Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Good News, Bad News

It wasn’t the best of morning with cloudy skies and the threat of rain but I made a beeline north. 

Beyond Pilling came the usual sighting of a Barn Owl criss-crossing the fields so fast that within seconds of my spotting it the owl had disappeared into the distance. By all accounts this is a bad year for Barn Owls following a shortage of voles. My many sightings of Barn Owls in the last few weeks supports the idea that adults are having to spend long periods of time hunting for food for themselves but also for youngsters yet to fledge. 

Barn Owl

At Braides there was a Buzzard along the distant fence line, a Kestrel, and a Grey Heron following the sea wall. More than one Buzzard spends the short summer nights out on these fences where five or six hours of  darkness gives them ample opportunities of snatching night-time mammals. Yes, the Buzzard was very distant on the fence. 


There was a Kingfisher waiting for me on the outflow of Conder Green pool. An adult Common Tern with young nearby was flying around making lots of noise and threatening most things in its path hence the Kingfisher looking to the skies to see what the fuss was all about. The Kingfisher flew off over the pool and towards the A588 road bridge - probably the best place to wait and watch for the blue streaks that care not about the traffic thundering by. It seems like Kingfishers are here for the winter now as I saw another one along the Glasson stretch of the canal a little later on. 


There was wader activity at Conder Green by way of 17 Dunlin feeding in the creeks alongside 6 Common Sandpiper and 70+ Redshank. No sight or sound of Greenshank or Spotted Redshank this morning, a Spotted Redshank now overdue on the autumn timetable. Still 20+ Oystercatcher, 30+ Lapwing and a handful of Curlew. 

They were a long time arriving but at last the Tufted Ducks have young, 14 or 15 fluffy youngsters scurrying behind their parents and onto the island so fast I’d hardly time to count them. There was another pair of Tufted Duck and still a lonesome drake Wigeon which has summered here. 

At Glasson Dock I took a walk along the canal to find 8+ Tree Sparrows, 5 Reed Warbler, and singles only of Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Our northern “summer” has been a another poor one the latest in a series of cool or even cold and wet springs followed by a marginally better July, but months of poor productivity for birds of all shapes and sizes. 

Only now and at the end of the second week of July did I see my first Swallow chicks at Glasson Dock. Compared to just an average year the Swallows are at least two weeks late and leaving them less time to produce a second brood and certainly no chance of a third. 


When the rain stopped I did a little ringing in the garden and caught a few youngsters in the shape of Blackbirds, Goldfinches and House Sparrows. Maybe it’s not all bad news? 

House Sparrow

There are no birds in the nest box this year. The garden wasps claimed it instead.

Busy Wasps

Tune in soon for more news via Another Bird Blog. In the meantime I'm linking to Theresa's Run A Round and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday .


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I love your Barn Owl shot. Awesome capture. I hope they are not having problems finding their food. Cool kingfisher shot and the swallow is sweet. Glad the rains stopped in time for your ringing, the Goldfinch is pretty. Great post, happy birding!

Stuart Price said...

Sounds like idyllic summer birding to me Phil...........

Jo said...

How I miss my Tanzanian bird outings! But thanks for sharing your beautiful sightings.

Linda said...

Phil, another great series, and I love that Kingfisher!

Adam Jones said...

Yes, bad news for the Barnies this year. Not good at all. Smashing Kingfisher shot though.

Steve Borichevsky said...

I hope that the bird box can be reclaimed!

Nice Barn owl.

Margaret Adamson said...

I am sure were pleased to see the Barn Owl again and it is very special to have a Kingfisher waiting for you. Normally they are streeking pass you at a rate of knots.

Mary Cromer said...

WOW, what is going on with so many species, saddens the hearts of bird lovers. The Barn Owl here is so depleted in it's presence, that I have not seen one now for 34 years. The swallows, goodness what is going on with them and their late bloomers. I hope they will at least get in a second clutch. It has been all rain, and severe storms here, leaks in the ceiling, me getting ready for surgery in a couple of weeks and twin sis just feeling better after a bout with Pancreas infection, whew, tired just writing it out. Take care Phil~

Seumus Eaves said...

They're wasps Phil aren't they?



Phil Slade said...

"They're wasps Phil aren't they?"

Yes, think I'll stick to birds.

Marie C said...

Love your Barn Owl! The Kingfisher is so colorful and love your other pictures. Sorry the owls are having such issues because of the lack of voles. Lovely post.

Adam Tilt said...

Sounds like a great day. That Wasp nest is very impressive.

TexWisGirl said...

the wasp nest is impressive! always love your fence perchers. :)

Ida said...

Wonderful shot of the Barn Owl, they are so cool looking.
Great shot of the buzzard on the fence too.
Wow those wasp certainly moved into that bird nest. Sad that no birds occupied the nest this year.

David Gascoigne said...

Additional photographs of Buzzard are encouraging and it's good to hear that there may be as many as four or five of them in the same area. Good luck to them in their night-time foraging. May they live and prosper.

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