Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Better Late Birding

The morning started well with a 7 o’clock Kestrel and then a Barn Owl alongside the A588 road at Pilling, the main route between Pilling and Lancaster City. It’s a road infamous for traffic accidents. Sue’s hairdresser’s father was a recent victim, a fatality following a car and motorbike collision at the notorious junction of Head Dyke Lane and Lambs Lane. 

It’s best not to linger along this road as vehicles rush past full of folk desperate to reach their place of work, early or late. There’s a saying of “It's better to be late in this world than early in the next”, sound advice which few seem to heed. Luckily the owl stayed adjacent to the road and wisely decided not to tangle with the headlong traffic. 

Barn Owl

I was heading up to Conder Green for a look-see at a place I’d not visited for some weeks.

There’s been recent talk of a pair of Common Terns returning to breed again after their success in 2014 and following an absence from the Lune of several years. Best not to count the chickens or terns too early because there was no sign of Common Terns this morning and no surprise following the horrendous weather of last week, in particular the storm of Sunday evening and the official start of Summer. Maybe the terns will return with the warm weather promised soon? 

Species looking to breeding in the area of the pool and creeks this year seem to be mainly Oystercatcher with 8/10 individuals, 6+ Redshank, 3 pairs of Shelduck, 2 pairs of Tufted Duck and the obligatory Mute Swans. 


A male Shelduck has a female on a nest somewhere on the marsh. He took great exception to a Goosander feeding in the channel, the Goosander feeding quietly away until the Shelduck dived into the water to aggressively chase the interloper away. 


In the stiff breeze passerine activity was low with just Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and 2 Pied Wagtails noteworthy. Swifts and House Martins have been late this year so it was good to note better numbers of both this morning in upwards of 15 Swifts over the hedgerow and 20+ House Martins together with 2 Sand Martins over the marsh.

Some of the House Martins were collecting construction materials and prospecting their regular breeding spots under the eaves of the house and café adjacent to the railway bridge. 

House Martin

Time will tell whether the House Martins are welcome this year following pitiful attempts to frighten them off by some rather mean spirited folk. It’s a café I once visited where the coffee was tepid and undrinkable. I never returned there anyway so am in no position to impose a boycott should the residents decide to harass the martins. 

A few hours later I drove back to Pilling and Fluke Hall when the morning traffic had moderated. There’s an extra danger to incautious drivers along this road in recent years by way of wild deer spreading from inland to take up residence nearer the coast. As I walked alongside Fluke Hall wood two Roe Deer erupted from the field margin, sprinted across the field and vaulted over a fence some 50 yards away. There’s no point in trying to follow wild deer after such an encounter; they just melt away again. 

Roe Deer

In and close to the woodland - 4 singing Whitethroat, a Nuthatch, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Stock Dove and legions of Blackbirds and Goldfinches. Somewhat strangely there was no sign of the Kestrels and Buzzards so active before my recent time away in Menorca. Judging by the mess around the Mistle Thrush nest there had been some success. 

More birds were along the stretch of seawall and marsh.  A late female Wheatear, a single Icelandic brick-toned Black-tailed Godwit, a singing Reed Bunting and a feeding flock of about 20 House Martins. 

Black-tailed Godwit - by Koshy Koshy [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These House Martins were intent on feeding and ignored the many muddy area nearby where they might collect nesting materials so I thought they could well be very late arrivals. But better late than never.

So far there are no House Martins in our avenue where in a normal and warm year five or six pairs of House Martins set up home. Such is the late and poor start to Summer we have endured in coastal Lancashire. 

There will be more news and views soon from Another Bird Blog. 


TexWisGirl said...

be safe on that road! i can get myself in trouble stopping roadside to try to capture fence scenes, so i can imagine birding can be even more dangerous. :)

loved your scenes!

Larry said...

Barn Owl-nice! Those are hard to come by around here. Beautfiful photo of the Godwit too whoever Koshy Koshy is.

Linda said...

They are all beautiful, and my favourite is the Barn Owl! Take care of yourself, Phil.

Vandana Sharma said...

Lovely shots! and the barn owl seems wise !

eileeninmd said...

It is scary to stop along the roads here with the crazy drivers, people should slow down. I love the barn owl! Great birds and deer sightings. The Black-tailed Godwit is a beauty too. Happy Birding, have a great day!

Mary Cromer said...

Why on earth do some "people" have such disregard for wildlife and in this case the mean and awful! The Barn Owl shot is marvelous! I see things along side roads a bunch and I will pull off into a driveway, or, turn around and get snap from opposite side of lane, or just take the snap in my memory, which is more often the case. Happy weekend~

David Gascoigne said...

It's too bad that the café had not served you wonderful fare and then we could all join in with a boycott and spread it from blog to blog. Maybe they might then realize that the spectacle of House Martins nesting there might prove an allure rather than a distraction. Imagine a birder like myself visiting the area; the nesting birds would be the clincher in terms of where I dispensed my patronage. What mean-spirited, short sighted, anti-wildlife nerds they are.

Silver Parrot said...

What a lovely collection of birds. Love the owl on the post!

Gunilla Bäck said...

I love the barn owl and the deer.

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