Saturday, October 15, 2016

West Is Best

I was back home at 10am after rained off after just a couple of hours of birding. Despite the curtailed session I managed to clock up a couple of “goodies” but nothing to compete with the Siberian Accentor that turned up on the east coast and where several hundred, possibly thousands of birders and others are expected to flock this weekend ("2000 viewers filed past on 13thOctober"). 

A week or so ago when we when catching Linnets a shooter mentioned that he’d seen a Great White Egret out on the marsh. A day or so later I’d seen almost 30 Little Egrets on the marsh just out from the plantation where many egrets spend the night hours. I guess it was those two bits of information in my head this morning that made me turn off the road in the half-light of dawn to check out just how many egrets are currently using the site. 

The egrets were beginning to wake up. Their barking calls rang out from the trees and I’d counted 70+ scattered across the treetops when a whole gang of them erupted into flight. There was a big one amongst the Little Egrets, a Great White Egret which circled a little before heading along the sea wall towards Cockerham. A great-white is half as big again as a Little Egret with a bill shape that resembles a dagger rather than the stiletto of a Little Egret. For such a large and apparently conspicuous bird a great-white has the ability to “disappear” from prying eyes: I suspect that this particular one spends its days in the deep, tide-washed creeks of Pilling and Cockerham marsh. 

Great White Egret by cuatrok77 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I stopped off at the set-aside plot where I added a little ground feed of millet and Niger to the natural seeds on offer in the expectation that a few Twite and more Tree Sparrows will join Linnets in the daily feast. A flock of 50+ Linnets were around the area together with a number of Tree Sparrows in the bushes near the farm. 



The grey morning and 100% cloud cover didn’t bode well for visible migration so I wasn’t surprised to see little in the way of recent arrivals at Conder Green. A rather noisy Chiffchaff, several “pinking” Chaffinches and a dozen or so Blackbirds proved the best from both here and following a look in Glasson churchyard. 

On the pool and in the creeks – 110 Lapwings, 55 Teal, 15 Redshank, 11 Little Grebe, 6 Snipe, 4 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck, 2 Little Egret and 1 Green Sandpiper. The Green Sandpiper spent all of its time searching for food through the rocks, pebbles and vegetation an island some 70/90 yards away. Best I could do below. It's there - honest!

Green Sandpiper

Apologies for the somewhat short post today but I’ll try harder next time on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's blog.


Linda said...

Phil, please don't apologize for a short post. I always enjoy your posts and gorgeous photos, and this time is no exception. I love the markings on the Linnet! Great captures, as always. :)

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

Great photos of beautiful birds!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Stunning pic of the great white egret. We have had two on a pond near us but I haven't been able to get a good pic but I'll keep trying. The twite is a cute little fellow. Thanks for sharing

Margaret Adamson said...

It msut ahve been wonderful to see 70+ Little Egret leaving their roots adn the shot of the G Ggret is superb

Stewart M said...

Some of the shots of the 'twitch' just about sum up everything I want to avoid when birding! Having said that the SA is a hell of a bird!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Russell Jenkins said...

Congratulations on the Great White Egret, Phil. I really like the portraits of the Twite and Linnet. They look like difficult subjects.

Anni said...

The Linnet is a cute booger!!! And the green sandpiper is a new one for me. I love your description of the egrets' calls. Makes me wanna get out and go birding this morning. Maybe I will do just that.

Thanks so much for joining in with us birders this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin''s always a pleasure.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Your images of all the birds are wonderful. Great shot of the Great White Egret, and I enjoyed looking at the cute Twite and Linnet images. I bought some Niger seeds, but the birds around here completely ignore them!!

David Gascoigne said...

"2,000 people filed past on 13th October" - exactly why I am not a twitcher!

Patrycja Piotrowska said...

I also would like to see shelducks and twites... Congratulations on the observations!
(Też bym chciała zobaczyć ohary i rzepołuchy... Gratuluję obserwacji!)

Jeanne said...

Such lovely shots, and the first time I 've seen a linnet! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from I'd rather be birding

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The Great White is fun to see, but we often seen them and the little egrets both in Florida. And occasionally here in Oregon. So the linnets are more exotic for me... it's all about where your patch happens to be.

Breathtaking said...

Good morning Phil!:)Getting back to you because of your comment. As you so rightly observed on your travels, the same applies here in Portugal, people are not accustomed to feeding birds, apart from throwing bread to the ducks, or feeding their pet canaries, so the variety of seeds and bird feeders for sale is quite limited. We had our bird feeder which sits on a sturdy stand, made by a carpenter, from a design I saw in a bird book. I made my hide, and Americo made a few small wooden box feeders. I don't know of anyone else who has a bird feeder in their garden, but the birds do need a helping hand in the winter months, for although we have a milder climate than the UK, it can get quite cold. We have loads of wildlife programs on TV, but it's a cultural perception that birds should find their own food. I will persist with the Niger seeds however! Please forgive this long comment, and have a great birding week.:)

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