Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Sun

The morning didn’t look too with heavy cloud, spots of rain and a northerly breeze. Luckily I’d spoken to Andy on Friday night to cancel plans to catch Linnets. 

Then suddenly about 0915 the sky cleared to leave a bright blue sky. Later than normal I set off birding, new camera at the ready. 

At Gulf Lane I counted 150+ Linnets in the set-aside as well as 11 Stock Dove. Looks like the doves have found the seed mix but when I took a closer look there seemed to be lots on the ground so I’m still not sure if the Linnets are taking much. Holes and pathways through the crop suggest that voles, moles and rats may be having a beano during the hours of darkness. There was a Kestrel hanging around and at one point it dived into the grass as if to grab a bite to eat but came away with nothing. 


At Gulf Lane/Braides/Sand Villa birds pushed from the rising tide and into the inland fields were very distant with best estimates of 1000 Lapwing, 600 Pink-footed Goose, 500+ Golden Plover,250 Curlew, 150 Redshank, 60 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 8 Whooper Swan, 4 Shoveler and 2 Shelduck. 

I decided to take drive down towards Cockersands but stopped first on Moss Lane where a small herd of mixed swans fed, 10 Mute, 12 Whooper and 8 Bewick’s. There have been 400/500 Whooper Swans in the extensive fields around here, almost a full day’s work to locate and count them all. Even then the counts come with a health warning because of the swans’ constant mobility. 

Whooper Swan

At Cockersands I stopped to watch a flock of about 80 Twite feeding quietly in and out of the marsh grass and tide wrack. It proved to be a good move as an hour or more later I was still there after a series of birds appeared. 

First came a Barn Owl which suddenly appeared from over the caravan site and where at the back are tumbledown farm buildings ideal for a winter roost. Like the Kestrel before, the owl dropped into the grass, did a quick about turn and disappeared from whence it came. There was just time for a few snatched shots. 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

It wasn’t just Twite feeding in the marsh, also 10+ Greenfinch, 3 Reed Bunting, 6 Linnet, a couple of Blackbirds, several House Sparrows, 2 Collared Dove and dozens of Starlings. In the paddock: 3 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Goldfinch, 6 Tree Sparrows and more Blackbirds.






Collared Dove 

What of the new camera? Well a little sun makes all the difference for sure. I have to work on the intial exposure setting as well as getting used to a different set of buttons and changed menu, but so far so good. With 24 megapixels the crop factor is pretty good, ideal for those long range pictures that birds often demand.

Linking today to World Bird Wednesday and Anni's Birding.


Linda said...

Phil, what a treat and a delight to see your gorgeous photos in my news feed this morning! You have a large variety of beauties here, and I love each and every one of them. The owl with the beautiful colours and wing span (in flight) is amazing to see!

Chris Rohrer said...

Excellent day out! It's before and after the rain, the birds are SUPER active. Sounds like you hit the perfect moment. And the swans......I'm researching Bewick's. That's one I've heard of but not seen in pics. Enjoy your Sunday!

Anni said...

Your European Robins are so much prettier than our American opinion!! As are your Kestrels! Love the Barn Owl and the yellow/orange eye ring on the black bird.

All your photos are awesome [from your new camera?!! --are you liking it by now?...I know it takes some adjustments to get the hang of its quirks and demeanor].

Glad the sun came out. A great day had all the way around.

...sending along my thanks for your contribution for all the birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week. Very enjoyable.

Anni said...


Forgot to mention the swans. Never heard of a Bewick's Swan. We have Bewick's wrens here in USA ----is this Bewick some fellow birder/ornithologist?

Anu said...

Great series of birds. I love that photo of Starling.

Margaret Adamson said...

great set of shotswith the new camera. 24 pixels are great

David Gascoigne said...

Looks like your new equipment got a real workout, with great results too. Imagine what it's going to be like when you familiarize yourself with everything. I expect it will just be a matter of time before your pictures are gracing the cover of National Geographic!

Betty Crow said...

Huge fan of owls. Love your shots of the barn owl. I always learn something when I visit your blog. Never heard of a whooper swan before. Thanks!

A Colorful World said...

What a wonderful array of different that barn owl! They are all great. I always enjoy your posts. Yes, we picked an awful time to move, but we would have been up here by the end of October if it had been our choice. It took FOREVER for the VA to do an appraisal on the house we were buying, and that caused the huge delay. We weren't prepared but will be for next year!

Lowcarb team member said...

A super Saturday selection.
The barn owl, robin and whooper swan especially.

Your new camera seems to be working out very well.

All the best Jan

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You've obviously mastered the new camera. I'm glad you showed a twite after mentioning it a couple paragraphs above the picture. I was just scrolling quickly through without reading until I saw it, because this is the first time I remember reading about that particular bird. Cute little guy. And then I went back and read the whole post and added up the number of birds you saw on my fingers. (No I really didn't do that, I just gasped in wonder at it all.) Wonderful day, thanks for sharing.

Fun60 said...

An unexpectedly good day of birding and some great photos. Never heard of a twite before so am pleased you had a photo to show what it looks like.

Valerie said...

A wonderful series of captures here Phil. Love that Barn Owl on the wing!

Felicia said...

You sure seem to see lots of birds when you go out. Love the barn owl.

Stuart Price said...

Always wondered why Barn Owls are in a separate family-Grass Owls- now I know!

Lady Fi said...

Wow - great shots!

Kay L. Davies said...

Is it my imagination, Phil, or does the twite look a lot like the linnet? Well, you know I know nothing!
I don't seem to remember swans and owls frequenting your blog, either. Wonderful to see them, especially the barn pretty. I've seen swans before (maybe in the Netherlands, do you think?) but never considered the idea of them in England. (Again, uneducated enthusiasm.)
The photo of the kestrel is seems to be trying to look large and in charge, the way it is standing up and staring.
I could go on and on with completely uneducated enthusiasm, so I'll sign off now.
All the best — K

Judy Biggerstaff said...

So impressive with so many nice photos to share.

Mary Cromer said...

The Kestrel, Robin and Barn Owls, all in one post along with other lovelies, just wonderful. I love these little colourful Robins, they look so dapper. Of course the Barn Owls just amaze me. Happy Weekend my friend~

June Caedmon said...

Wonderful collection, Phil. I was watching one of your European Starlings getting his fill at the dumpster at McDonald's here in Texas, USA the other day. I know many are less than thrilled that they were brought across the pond, but they are beautiful!

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