Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Late Owls

“Sun until midday and then rain from the west” advised the not always trusty weathercaster. This time they were spot on and I’m happy I made the effort to get up early and grab a few hours birding because while I’m blogging indoors, outside it may be about to start raining cats and dogs. 

A Kingfisher was the first bird I saw at Conder Green. Unfortunately it was a good distance away on the “nearest” but too far away island for a decent picture. Thank goodness for my archived pictures for readers who’d like to see a real Kingfisher. Our European Kingfisher occurs in Egypt too, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to that region any time soon. 


Those Avocets are still around and although the youngster has yet to fledge it was doing some serious flapping in readiness for the big day. The single adult remains ultra-protective in chasing anything and everything away from the corner of the pool the Avocets have called home for months now. 


Other waders and wildfowl noted as 120+ Lapwing, 50+ Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 3 Snipe, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret and 2 Wigeon, so few changes there. 

Little Grebe have increased to nine continuing their daily habit of adding one new member to the flock. New grebes appear as if by magic each day and while they can occasionally be seen pitter-pattering across the surface of the water, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Little Grebe fly, neither can I recall speaking to anyone who has. Many of our wintering Little Grebes are from the near-Continent with some arriving from Eastern Europe and Russia, so we must assume that they are able to fly? 

Little Grebe

I noted small birds as 6 Swift, 2 Stock Dove, 6 Pied Wagtail, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Greenfinch, 10 Linnet and 15 Goldfinch. There is a good crop of thistles this year but I’m not sure there’s an equal number of Goldfinches to do justice to the seed heads yet. It’s early for huge flocks of Goldfinches with September usually the peak month. 


At Glasson, 80 + Swallows feeding/resting around the boats and the basin, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 12 Coot. 

Tufted Duck

On the way home I came upon two sibling Barn Owls hunting the same area of ground. The owls flew around a couple of roadside rough fields, quickly establishing a routine which centred on a ditch and a number of old buildings, places where both they and I would expect to find small mammals. 

Barn Owl
I stayed patiently in my car knowing that these young owls wouldn’t stray far and would also pass my way soon. Along comes a bloke in a car, who displaying not an ounce of field craft, decides to not only get out of his vehicle but to then walk up and down the road with his camera. This right next to the field the owls were hunting, but where the nutter perhaps expected that these wild birds would somehow fly or pose right next to him. I waited several minutes but needless to say to say the owls moved away from the immediate area. I left the clueless idiot wandering up and down the roads with the owls nowhere to be seen. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

No doubt this particular location will now be broadcast to all and sundry resulting in hordes of similarly enlightened folk harassing the same owls and annoying the farmer, not to mention continually disturbing the birds. That’s what always happens because most of these folk are so clueless and lazy minded they can’t think that there might just be Barn Owls elsewhere and then try to find others to watch instead.

Linking today to Run A Round Ranch.


Jo said...

Hi Phil, I love your Avocet image; likewise all the others. Sorry about the over-enthusiastic birder. They're known here as twitchers; would this be the same in the UK? I think this man fell into the "twitcher" category for sure! Have a great day. Jo

David Gascoigne said...

Most of these idiots who disturb the owls so badly are, at least in my experience, photographers rather than birders. Firstly they display a total ignorance of what would help them to get the best shot, and I suspect that the welfare of the bird would not be even a remote consideration for them. It's a hard and fast rule here, that unless we know the person and are confident of his/her field skills and respect for the bird, we NEVER divulge the location of an owl.

Wally Jones said...

Thank you for unselfishly rising early so the rest of us could selfishly sleep in and still enjoy (vicariously) a morning of birding. You are truly a gentleman.

And you sacrifice paid off handsomely! I know, for you, it was likely a mediocre morning as far as the count is concerned, but any day I could see avocets and owls would be quite special indeed!

I started thinking about my experiences with our nearest relative to your Little Grebe, the Pied-billed Grebe, and couldn't recall ever seeing one fly either. Now I shall be on a quest to catch one of the rascals at it and produce photographic evidence!

Speaking of photography, that was NOT me stalking your owls! I learned early on that a vehicle can be one of the best hides around. Add to that, it reduces the amount of walking I have to do and why would I want to leave a perfectly warm/cool, dry car if I don't have to? Hope all that blighter's images are overexposed.

All is good hear in the Sauna State of Florida and hope to soon be in the field (or the car) chasing migrants! Take care!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Oh my goodness the Avocet image is so beautiful, the Owl, Goldfinch, and Kingfisher, are also lovely shots. Most of my best bird shots have been taken from inside my hide, or car. It's only common sense to keep hidden, when photographing any kind of wild life. Sorry you didn't get to take more pictures of the owls.

The book hasn't arrived yet,I'm hoping it will arrive this week. I'll let you know when it does.

Absinthe said...

Instead of criticising the chap, why not have a word and help him to be more compliant with your birding needs next time?

He would probably really appraciet the advcie an experienced birder like you could give him.

Linda said...

Beautiful variety here, Phil, and your Avocet photo is absolutely stunning!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Nice pics. I'm still amazed by your goldfinches, so different than those at my feeders. I'm going to include a barn owl in my post for next week.

Stuart Price said...

For something so elegant Avocets aresurprisingly aggressive............

Margaret Adamson said...

That shot of the Avocet with itsreflection is stunning Phil. lovely Kingfisher as well as the Owl

Vandana Sharma said...

bautiful images and the magnificent kingfisher!!! I think people need to be educated about birds , so that they donot thnk that they are harming thier farm of other things.

carol l mckenna said...

More gorgeous bird photo with a touch of a 'neat fence'.

Wishing you a Happy Weekend coming up ~

Bob Bushell said...

Fantastic images Phil, my favourite is the Kingfisher, gorgeous.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Beautiful photos. We just visited Toronto and saw a pigeon! :-)

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, great collection of birds. I love the Kingfisher, Avocet and the Barn Owl. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

A Quiet Corner said...

Phil, isn't is so annoying when you are totally respecting nature and waiting patiently and someone just walks in...I find that very frustrating. However, your shots were well worth it...those owl shots are outstanding...I can never get any they are just too darn illusive in the trees!...:)JP

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful kingfisher, sweet fence sitter and love the avocet reflection shot.

Ida said...

The Kingfishes is a beautiful bird.
That beak on the Avocet is something remarkable.
Great shots of the Owl as well.

Janice Adcock said...

All splendid shots but that Avocet is just breathtaking with the reflection.

Felicia said...

lots of beautiful birds but I love those owls, wish I could see one in my area too.

marsha said...

super photos...I love the reflection of the avocet.

Lowcarb team member said...

Well, I'm so pleased you got up early and were able to share this post.
Yes, folks can be so annoying at times ... when will they ever learn?

I do like your Avocet picture, the reflection looks great.

Kingfishers have always been a favourite.

Enjoy the weekend

All the best Jan

Fun60 said...

Fabulous reflection of the avocet.

James said...

Beautiful shots and the reflections are superb!

Molly said...

That is a superb reflection shot of the Avocet


Christine Wenger said...

Phantastic reflections and so beautiful pictures!My favorite is also the avocet!

Purfylle said...

I don't really know much about barn owls, do they hunt during the day? Isn't that unusual for owls? Ours are mostly night hunters.

Jim said...

Beautiful reflections.
Sydney – City and Suburbs

Marleen said...

Stunning photos, Phil. Love the refllection shot!

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