Thursday, May 19, 2016

Back To The Grey Stuff

Keen to see what I had missed while on holiday in sunny Menorca, I spent most of the morning up Cockerham way. It was good to get out and do some local birding again, even in the grey May skies. 

At Wrampool and where I expected to see the Lapwing pair of three weeks ago, there’s a pair of nesting Oystercatchers instead. The female sat tight on the eggs while the male patrolled silently nearby, both trying to be inconspicuous. For such an obvious nest it will be interesting to see how well the birds do. 



Conder Green was quiet although it was good to see 2 Common Terns back on site. It must have been the male I saw at Glasson Dock soon after. It caught a tiny fish and flew immediately back towards Conder Green a quarter of a mile away where it would present it to the female. This is exactly the initial feeding pattern for last year which might suggest the male at least is one and the same bird. 

Common Tern at Glasson Dock

On the pool and in the creeks I found 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Oystercatcher, 12 Redshank, 14 Shelduck, 6 Tufted Duck 25 Mute Swan, 3 Little Egret and 1 Grey Heron. The stretch between Conder and Glasson Dock found a good number of birds in song - 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff. 


I saw handfuls only of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins on a cool morning with not many insects on the wing. The five or six House Martins were busily collecting mud from the roadside and flying up to this year’s preferred building. I noted that the wretched human occupants of the House Martin’s often used gable end of the café have installed strips of plastic under the eaves to keep the martins out. 

House Martin territory 

House Martin

What a joy it would be to have House Martins around my own house each year. No such luck with a bungalow.  A neighbour has 6/8 pairs each year under the eaves of a large house and doesn’t mind sweeping the path when the martins are in residence. 

A circuit of Jeremy Lane and Moss Lane proved very rewarding. In a stubble field were 18+ Stock Doves, 30+ Wood Pigeon and several Lapwings, some of them with largish youngsters. Brown Hares were conspicuous if rather distant with a combined count of 15+ scattered across several fields. 

 Brown Hares

The ditches, fences and hedgerows gave counts of 6 Sedge Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 5 Reed Bunting and 8+ Skylark, the male Sedge Warblers in particular giving some virtuoso performances and showing themselves to good effect. 

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

There was a Barn Owl in the distance. I watched from the car as it sailed along the ditch coming ever closer, stopping occasionally to take a closer look below. The last shot is taken through the car windscreen, hence the fuzziness. I must learn to clean the windscreen!

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Oh well, as a birder you can’t win them all. But as a morning goes, it was pretty damn good. 

I’ll post new pictures from Menorca soon. Don’t miss them, so remember to look in to Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Run A Round Ranch.


Margaret Adamson said...

you did well to gt out and about even through the temperatures are down from your holiday venue. Your header is superb and in fact all your images are great even the one through the windscreen! You were very fortunate to be able to get the Sedge warbler to get out of the reeds for these portrait shots


I never tire of your photos of barn owls [or any other owl for that matter]...especially ones flying.

Love ALL your photos Phil. As always. And if you're back home in the 'grey' world, you haven't seen GREY like we did on Monday. I've got proof on my blog today.

LV said...

A wonderful world of birds. The one in your header is breathtaking.

David Gascoigne said...

As a dedicated birder I expect you to erect a perimeter fence around the Oystercatcher's nest and mount a twenty-four hour guard. Nothing less will suffice. As for the people who bar the House Martins, a pox on their house - several poxes in fact, a plague even, pestilence, locusts in their garden, caterpillars in their cabbage.Nothing is too dire for them. JERKS!

Linda said...

Gorgeous series, Phil! Here in Montreal, there is a certain waterfront area where there is a large home for purple martins! :) It is high up and they have a beautiful view.

TexWisGirl said...

loved both sets of fence sitters. :)

Chandra@GreenComotion said...

Beautiful pictures of so many different birds, Phil.
I love them all.
Glad I stopped by!
Have a Happy Week ahead.
Peace :)

Ida said...

The Warbler is so cute, looks to be saying something important there.
Loved the Barn Owl and the Bunny.

Anu said...

A wonderful series of birds and great photos. The Barn owl is a beautiful bird.

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Excelente trabalho e belas fotografias.
Um abraço e bom fim de semana.

Stuart Price said...

Wow some great shots there Phil, you don't need to move to Menorca after all.............

Vandana Sharma said...

So, much peace and serenity with nature to be all around.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Sorry I'm late in visiting, recently it just takes so much longer to get things done. Your header capture is so beautiful, and all the grey bird shots are lovely.:)

sandyland said...

I've been sick all week such a treat your blog

Lowcarb team member said...

Just love your header photo ...

We have had grey skies here today, but I have spent time catching up with blog reading, which I really enjoy. I get to visit some amazing places and enjoy some great photographs.

So cute those hares, and a great selection of birds too, which is just as well as this is 'Another Bird Blog'

Happy weekend to you

All the best Jan

Lea said...

I like the Sedge Warbler photos the best!

Anni said... the way I love the new header here too Phil.

I'm back for another visit...For the weekend, I want to send along my thanks and appreciation for sharing your link at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Keep 'em coming.

Kay L. Davies said...

All those wonderful birds and then a barn wonderful, Phil. I'm glad I've finally got my blog back online so I can talk to you again. Just sending you a warning that I'm going to be in Britain in late October/early November, and might find myself looking for you at Kay's Chippy.
— Kay

Marie C said...

I always adore seeing the barn owls SO much! Beautiful photos! Loved the other sightings. Oh no... not grey...every bird a gem!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That was worth coming home for, even if you were probably freezing (perceived anyway). The barn owl is especially wonderful and I can just about hear the sedge warbler!

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures - I always had a real fondness for Oystercatchers.

I'll be in Scotland this time next week, so that gives me a chance to catch up with some old feathered friends.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Mary Cromer said...

Sedge Martins seems new to me, what lovely images you got of them. The Barn Owl always takes my breath away. Then the House Martin, oh yes, to be able to have them also near me, would be such pleasure. Oh well at least some are blessed and most do enjoy them, eve if they do make spots of messes along the way~

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