Friday, November 25, 2016

Berry Time

The morning started with a double first of the winter – a squirt of de-icer on the windscreen followed by switching on the heated screen and bum warmer. I’m all for gadgets that do away with scrapers and icy fingers, not to mention enjoying the luxury of a cosy backside while birding. 

The heater was on full blast as I drove slowly east over Stalmine Moss and towards Cockerham. On the outskirts of Pilling village I watched a Barn Owl hunt over the whitened fields. “Rather it than me” I thought as I watched it glide along the icy gullies and then slowly vanish into the distance of the next farm. 

Barn Owl

I stopped at Gulf Lane to check on the Linnet flock and found 200+ comprised of three or more highly mobile groups still finding food in the single field of set-aside. A bird ringer in Scotland contacted me to ask about the composition of the seed mix as he too is interested in a Linnet catching project. Richard the farmer tells me it is a standard wild bird composite from Oliver Seeds but with added wildflower mix. Whatever it is, it certainly works by keeping the Linnets coming back for more and where good numbers of them have found food for the last three months. 


At Sand Villa and Braides Farm my combined counts gave approximates of 350 Lapwing, 250 Golden Plover and 120 Curlew, but also 8 Whooper Swan, 4 Teal and 1 fence hopping Buzzard. 

At Conder Green counts from the pool and the creeks approximated wildfowl to 240 Teal, 130 Mallard, 22 Wigeon and 8 Little Grebe. Otherwise, 3 Little Egret, 18 Redshank, 6 Curlew, 1 Spotted Redshank. 

I hoped for a few Goldeneye at Glasson where a frost or two often makes the diving ducks vacate the estuary for the increased temperatures of the yacht basin. But not today, although the numbers of Tufted Duck look to be on the increase with 34, plus a single Great Crested Grebe. 

A drive around Moss Lane and Jeremy Lane proved useful when I located a flock of about 250 mainly Fieldfares with but a handful of Redwings. It was exactly a week ago when a drive around the same fields produced much the same result except that I don’t think these were the same birds today, just new arrivals finding the same food source of hawthorn berries. 

The Fieldfares proved difficult to pin down to any particular stretch of berries when at one point more than hundred flew en-masse towards the main road and in the direction of Thurnham Hall. That still left a hundred and more in the original spot but where cars speed past to constantly stop the birds’ attempts to feed. 

Our winter thrushes are intensely shy, little wonder when on their winter journeys they are subjected to intense hunting should they reach France and Spain. Once again I sat motionless in the car hoping to picture them in the hawthorns. A little success. A few pictures of both birds and berries. 

Song Thrush




There are more birds soon by logging in to Another Bird Blog. Don’t forget. 

Now go back and “click the pics” for a feast of hawthorn berries.

Linking today to Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday.


Linda said...

A truly gorgeous series, Phil, and the Barn Owl in!

David Gascoigne said...

Even though I know it to be true it still strikes me as incredible (in the literal sense of the word) that songbirds are still hunted for food in parts of Europe, France and Spain particularly. When is this kind of totally unnecessary barbarism going to stop? When are the authorities going to enforce the regulations that are in place? I guess I know the answer, Phil. Never.
As for warming your delicate little tushie on the car seat - beware! There was a report here recently of one that caught fire. I know you always wanted to be thought of as a hot ass kind of guy, but not in the literal sense!

Santi Dominguez said...

Amazing!! hawthorns and Birds

Lowcarb team member said...

I had to laugh as you described getting into your car, because on cold mornings I too just reach for the heated seat button! Would I buy another car without a heated seat? No, I don't think I would. It's a necessary luxury!

Fantastic photo's Phil, my favourite has to be the second Fieldfare - it is stunning, especially when enlarged.

Hope you have a good weekend

All the best Jan

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful toknow and have shots of Redwing adn Firlefare PHil and the shots of the Owl is superb.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! I love the Barn Owl shot, Awesome. Beautiful captures of the song birds. Lovely collection of photos. I am glad I am missing the cold weather this winter, I am not a fan. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Lea said...

Great photos of the birds in the berries!
The owl in flight - beautiful!
Have a wonderful week-end!

carol l mckenna said...

Always wonderful bird photography ~ love the one with the berry in its mouth ~ thanks,

Happy Saturday to you ~ ^_^

sandyland said...

Every week cannot wait to see what you bring- thanks ever so much

Jeanne said...

Such a great collection of beautiful birds, and definitely love that shot of the barn owl. How graceful it is.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of the birds on the berry tree.

Breathtaking said...

Good morning Phil!:) Another beautiful shot of the Barn Owl in flight, and such gorgeous images of the Fieldfare and Redwing. The Thrush is also hunted in Portugal, a tradition, which like bull fighting should be banned.

Anni said...

The birds and colorful; delightful images. The numbers of birds [and DIFFERENT species] seen on your day's trek is so impressive!!! The cars speeding, impeding on the feeding...frustrating to us birders, isn't it?!! I would have loved to see the single Great Crested Grebe [I will have to Google now].

Oh, and the seed/food for the Linnets. Awesome!!!! And of course the beautiful owl.

I appreciate your participation this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Thanks for stopping by for a visit and linking!!

Come to South snow here. :o)

Marie C said...

Lovely post! Stay warm!

Harry's Honest Mummy said...

Wow, these are stunning shots #MySundayPhoto

Coombe Mill said...

the barn owl is amazing, I love how you capture so much in every photo

Catherine Boardman said...

Love the Redwing #MySundayPhoto

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

That's a great Barn Owl shot, Phil.

And the birds look so pretty with the Hawthorn berries.

Stewart M said...

Nice post - love that Barn Owl.

I can't help but find it funny that my car has a better set of heaters, window defrosters and a warmer seat than anything I ever owned in the UK - but I can't recall the last time we had a frost!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

NC Sue said...

Phil these are stunning shots - especially the owl!
Thanks so much for linking up at

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The Hawthorne Berry shots are spectacular and the beautiful owl needs nothing else to be stunning! I don't imagine heated car seats are big sellers in Florida, where I plan to be before it gets cold enough to need them here in Oregon.

Gayle - venturesinphotos said...

Each photo is outstanding but the barn owl seems to be in motion and is my favorite.

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