Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Martin Kingfisher

I was to meet Andy at 7am for our last ringing session of the year at the Sand Martin colony. Very soon the martins will be heading south and we won’t see them until March and April 2016.

Into August and the daylight birding hours are getting shorter which left just 50 minutes or so to check out Conder Green before meeting Andy. 

There were 2 Kingfishers flying though the creeks, one behind the other so I couldn’t be sure if the chase was territorial or family based. Two minutes later I knew for sure when both birds appeared on the sluice wall about 6ft apart with no aggression shown between the two. After a minute or two they flew off together again, this time to the western end of the pool. At 0615 the light was very poor and the resulting Photshopped picture equally as dull as the light. The second Kingfisher is just off to the right and out of sight. 


There were 4 Little Grebe, a single Little Egret and a number of Redshank and Lapwings dotted around the margins plus a handful of Swallows hawking the early insects. 

Back to the tidal creeks where the good selection of birds approximated as 110+ Redshank, 20+ Lapwing, 6 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 4 Curlew, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret, 8 Teal and 2 Shelduck. 

The Sand Martin colony is now seasonally reduced with fewer holes occupied and an obvious decline in numbers from the 200+ birds around in June and July. Our count was more like 80/90 birds today. We caught just 19 Sand Martins - 6 new ones and 13 recaptures. One of the recaptures proved to be D350512, a breeding adult male first ringed in 2014 some 20 miles away at a Sand Martin colony on the River Lune.  The picture below is of a juvenile bird from today. 

Sand Martin

During one of the periodic Sand Martin “dreads” this morning we saw the cause of the temporary panic to be an overhead Merlin. The tiny raptor didn’t linger but continued on a flight path to the north and towards Conder Green. 

Also in evidence on the farm is at least one, possibly two flock of Linnets numbering 100 - 125 birds in total, plus a regular gang of 10/12 Tree Sparrows. 


I don’t know of any birders who answer to “Martin Kingfisher” but it sure is a good name for a bird watcher don’t you think? More silly suggestions to Another Bird Blog please.


David Gascoigne said... middle name is Martin So perhaps I should consider Martin Kingfisher. But, If I am going to change my name I think I want something with a little more pizzazz. I remember that Peregrine used to be used as a first name and it was generally kind of aristocratic and snooty, so that would have to be my first choice . I think I could keep my middle name and then opt for another raptor for a surname. How about Osprey? Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? Peregrine Martin Osprey? Maybe I'll become an author and write ornithologically based mystery novels and this will be my nom de plume. there's another word with a bird connection. This could go on forever. Maybe I'll just stick with David after all.

Linda said...

Martin is an interesting name for a bird, Phil. The linnets are adorable! :)

Jo said...

Interesting Kingfisher!

Stuart Price said...

I'm sure there are some Martin Swifts somewhere. In fact a quick google reveals lots of 'em including one working at Granada TV.

Martin Swann? Martin Crane? Martin Finch?

Vandana Sharma said...

What playful creatures these birds are and bring colour and joy to our world.

Wally Jones said...

Nice report on the early stages of migration. Your kingfishers are so brightly colored. Nothing like a Merlin speeding overhead to get small birds to be very quiet and still.

Regarding your last post, "Treemendous", what a nice surprise to come face to face (hand to face?) with a Tree Pipit!

Birding here, and therefore the blogging, has been quite unsteady. Hopefully, we'll soon be back on track.

Wishing you all the best as another weekend rapidly approaches!

Oh, a contribution to possible birders' names: "Robin Finch", "Phoebe Becard", "Pewee Thrasher" and that twitcher from the Vatican, "Cardinal Fulmar".

Silver Parrot said...

Fun photos as always. That Martin reminds me so much of our local Swallows.

Charlie Bowman said...

Did you spot any Cuckoos Over Wyre this summer?

Phil Slade said...

Hi Charlie. Not personally but I know other birders have seen odd ones. Saw a few in the hills but they remain a rarity up here.

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