Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Catching Up

Apologies first for yesterday posting again a duplicate post from last week. This was a bungled attempt to update the blog and Google wasn't very forgiving of my blunder. Doh!

What with one thing and then another I’d not been out birding or ringing for a good few days. Finally today I attempted a few hours out in the less than ideal conditions of yet another cloudy, grey morning. 

A drive along Backsands Lane at Pilling revealed the grand total of three Pink-footed Geese and a far cry from the many thousands of recent weeks. There’s not been the same numbers of geese in fields close to home, towards the river at Stalmine or even flying to and from the direction of Pilling, their usual route overhead. I get the distinct feeling that the mild weather of late has sent many pinkies heading back to Iceland. 

And just this week I have noticed a gang of 30+ newly arrived, noisy Goldfinches coming to the garden, plus the usual garden birds in song. I suspect that at least one pair of Blackbirds, a pair of Greenfinch and a pair of Song Thrush nest building in the thick hedgerows and conifers of some neighbours’ gardens. Spring is almost here.


Today at Gulf Lane the Linnet flock was down to 35 only, a major drop from the 300+of late January and as late as 3rd February. 

The still flooded and ever distant flood at Braides Farm held 200+ Curlew, 120 Lapwing, 30 Wigeon, 15+Redshank and a couple of Shelduck. 


At Conder Green I watched a Great White Egret hunting the water’s edge and to then take a fish. Intent on watching the egret I hadn’t spotted a Grey Heron close by. But as the egret grabbed a fish from the water the heron launched an immediate ambush and flew at the egret in trying to snatch the fish or intimidate the egret into dropping its meal. 

I was somewhat pleased when the slightly smaller egret reacted very fast and managed to swallow the fish in one motion before the heron could win the contest. I don’t recall ever seeing the two species so close together before so it was quite instructive to see the size comparison, even at some distance. 

Great White Egret

Great White Egret, Grey Heron (and Blackbird)

Otherwise the pool and creeks were comparatively quiet by way of 25 Wigeon, 15 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 60 Teal, 10 Curlew and 1 Little Egret. There now seems to be 4 pairs of Oystercatchers on territory with 15+ Oystercatcher  in total.

A swimming Redshank

Storm Doris is on her way across the Atlantic Ocean and due to hit us overnight. Tomorrow may be a day for reading in which case I’ll take a look at my review copy of a new field guide due out in March. 

The book’s is entitled “Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East”, an entirely photographic guide by Frédéric Jiguet & Aurélien Audevard at  

Birds of Europe, North African and the Middle East

Read about it soon on Another Bird Blog. Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and Anni, who would rather be birding. 


Lowcarb team member said...

Such beautiful colour in the Goldfinch ...

We have experienced quite warm days in my part of the UK - something to do with a Caribbean Vortex!
But have to say the wind is now getting stronger, have to blame it on Doris apparently!!!

Stay safe in the winds, rain and whatever else Doris may throw at us!

All the best Jan

Jo said...

Hi Phil, the Goldifinch is unreal! Interesting tussle between the heron and egret. I'm also glad the egret kept its catch. We'e had a cyclone down the East Coast of South Africa and it's rained non-stop for three days. I would buy that book if we still lived in The Sudan (North Africa) Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and great bird knowledge as always! Greetings Jo

Stuart Price said...

I look forward to seeing great White Egrets next time I go back to the UK...........

Stewart M said...

Nice shots.

Thats a big area for the field guide to cover - although I note I just bought two for the "Indian Subcontinent", which is hardly small!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Beautiful images of birds. I love the swimming redshank.
I hope you do not suffer from too much wind damage from Storm Doris in your home area.
Have a happy weekend.

Mary Cromer said...

Not only are Curlews great birds to look at...only so far in photos for me, of course, but I love saying their name ;)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a beautiful cover to the new book! Love the goldfinches this week! I never get tired of seeing them...they are so colorful! Enjoy your weekend!

Jenn Jilks said...

So, you don't like our snow?!! You get to embrace it, or not!
I love your birds.

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

Once again, exceptional read, and exceptional bird photos. The ones we have here, AND the special ones I don't get to see such as...well, you know, that European favorite of mine...the colorful goldfinch.

ps...I forever which I had the patience the egrets [and herons] have when it comes to hunting. Me? When it comes to eating...I want things done NOW.

Thanks Phil, for sharing this wonderful post with us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend, and I do hope that Doris is kind to you.

sandyland said...

culews look a little like our juvenile ibis

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, beautiful birds and photos. The Goldfinch is one of my favorites. I always love the beautiful herons and egrets. The Redshank is another beauty! Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your goldfinch are so colorful...I like our plain old yellow ones, but they pale next to yours. I did a double take at the curlews because I think of them as a shorebird (ocean shore) neat to have flooded fields in your patch and all those water birds. I see by your subsequent post that you did stay home and read and I hope Doris did not cause too much havoc.

Chris Rohrer said...

Oh I've done that number as well:) Great birds....especially love the Curlews and Redshank.....very nice!

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