Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rock Bottom Birding

£4.50 is a rock-bottom price to trim my hair, a bit of a snip really. But then there isn’t an awful lot left to cut, as Sue occasionally reminds me. At 0930 I took the two minute ferry from Knott End across to Fleetwood for the regular trim by the usual hairdresser. All done and dusted in double quick time I caught the 10am ferry back. 

The haircut was just an excuse to do a little final birding at Knott End before we pack suitcases in readiness for flying off to Greece tomorrow. 

The midday tide began to fill so I walked up river alongside the golf course where 2 Pied Wagtails fed along the shore while a further one dodged a series of golf balls arriving on the fairway. When the golfers caught up with their balls (not as painful as it sounds) the single Pied Wagtail joined the others feeding below the tidal wall. 

Pied Wagtail

There was a Grey Heron on the edge of the incoming tide with a Little Egret feeding among the rocks and stones a little nearer to the shore. Three more egrets flew down river towards Knott End and landed amongst the countless Oystercatchers scattered across the rocks of the mussel beds. The local mussel population is currently at one of its periodic lows with a resultant ban on gathering them; good news for the Oystercatchers to whom the ban doesn’t apply. 


Two Eider ducks floated up river with the incoming tide. Oystercatcher flew in lines above the ducks and towards their tidal roost as the mussel beds vanished under the incoming water. A tiny flock of Goldfinch flew over calling whereupon I counted less than ten of the flighty beasts. I took the well-worn path across the golf course and the fairway towards Hackensall, eyes and ears open for wayward golf balls, angry golfers and migrant birds. A small number of Swallows were headed north and into the prevailing wind. Were they on migration? It was hard to say but if so they needed to change direction eventually or they would find themselves across the bay in Morecambe, Heysham, or even Barrow, a fate worse than death. 

A Kestrel came by. The golf course is a favoured hunting spot with copses and scattered trees and tree boxes in which to nest. 


On the way back I clocked a couple of Meadow Pipits heading south, their thin, feeble calls reminding me that the autumn passage of this species has so far been equally faint. 

Back at the jetty a Greenshank surprised me as it flew away with a noisy triple call and the remaining Oystercatchers joined in a single-species foreshore roost, some 900 of them. A good number of Oystercatchers expend energy by flying up river to roostbut those who stay close to the mussel beds get first pickings when the tide recedes. There was a Grey Heron on the tide line still, a Little Egret along the shore, just 8/10 Redshanks to be seen, but 4 more Eider on the sea. 

The great and the good of Knott End recently unveiled a tribute to the artist L.S. Lowry who was a regular visitor to Knott End during the 1940’s and 1950’s. His paintings depicting this coastline were in stark contrast to his more famous, some say "gloomy", paintings of industrial scenes, but both contained his trademark “matchstick” men and women. In the near right background is the celebrated jetty and in the distance the town of Fleetwood. 

"LS Lowry" at Knott End

 Lowry plaque

It was time to hit the road. 

Τα λέμε σύντομα. Or as they say in Greece, “see you soon”.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Linda said...

So beautiful, Phil!

Margaret Adamson said...

All trimed up and ready for your holidays. Have a greast time and bring backlots of photographs.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, wonderful post and beautiful bird photos. I like teh matchstick man and his dog. Wishing you a great and safe trip to Greece!

Findlay Wilde said...

I really do like Oyster Catchers and that Kestrel picture is brilliant.

David Gascoigne said...

Hmmmm........catching up with their balls; checking their rocks. There is a whole Freudian undertone here! Have a great time in Greece; it may be a challenge given the plight of those poor people fleeing from the world's conflict zones.

Adam Jones said...

Great Kestrel shot Phil, and the Pied Wagtail. Enjoy your holiday.

Jo said...

Hi Phil, the pied wagtail looks a bit different to the African Pied Wagtail we get here in South Africa. Love the story about the painter and his dog. Will you be birding and blogging from Greece? Have a great time there anyway. Greetings. Jo

Chris Rohrer said...

Greece??!!!! You lucky duck!!!! Have fun and enjoy your holiday. Hair cut....birds....and prepping for a trip....not bad in my books. Find lots of great birds. I have a feeling that the cost of living will be cheaper in Greece as well???:)

Silver Parrot said...

What a great collection of birds to have seen on a quick jaunt. Love the kestrel!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) So many great sightings, and I love the Kestral shot, and how did you get close enough to capture the Pied Wagtail? Whenever I try, they fly just another few metros away to tease me.
I visited the Lowry Museum when it first opened,and enjoyed it very much. Have a great holiday,and look forward to seeing more fantastic shots on your safe return.

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