mess with things and transform a perfectly good woodland into something quite alien, and then devote time and money to restore the balance to what existed naturally in the first place.

Mary Cromer said...

The replanting effort shall certainly be a worthy cause for future. I love planting trees, shrubs, bushes...they grow pretty well...grass, now that does not do so well here. The Pink footed Geese in flight are so perfect. That reminds me of those mobiles we made in school and hung from the ceiling. I almost always chose to make mine with birds. I am hopefully off Tuesday if the weather does not mess with my plans again. I am feeling better and I feel I need some sunshine and walking on sand. As for tanning...I have very delicate skin now and must use that big numbered sun block...oh well, still fun~

Linda said...

Phil, what a glorious series here, I love them all! The colours on the Shelduck are lovely. :) Oh, and by the way, I don't mind if you repeat yourself in comments on my posts. I am just so glad to know that you enjoy them and I truly appreciate your comments. :)

Stuart Price said...

Goldeneyes............I've taken lots of pics of them and they are always did better than me.

mick said...

Great photos and beautiful birds - the shelduck and goldfinch are especially bright and beautiful. Are rhododendrons native or an introduced species that cause problems?

Adam Jones said...

Super Goldeneye shot Phil. I know what you mean about the weather this weekend. Very similar where I was, with just a window of a couple of hours of no rain/sleet/snow on Sunday.

EG CameraGirl said...

I think your European Goldfinch is such a handsome fellow!


Oh you know my dreams of seeing a European Goldfinch, now, don't you. You taunt me each time [kidding]

The new 'forest' sounds just perfect. In every way.

Wonderful water fowl too Phil.

Again, it's RAINING here too.

Andrew Fulton said...

Another wonderful post Phil..

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful birds ~ love them all and wonderful photography!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Valerie said...

Beautiful images Phil. When I see heavy bodied ducks or pelicans, I think of B52s! (Yes, I have a weird sense of humour). The Golden Eye has such a startled expression too. Thanks for sharing.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hello .. Very good pictures .. Good work .. Regards

Karen said...

Glad the weather held up for a couple of hours! You got some great shots! Love the shelduck and pink-footed geese.

Findlay Wilde said...

I really like the Goldeneye picture

Margaret Adamson said...

The Goldeneye with its reflection is stunning and I also love the Goldfinch

Irma said...

Great images of these birds.
Mountain Duck and Goldfinch I find totally amazing.
Perfect photographed, my compliments.

Wally Jones said...

I can actually empathize with you for a change about the weather. Yesterday was pleasantly overcast with a light rain in the afternoon. Today, about three hours in the morning before the rains came. Rest of the week - heavy rain all day.

However, the overall tone of your report, to me, shouted out "Spring is almost here!". Remnants of migration, courtship and mating, new plantings ...

Superb photographs (but of course) really highlight the beauty of your birds. Our local town purchased some Shelduck for the park lake a few years ago but I would much prefer to see them in their native habitat instead of panhandling for white bread from tourists.

As soon as the rains allow, I wish us both good birding!

(Don't be like me on the rainy days. I pretend to be doing chores but linger at the windows gazing up to the tree branches. -- Don't tell Gini.)

Janice Adcock said...

Great post, beauties, all.

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