Saturday, February 27, 2016

An Owl Or Two, Or Three Or Four

This morning I set off birding on a regular route north over Stalmine Moss. A telegraph pole Kestrel was the first notable bird, unless I was to count common Blackbirds. There’d been a few near misses of the dark shapes along the way. It’s one of the perils of early morning driving along country lanes in the half light of a springtime morning where Blackbird territories seem to be not linear but to criss-cross east to west almost immediately in front of a moving vehicle. 

Next came a pair of Little Owls sat in a tree alongside Union Lane. The owls may have changed their affections in recent years by crossing to the other side. It was in 2008 and then in 2012 when Will and I found youngsters squashed into the roof space of an outbuilding to the south of the road, but extricated them in order to ring each one. Nowadays the regular Little Owls of the birding tourist trail hang out to the north of the road at a different farm - unless of course there’s more than one pair of Little Owls in the Fylde? 

Little Owl

I tuned right at Lancaster Lane where an early morning togger was on the prowl for an owl or two. A veritable enthusiast and probable expert judging by the car complete with an impressive “OWL” number plate. I turned tail and headed for Cockerham and Moss Edge just in time to see a Barn Owl fly off in the direction of Lancaster Lane. Maybe OWL would see an owl after all? 

Barn Owl

Along Moss Edge was a familiar car so I braked – JR working on a Saturday morning while I worked at birding – such dedication from both. I relayed news of the Barn Owl from two minutes before and then set off towards Braides and Conder Green. 

Beyond Braides Farm were several thousand grey geese where a couple of hours with a scope might reveal an intruder or two amongst the majority pinkfeet. I heard tell lately that thousands of Pink-footed Geese and good numbers of Whooper Swans remained in Iceland during their mild mid-winter when normally both species would migrate and remain here in the UK until March and April. 

On the Braides fields I counted 24 Lapwing, 2 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret. 

Before hitting Conder Green I detoured around Moss Lane and then Jeremy Lane where as luck would have it there appeared another Barn Owl. The light was better now. 

Barn Owl

At Conder Green all appeared as mostly normal - 52 Teal, 120 Curlew, 30 Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe, 18 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 8 Oystercatcher, 2 Grey Heron and 2 Pied Wagtail. A flight of 140+ Black-tailed Godwits appeared as if from nowhere but as they turned and headed down I could see they were about to land in the still wet fields south of the canal. 

Black-tailed Godwits

On the way back towards Pilling the Linnets at Wrampool were as flighty as ever with about 40 today along with a singing and territorial Pied Wagtail plus a patrolling Kestrel. 

At Fluke Hall Lane and Backsands Lane - 26 Curlew, 44 Redshank, 26 Lapwing, 350 Pink-footed Geese plus at the hall itself a calling Nuthatch in amongst the nest boxes. 

Pink-footed Geese

Please visit Another Bird Blog soon for more birds and owls. There’s always one but sometimes two, three or even four. 

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and Anni's blog. She would rather be birding too.


Wally Jones said...

What a great almost-Spring morning you had! That many owls in one outing would be a banner day for me! Just sighting a Barn Owl would be quite special. The flight of Godwits would also make my day. Come to think of it, seeing any birds at all makes my day better.

I won't apologize any more for not keeping up with blogging (yours or mine!) as it seems to have become a way of life lately. Nothing like not being able to get out to enjoy birding to make one appreciate how much we take it for granted.

All is actually quite well here. Our yard birds seem to think Spring is very close indeed. Lots of nest scouting and singing taking place.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful owls, thanks for sharing these great photo's.

All the best Jan

Jo said...

What an amazing morning you had seeing so many owls. I know the barn owl but seeing your Little Owl is a first. Happy birding to you.

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

Great photos of beautiful, fascinating and cute birds!

Anni said...

That first owl image is precious....looks like a ball of feathers. I so fell in love with it-love at first sight.

Now your other birds are fantastic too, don't get me wrong. And your narration is a piece of literature once always get me 'into' it so well, with birding AND banding. Do I understand you correctly?---some owls were killed, intentionally? Or did the roof cave in?

You have a good number of birds seen on your day's outing. Well done.

Anni said..., I understand. :-) Thank you for setting me straight.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

unless I was to count common Blackbirds

4 and twenty, baked in a pie?

Love the Little Owl, what a face!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Sounds lika a great morning. I love the owls.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Amazing captures of all the birds, especially the Owls. The Little Owl is a cute ball of feathers, just love that image. I have never seen one in all the years I have lived on a farm.
Happy Birding!:)

June Caedmon said...

I might actually turn into a morning person if I could see owls every morning! How exciting! We have an owl here, but I've only glimpsed him a time or two when we're driving in late at night. Wonderful captures, Phil!

Stuart Price said...

Sounds like a great morning Phil.............

eileeninmd said...

Wow, so many owls. What an awesome day you had, I am envious. I would love to see the barn owl. Great photos and post. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I suppose those birds remained in Iceland because it didn't get as cold as it used to? If so, that is not good news at all.

Your owls are wonderful... So many kinds. The Little Owl looks like a stuffed toy. Too cute to be real . You live near a birding Paradise, even if some didn't migrate.

mick said...

Great photos of all the birds and especially the owls but I would also like to see a flock of that many black-tailed Godwits. I have only seen the occasional one or two down this way.

Stewart M said...

The last Barn Owl I saw was in Somerset! They are here, but I have not managed to see one yet! Maybe this weekend!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Fun60 said...

I can always rely on your post for some excellent photos of British birds.

Unknown said...

Hi Phil, lovely images, I am a wildlife photographer and fortunately am blessed with Little Owls but would like an early morning out after the baronies. Where are the locations you mention please? I.E. Lancaster Lane etc? I have looked under Cockerham and Pilling etc but cannot seem to find the locations

Lea said...

We have owls here, but I hardly ever see them. Love your photos!

Sharon Wagner said...

What a sight, to see a barn owl in flight. They have such a haunting look. What a great birding day. Thanks so much for dropping by my creative writing blog. And for your comment on my illustration!

Marie C said...

Just LOVE the owls! Such wonderful birding ventures. Enjoyed reading about them! Your photos are awesome!

Findlay Wilde said...

Stunning owl pictures

Chris Rohrer said...

I always know migration is upon you over there when Pink-footed Geese are spotted. Excellent collection of birds as always. Yet another good outing:)

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