Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Early Doors Birding

The forecast promised three or four hours of sunshine. So there was just enough time to get some birding in before the day’s babysitting at 9am. Mid-day and it's raining.

I hit the road north in the direction of Pilling and Conder Green. 

Conder Green, Lancashire

I had lost track of the tide times so found myself at the creek just as the tide filled, an outcome with both good and bad points, depending upon the depth of the water caused by the tidal bore, the speed and height of which can vary considerably. Many of the birds that feed in the shallow water of the creeks find themselves flooded out so then head off to roost on the higher sandbanks of the Lune or on Conder Pool just yards away. 

A Barn Owl took advantage of the situation and spent thirty minutes or more searching a wide area of marsh and field for a meal, stopping only briefly to take a look around. Barn Owls are surprisingly fast fliers for anyone looking to take an action shot, with a single bird spending a good time on the wing. They pause or rest less than one might imagine from the many and varied photographs which often show them using fences or similar objects. 

Barn Owl

The tide worked in my favour today when many waders found their way to the pool, including 13 Common Sandpipers, 100+ Lapwing, 40+ Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew. Common Sandpipers have returned with a vengeance, the breeding season finished for many of those which arrive in the UK in early spring. They raise just one brood and then head back to Africa with little delay. 

Lapwings have not bred here on the pool with their present numbers swelled by fairly local birds from the many marshes and fields nearby. Autumn and Winter will bring a much larger influx from Scotland and Europe. 

Common Sandpiper



The resident Common Terns still feed their dependant young on a distant island but rarely come close enough for a picture. Likewise the breeding but shy Avocets, strangely quiet today. From a start of four chicks I fear there may be one or even none of the fluffy youngsters left. 


The road here at Conder Green is badly potholed and damaged due to passing heavy traffic from nearby Glasson Dock coupled with the occasional high tides that wash over it. The local Oystercatchers don’t mind too much. There’s usually a morsel or two of food to be found in the broken, bumpy and uneven surface of what passes for a road. 


The usual Grey Heron and Little Egret obliged with wildfowl represented by 3 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck and a healthy but uncounted number of Mute Swan and Mallard. 

It was good to see Swifts this morning with 40+ feeding over the hawthorn hedge at early doors, together with 15+ Swallow and a handful of Sand Martins. This is the highest number of Swifts I’ve seen at home this year, a tiny number compared to the many thousand I noted migrating through the island of Menorca in early May. Let’s hope that our declining Swift is doing rather better in other parts of Northern Europe than here in Great Britain. 

Along the hedgerow I found 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Sedge Warbler, 4 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Linnet, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Song Thrush. 

Young Swallows were about today, fresh from a nearby nest but taking a rest along a five-barred metal gate. Who can resist taking yet more pictures of our handsome Barn Swallow? Not me. 

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Please join in again soon. And now go back and “click the pics” for a closer look at those Swallows.

Linking today to Viewing Nature with EileenRun A Round Ranch  and  Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Santi Dominguez said...

Nice post.I like barn swallows.It is a good place to birding.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Such sweet poses of the Barn Swallow, You can't post too many photos of them, they are adorable little birds. All in all, another good morning of birding. Beautiful captures of all the birds
Phil, but the Barn Owl, and Avocet, along with the Barn Swallow, are my favourites.

Margaret Adamson said...

it suprisedme how oftern you see a Barn Owl Phil. That is a wonderful selection of birds you saw but my favourite shot if of the Avocet with the gorgeous reflection.

David Gascoigne said...

As you know, of course, the colour of the breast on your Barn Swallows is quite different from ours. if one were to accept colour differentiation as the prime indicator of classification, they would be considered unique species.

eileeninmd said...

Hello PHil, I wish we had the Lapwings here. Occasionally they may show up on a field, but they are a rare sightings. Great collection of birds and photos. Enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead!


I just LOVE those European Avocets. They're dressed in such dapper colors. Ours a bit mundane and 'faded'

I envy you going out on a boat, birding. And so much to your advantage, you found GREAT birds. Wonderful that you took us along today.

Bob Bushell said...

All those birds are something to brag about, well done Phil.

Linda said...

Beautiful reflections in one of your photos, Phil, and I love all the birds here! I really don't get to see many here in Montreal, so your posts are such a welcome joy!

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like the Corn Bunting in your header ...

I really like the reflection of the Avocet, perfect ...

Hope the babysitting went well!

All the best Jan

S S Cheema said...

Phil - wonderful birding so close to you. Lucky you and a great blog.

Adam Jones said...

Lovely to see the Barn Owl in that familiar position. Some great close ups too of the Common Sand and Swallows.

TexWisGirl said...

adorable swallow. :) graceful avocet. love the barn owl shot! thank you, phil!

Ida said...

Cool shot of the Owl on the fencing.
The little swallow was darling and I like the looks of the Lapwing, funny top notch.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil, great post and awesome photos. I love the Barn Owl and the Lapwings. The swallows are sweet. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Super series today! Have a great weekend, and Happy birding!

Rajesh said...

Very beautiful birds. Nice shot of swallow.

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