Sunday, June 26, 2016

More From The Hills

I’m not exactly an insomniac, more a light sleeper so these mid-summer mornings often find me awake at 4 in the morning. The kettle was on as I munched a breakfast banana. Through the kitchen window I could see the pipistrelle bats flying around the garden. We seem to have a lot this year as witnessed by the top of the recycle bin and the hundreds of droppings beneath the spot where the bats enter and leave the roof space. No problem, the bats are more than welcome to the many insects they consume. 

Bat Droppings

It wasn’t the brightest morning but I decided to head into the hills and try and bit more photography before the breeding season ends. 

The Bowland Hills

The bird list was much as last week although there was a definite increase in the number of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, more than a hundred pipits and dozens of Pied Wagtails. I saw both species carrying food whereby I imagine by mid to late June the adults will be on their second broods. 

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

 Pied Wagtail

A juvenile Lapwing wasn’t for moving from the roadside. The poor light and occasional drizzle needed ISO1600. Maybe there will be a sunny spell for the next visit? 


I saw at 4 or more Snipe this morning with at least two of them in “drumming” mode but none would pose on a fence like the one last week. “Drumming”(or “winnowing”) is a sound produced by Snipe as part of their courtship display flights. The sound is produced mechanically in the slipstream of a power dive (rather than vocally) by the vibration of the modified outer tail feathers held out at a wide angle to the body.


I saw three Red Grouse in exactly the same patch of ground as a week ago but no Grey Partridge today. 

Red Grouse

Taking care not to scare them prematurely the local Oystercatchers are pretty amenable to a photograph, especially if they have young around and need to keep an eye on them. 



Once very common in Bowland the Redshank seem pretty scarce up here nowadays, a casualty of the overall decline in upland birds like Curlew, Lapwing, Golden Plover and Dunlin. A Redshank came to see me off from its patch before flying back to where it had youngsters some 30 yards away. 


Along the stream were two or three pairs of Common Sandpipers, one pair protesting loudly when the car stopped alongside their patch. It was a clear sign of youngsters about, so I left them in peace. The picture is more than a little blurred in the poor light coupled with not enough ISO. 

Common Sandpiper

Other birds today – Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow, Swift, Blackbird, Siskin, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove , Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Grey Wagtail.

Linking today to Anni's Birding.


Anni said...

Once again, another extraordinary post and fabulous photos. I loved 'watching and listening' to the snipe drumming. That's something I've never witnessed...and probably never will with the exception of birders like you, sharing.

That redshank is a dazzling bird. Love how it posed for you. And your country 'hill' image in the early morning light is super, Phil. I love early mornings - best time of day for me.

Do bats eat mosquitoes? I'd like some imported to my back yard if so.

Thanks, as always for sharing your birding world with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) It's amazing how many bird sighting you have in one morning. They are all beautiful birds, and as always great captures.
The Pied Wagtail is a lovely photo,..I'm in awe, because I still haven't been able to get a good shot of one. I enjoyed the video clip of the snipe drumming. The sound is unlike anything I have heard before, but will now be unmistakable.:)

Linda said...

What a lovely and glorious assortment of birds, Phil! You are so fortunate to be so closely with them like this.

Wally Jones said...

It's encouraging to see the bat activity. Our local populations have declined quite a bit over the past two decades due primarily to habitat disruption of their food sources as well as brooding areas.

Also, it's great to see so much evidence of bird breeding activity! Of course,it happens each year but we often become too distracted by other life events to notice. Thank goodness for diligent birders!

Terrific video of the Snipe! When searching for their nesting sites before dawn, that distinct sound is often the only way we have of knowing they are nearby.

Thank you so much for sharing a breath of fresh air. I needed it.

David Gascoigne said...

A trip to the hills was obviously very worth while. I expect you will be doing it again soon. Kudos to you for tolerating the bat droppings. It's a small price to pay for the sheer pleasure of having them around. And it's nothing that a good broom and a little elbow grease won't fix in no time at all.

S S Cheema said...

Thanks for sharing. A great morning you have had. I read about drumming for the first time and made and absolutely wonderful reading and a great video to go with it.

jMo said...

That pied wagtail is a handsome one.

NC Sue said...

Great photos!
So glad you explained the bat droppings. Your photo had me wondering!
Thanks for joining the party at

David Gascoigne said...

Hi Phil: I am sure that I left a comment earlier on this post, but perhaps for some reason you didn't see it. Basically I said that you had some great birds in the hill country and will no doubt wish to return there soon. I also offered my congratulations for being willing to put up with a little bat poop in exchange for having the joy of bats around your house. A good broom and a little elbow grease will take care of the mess.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, awesome variety of birds and photos Phil! I see bats in the evening flying over my yard, they are fun to watch!

Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Fun60 said...

Your photos are so beautiful

carol l mckenna said...

Always a wonderful post and bird photography ~ magnificent ~ looks more interesting and restful than London where I went recently ~ had to come home and rest ~

Happy Week to you and Happy Fourth of July ~ ^_^ in the USA

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh Phil -- I was going to mention that the sandpiper picture didn't have enough ISO... Not. (Not really. I had to ask Bill what ISO stood for ... I didn't notice a thing wrong with the picture before I learned what it meant and I didn't notice a thing wrong even after he told me.) I hope you don't get tired of this amateur birder/amateur photographer reading your blog! I really do learn from you. And I do envy the beautiful birds you see and photograph on an ordinary morning. I'm a light sleeper too, but it doesn't do me that much good! I love bats -- and I can tell you that there weren't enough of them in the Steens Mountains which we visited last week. The mosquitoes were fierce.

mick said...

The sound of the Snipe drumming is fascinating. I have read about it before but had no idea it sounded like that. I also especially like the Redshank - wish I could see one of them!

Rhonda Albom said...

LOL - I didn't know Snipes were real. The Pied Wagtail is a beautiful bird, I also never knew. I have a hat that I wore into a cave that reminds me of your first photo.

Kristiina said...

Just anazing photos once again.

R. Täysin arkista

Lowcarb team member said...

Simply amazing photo's, although I must admit the bat droppings were a little different!!!

ALl the best Jan

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