Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Purple Patch

Conder Green has its detractors, including those who complain they “never see anything there”. Perhaps it’s the same people who visit just periodically, expect to see the scarce birds that sometimes turn up there but who neglect to take an interest in the common birds that are always around? 

Anyway the old place is going through something of a purple patch at the moment with a pair of Common Terns breeding for the third successive year, and now this year a pair of Avocets. Both events have caused visitor numbers to increase and it’s good to see the interest shown. 

The Common Terns and the Avocets are both nesting on the same distant island of the pool where the water levels are currently ideal for species that wish to nest. A pair of Oystercatchers had two good sized youngsters this morning with three or four other pairs looking as though they might do similar. 



A few lingering Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta were in Menorca just a few weeks ago where my pal Javier told me that the Spanish name for Avocet is “cusisacs”, which means “sack-sower”; the curved shape of its bill being similar to the traditional darning needles used to repair sacks. 

It has taken Avocets a good number of years to adopt Conder Green considering the recent healthy populations in Morecambe Bay and on the Ribble Marshes, plus the fact that the species is now a regular rather than a spasmodic spring migrant in these parts. Not so on 1st April 1983 when I discovered one feeding along Pilling shore, following which the sighting was met with some scepticism by those who thought it an April Fool prank. Birders don't design wind-ups about rare birds.

The pool was quite busy, especially so when a Barn Owl appeared to jolt others from their parental duties. A number of birds joined in the mobbing to see the owl off site, including both terns, the male avocet and a couple of Oystercatchers but the owl wasn’t for lingering as it had food to deliver. It’s a rubbish shot but tells the story of how birds react to predators on their patch.  I saw a second or the same Barn Owl an hour or so later, this time from the road bridge. 

Common Tern and Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Also on the pool/creeks - 15 Shelduck, 15 Redshank, 2 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 3 Lapwing, 1 Curlew, 3 Greylag, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron and a flying visit from 12 Black-tailed Godwit. 

That’s a pretty good list by any standard but it’s not done yet as a walk around the area discovered 3 Stock Dove, 15 House Martin, 12 Swallow, 4+ Linnet, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Greenfinch, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Blackcap. 

Sedge Warbler

House Martins were collecting mud from the creeks, definitely building at Four Winds and trying to do so at Café De Lune where of course the proprietors have declared the martins to be persona non grata and made great efforts to keep the birds at bay. 

It was while watching the martins that a number of Redshanks exploded noisily from the nearby creeks as a Hobby shot through my vision and disappeared over the trees behind. Thoughts of the martins forgotten I looked for the Hobby without much hope, elusive creatures as they are.


That was a pretty eventful and productive morning on the old patch. I should do that more often.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday and  Run A Round Ranch.


Jo said...

I have returned to the dam on Hole No 5 (on our golf course) almost every day for the past nine months and see lots of birds. When I publish them on FB the locals say they never see this or that. Because they go once in a blue moon. I love the Oystercatcher and young. And the Sedge Warbler image is beautiful. Thanks for sharing these lovely birds. Have a great day. Jo

Stuart Price said...

Wow Phil, several species there that would have had me very excited if I'd seen them 25 years ago on the Ribble. Shows how times change..........

Not often you see a Barn Owl in the same frame as a Common Tern either.

Great Sedge Warbler photo.

Linda said...

A lovely array of species...beautiful captures!

Margaret Adamson said...

Lovely to see the young Oystercatch and that is a smasking shot of the flight of the Barn Owl although my favourite is the Sedge Warbler

David Gascoigne said...

Good to see you back in the saddle, so to speak. The picture of the Sedge Warbler is terrific and I can well imagine this kind of breeding activity makes you a happy man.


Love the Sedge Warbler in song. A perfectly timed wonderment that photo is. And your, much prettier than ours over here in USA.

Yep, the 'common' birds are always a thrill for me. I never tire of seeing them's like seeing them for the first time each time!

PS...I linked your blog ...mentioning you today.

Blogger Jedidja said...

Beautiful birds. I love the one on the fence!

TexWisGirl said...

thank you, phil. a beautiful warbler shot. loved the owl in flight, too. gorgeous avocet reflection.

Tanya Breese said...

wonderful the 2nd one with his reflection and the owl!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I always think an owl sighting is the best but that little warbler singing his heart out sure is sweet! Enjoy your day!

Ida said...

Great bird sightings. The little Warbler singing away on the fence post was adorable.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Great report and pics, Phil. Interesting how the assorted species team up to protect their chicks.

Karen said...

Ohhh, wonderful captures!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful birds photo. The barn owl photo is the most beautiful.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Gorgeous collection of birds and photos. I love the Avocet, Owl, the cute Oystercatcher chick and the Sedge Warbler. Great sightings. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Felicia said...

love the little sedge warbler, just a singing her heart out.

Phyllis Oller said...

wonderful captures!phyllis

Lowcarb team member said...

Some great photo's here Phil favourite is the Sedge Warbler photo, I can almost hear her song!

All the best Jan

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