Thursday, November 12, 2015

Out For The Count

Today the rain finally stopped, the wind took a break and there was a chance to do some birding. 

I started off at Conder Green. After a week of rain the pool was pretty full and the River Conder rushed to the estuary at a fair old rate. It’s easy to forget that this normally lethargic stretch of water begins at Littledale in Bowland, drops down through Quernmore, Ellel and Galgate before meeting the Lune estuary at Conder Green. By the time the water reaches the coast it is usually little more than a puddle, and only when the tidal Lune rises does the Conder swell with estuarine water. 

The name of the river was recorded in the 13th century as Kondover and Kondoure with the meaning "crooked waters". There has been a watering place here for many a year next to the twisting creeks where Grey Herons, Kingfishers and others search for food. The inn dates from the late 17th century when storks and herons were one and the same and birders a rare sight. 

Grey Heron

 The Stork - Conder Green

Conder Green

In the creeks this morning were waders and wildfowl - 75 Teal, 2 Goosander, 6 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Redshank, 4 Curlew, 1 Spotted Redshank and a single Little Egret. On the swollen pool I counted just 12 Little Grebe and 4 Wigeon. 




The road towards the bridge had handfuls only of House Sparrows, Chaffinch and Greenfinch plus a single Pied Wagtail. I searched for the wintering Common Sandpiper but didn’t see it this time. 

I was soon heading for Fluke Hall but stopped at Braides Farm thinking that the fields there might be flooded after recent rain. A distant flash held bathing Starlings and a couple of Curlews but otherwise nothing except for a watching Buzzard along a fence. At Sand Villa were 2 Kestrels, one hovering beside the road with another gliding low over the field play-acting as a Sparrowhawk. 

At Fluke the midday tide was starting its plan to cover the marsh as huge flocks of mainly Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Redshank joined in the roost flights. The brief sun had gone to be replaced by the usual grey stuff and I wasn’t for counting. Let’s just say “many thousands”, especially the Knot. 

 Mainly Knot

There was a Mistle Thrush calling from the tree tops of Fluke Hall while down below a Kingfisher flew across the woodland pool and then out of sight. This particular Kingfisher seems to be a regular whereas the many autumn sightings at Conder Green and Glasson have dwindled to zero. Also in the wood I found 12-15 Blackbirds and 15+ Chaffinch. 

It was here in the wood that I observed two Robins in a very physical territorial dispute, going hammer and tongs at each other for a minute or so. At one point both birds were splayed out on the ground kicking and pecking at each other, rolling over and over until one broke off and flew into the undergrowth but pursued by the other. It’s not unknown in these disputes that one Robin should actually kill the other. The Robin is a good looking but pugnacious fighter and not to be taken at face value. 



In flooded stubble at Fluke Hall were approximately 23 Pied Wagtails and a handful of now wintering Meadow Pipits. It was difficult to be more precise with numbers as the birds were constantly flying across the field and then dropping into the lines of peaty stubble where they might disappear from view. 

Pied Wagtail

Towards Ridge Farm a flock of 70/80 Twite proved very mobile between the sea wall and the hedgerow until they eventually flew off towards the farm and out of sight. 

An enjoyable morning’s birding. There’s always something to see with Another Bird Blog so please visit again.

Linking today to Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday.


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Out for the count is a wonderful thing on your patch. What a great post. Loved the knotty crowd... Wow! And what amazing info about that sweet innocent looking bird, your Robin. Who would have guessed! That's a pretty amazing thing to witness and an amazing photo too.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

One of these days I may make it to Conder Green and I expect you to take me toThe Stork and buy me a glass of fine brandy!

Linda said...

So many beautiful birds here, Phil! I have seen grey herons here in Montreal but they pretty much keep a very low profile. They stand so still, like statues, and unless one is vigilant you wouldn't even know it is there.

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Fantastic to see all those Knot. Never saw Robins fighting, thanks gooness but know thaat 10% do ie from territorial fights.

Noushka said...

Very impressive this fight between the 2 robins.
I have quite a few in my garden but I never witnessed such a fight.
Lovely array of waders too :)

Jo said...

What awesome birds you've posted and interesting history about Condor Green. I've seen Sparrows fighting but till now thought that Robins were "above" that sort of thing! Thanks for sharing. Jo

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Good to see a spot of Conder Green there Phil, lovely it is too. The swell of birds flying up like that, must be very thrilling. I love when large groups of birds take off, and their voices rise, makes my heart race.
The territorial dispute with the Robins, my goodness they do that here as well. We have had hundreds of them daily for a month now, and almost all Cedar berries are gone, Honeysuckle, and everything else is just about taken, and yet I can still hear them and remember them. Phil they would chase one another through the tree branches so fast and with such fury, I nearly got hit a couple of times while standing and watching them. Crazy wild.
I think you may have missed my bird ID post from last week and will publish a new post today. We get so busy here and I am sure you do as well, and harder to keep up. Happy weekend to you and yours~

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I am just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

eileeninmd said...

PS, I though I left a comment before. My mistake.. I enjoyed this post with the gorgeous birds, the view of the Condor Green and the thousands of Knots. Awesome sightings and great photos. Happy Birding!

A Colorful World said...

Crooked water...lovely name. I love to learn the origins of words! Especially of beautiful places! Love the snipe and curlew. The robins...who would ever believe those sweet little creatures would fight each other so savagely!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Two things which stand out today the fighting robins something I have never seen before but only heard about, and the sky full of Knots, gosh I just had an image of twisted clouds in the sky.:) I digress, because I want to mention your lovely shots of the Redshank, Curlew, Snipe, and Stork,:)) it looks like a great place to quench ones thirst.Have a good weekend!

Breathtaking said...

Hello again Phil, Just came back to tell you that you were right in thinking that we live high up on a mountain side.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Good capture of the robin battle, Phil.

Did you know when I was a Boy Scout, a "snipe hunt" was a joke wild goose chase for the new kids, because nobody was every going to see one?

Adam Jones said...

Cracking looking Snipe Phil. Love the Curlew too.

Anni said...

Fabulous outing!!! Your words had me there with you. Loved reading your description on the pools, the river, the area after the rains. And your images. That one with the territorial dispute and robins is incredible. The Godwits, the curlews...well, all of them, Phil...they're ALL fantastic. Enjoyed this birding trip, I did.

Thank you for sharing at I'd Rather B Birdin'!!

genie said...

These are all such pretty captures of the birds. Its my first Gray Heron, and the robin is so dear. I did not realize they were such fierce fighters. They look so innocent. It was interesting to read about how the name of the river has changed over the years.

Fun60 said...

I didn't realise the robin could be so violent. That's a great photo of the two of them.

mick said...

A great series of photos and the one of all the birds in flight is especially interesting. Very interesting about the pugnacious nature of the robin. When I think of all my very young books showing it as a perfect, beautiful, and gentle little bird!!! Well! the "fibs" that grown-up tell children!!! Thanks for finally telling me the truth!

Powell River Books said...

That's a big flock. I've never heard of knot before. - Margy

Rohrerbot said...

I cannot believe the number of Knots! That is amazing. The sparring robins...or ninja warriors:) Why can't we all get along?:) Great behavioral stuff here. Have a great rest of your week!

NCSue said...

what were those silly robins up to? Were they courting or sparring or arguing over a feast of some sort?
Nice shots here as always.
Hope to see you at this week's Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday):

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