Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Turn To Go

It was my turn to top up the Oakenclough feeding station today. The continued rain and wind suggests the next ringing session may be later rather than sooner, but we live in hope. 

Nearby St Michael’s village has suffered a bad episode of flooding via the River Brock but the Fylde Coast as a whole has escaped relatively unscathed from the severe floods that devastated parts of Lancashire and Cumbria just to the north of here. The wholesale destruction has led to the loss of life, homes and livelihoods. St Michael’s and the A586 was still blocked by floodwater this morning so I took a detour through Cockerham, past the flooded fields of Winmarleigh Moss and headed to the north of Garstang and a drive into the hills. 

At Cockerham the still very flighty Linnets look to have increased to more than 140 birds feeding in the area of a weedy set-aside. They flew around constantly before they settled down to feed or sit along a barbed wire fence, only to erupt into flight again within just a few seconds. 

There was a Kestrel about which probably accounts for the Linnets’ wariness. Although mainly a specialist in taking small mammals a Kestrel is also an opportunist hunter not averse to snatching small birds should they make themselves available. There was a male Stonechat feeding in the same field which sat up on weedy stems a few times in between bouts of feeding before I lost sight of it. 



Predictably there was a Buzzard along the fences at Braides Farm. There must be a wealth of invertebrate food here as there are always one and very often two Buzzards present. 


Just past the village of Oakenclough I came upon a flock of mixed finches in roadside alder trees, approximately 40 Goldfinch, 15 Chaffinch and 12 Siskin. The flock was considerably more birds than I saw 500 yards away at our feeding station, a somewhat open spot which has taken a real battering during wet and windy November/December. I topped up the feeding station, counted a single Mistle Thrush, half-a-dozen Chaffinch, a few Goldfinch and Blackbirds and then crossed my fingers before heading down to the coast again. 

Back at Cockerham a flight of 8 Whooper Swans flew inland in the direction of Pilling Moss where there have been recent counts of up to 200 birds on the flooded stubble of Eagland Hill. 

Whooper Swans

Meanwhile at Fluke Hall yet another flooded field held over 250 passerines in flocks of both single and mixed species. All were very flighty due to the constant passage of nearby people and vehicles, not least the number of dog walkers who encouraged their animals to both run wild and also defecate on private land where crops will be grown in spring. The birds flew constantly between the sea wall, the nearby hedgerow and the field itself but after a while I estimated the birds as 135 Twite, 55 Goldfinch, 18 Skylark, 15 Tree Sparrow, 12 Linnet, 12 Meadow Pipit, 10 Pied Wagtail and 10 Chaffinch. 


There’s more birding and photos soon from Another Bird Blog. With luck and fair weather there may even be a spot of ringing to report. Stay tuned.

Linking today to I'd Rather Be BirdingEileen's Saturday and Run-A-Round Ranch.


Chris Rohrer said...

Nice report. Hopefully the weather will clear up a bit but I find that sometimes that rain helps push the birds into active mode. As for the flooding....not good.

Linda said...

Ahhhh....beautiful, Phil, just what I needed. Thank you!

Hannah said...

We are having lots of rain and some flooding here too, Phil. You are faithful to go take food to the feeding station. The chickadees were anxious for food when we got home today. Your Whooper Swans in flight look like a painting! The Goldfinch looks a little hunkered down. Lots of birds to see there!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, great outing. I like the lineup of Linnets and the Whooper Swans. The Goldfinch is a favorite of mine too.
Wonderful photos. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Looks like a fun outing. Your photos are amazing. Gorgeous Goldfinch!
Have a nice day~

Tanya Breese said...

i love those little linnets all lined up!

Felicia said...

I love the lineup of linnets. :>)

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

We can never have enough bird blogs! Especially with shots like these. Great work!

TexWisGirl said...

sweet little line-up and i like the raptor, too!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Nice shots, Phil. Good luck with the ringing next time!

Mas Rip said...

i love linnet song,listen bird sound here :D

David Gascoigne said...

I can't believe the weather you are having over there. Thank goodness you are not in immediate jeopardy. Stay safe my friend.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, Just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. I hope your weather has cleared up and the rain is gone.

Have a happy weekend!

Bob Bushell said...

A beautiful trip out, and all the birds that you have, especially Linnets and Whooper Swans. Beautiful images.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Beautiful photos! I'm sorry to hear about the flooding problems.

Wally Jones said...

We truly hope the rains have abated and the land will have a chance to drain a bit. If I could figure out how to do it, I would send you a slice of our bright blue sky and sunshine this morning.

Good on you for continuing to top of feeders and check on the status of all the birds in the area. Despite conditions, it seems you're still getting some good numbers, although I understand the weather isn't helping to get any ringing done.

Splendid series of images! The Buzzard is very similar to our most abundant Buteo, the Red-shouldered Hawk, which is also to be seen on fence posts everywhere around here.

Stay as dry as possible and consider hiring a new meteorologist!

Anni said...

You know me and those finches!!! So jealous I am!! Your photos are once again exceptionally brilliant!! I love the muted dappling of the Stonechat [a new one to see at your site I believe?] And the flight of the swans.

Now I have a question...this too is new "Fylde" is this pronounced? Like field perhaps?

Thanks for adding your link to this post at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

Lea said...

Your Buzzards are so much more handsome than Buzzards here in the US!
Hope you are having a great day!

Ida said...

Such a cute shot of the Linnets lined up on the fence and I really like that shot of the Buzzard on the fence. That looks like some wicked wire.

Marie C said...

Great report of the work. Love the Linnets on the fence!

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