Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Fields

The Pink-footed Geese - “pinks”, “pinkies” or simply “geese” to us locals are in huge numbers this week, perhaps up to 20,000. I think there's been an influx from South Lancashire and Norfolk with many beginning their leisurely journey back to Iceland via Scotland in time for the breeding season. They will not be the first on territory though as following a whole series of mild winters, some say global warming, many pinkies now spend the winter in Iceland and so save themselves the danger and energy requirements of a 2,000 mile round trip to the UK. 

Usually the geese stick to the flat-as-a-pancake fields of Cockerham/Pilling/Stalmine area and don’t often venture even the few miles north to the pastures of Thurham. Here Lower Thurnham stays at sea level but Higher Thurnham can rise to the dizzy height of 50 metres above.

"Click the pics" for a chance to count the silent pinkies. Sorry there's no soundtrack.

Looking down from the A588 onto the partly flooded fields gave a new perspective to the challenge of counting geese when each and every field held hundreds, sometimes thousands of our pink-footed friends. And then towards the coast just half-a-mile away were something like 500 wild swans, a mix of Whooper Swans and ten or twelve Bewick’s Swan. 

Pink-footed Geese at Thurham

Pink-footed Geese

"Pinkies" at Thurnham

Pink-footed Geese

Pink-footed Goose

 Wild swans at Thurnham

Whooper Swans

Geese at Higher Thurnham

Down to Cockersands the fields swarmed with both Lapwings and Golden Plovers, impossible to count with accuracy but certainly numbering in the early thousands of each. 

There was nothing much doing at the caravan site except for a number of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Tree Sparrow although a Chiffchaff at the entrance gate was a pleasant surprise. 


Conder Green proved quiet birding with a reduction to 95 Teal, 18 Redshank, 2 Little Grebe,2 Wigeon 1 Little Egret and 1 Spotted Redshank. Noticeable were the three pairs of Oystercatchers and now clearly on territory in three distinct locations across the pool and islands. 

I travelled back via Gulf Lane where there are still 170 wintering Linnet. Also here - 8 Stock Dove ,1 Little Egret, 1 Kestrel and 1 Reed Bunting. 

I drove back home via Pilling/Rawcliffe and Stalmine mosses where I saw 4 Buzzards and then 2 Kestrels and also caught up with 20 or so Corn Buntings in the usual spot. Maybe it’s not just geese on the move as I found 3 separate flocks of Fieldfares totalling 425 individuals but managed to see just a single Redwing. At one tiny flood were 8 Pied Wagtails. 


The weekend weather forecast looks dire to say the least but with luck I will be out there birding. Stay tuned to see what turns up on Another Bird Blog.

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


Patrycja P. said...

Those flocks of geese and swans look so wonderful...

David Gascoigne said...

A single Pink-footed Goose was present in Ottawa last year and caused a frenzy with the listing community. It hardly knew what a celebrity it had become. Of course, the normal discussion took place as to whether it was a genuine wild bird or not. No one could ascertain the facts for sure and in truth - does anyone really care?

Linda said...

What a gorgeous variety today, Phil, and the flight photos are fantastic!

Jo said...

Hi Phil, what beautiful images of the Pink-footed Geese in the air. I always love seeing your LBJ's as well. The weather looks good there, is your spring approaching? Greetings Jo

Lowcarb team member said...

What an amazing sight to see those flocks, both on the ground and in the air.

I think we are in for a very chilly weekend ...I hope it's a good one for you.

All the best Jan

Bill Nicholls said...

Don't see Whooper swans round here, not even sure about pinkies either. Lots of Canadian & mute swans though

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of birds in the field.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it is great seeing these large flocks of geese. I like the flight shots. Great shots of the geese, swans the Fieldfare. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

sandyland said...

so many it's heavenly

jandi said...

That fourth image is just incredibly beautiful! What huge numbers.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Nice pics. Love how the pink feet are so visible. I love the green finch, ours are goldfinch.

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

I can't get over the numbers you spotted!!! My goodness. My heart would still be beating rapidly after seeing this many at once.

Now you make me wonder if that is the reason so many 'usual' migrant birds are not stopping in Texas the last couple of years....the mild weather up north [at least at times]. Hmmmm. Interesting thought there, Phil.

Thanks, as always, for adding your post link for us at I'd Rather B Birdin'. And as always, great photos and reading here on your post.

Stuart Price said...

Some nice BIF work there Phil...........

A Colorful World said...

The pink-footed geese are just wonderful! So many! Loved the close-ups. Such gorgeous photos. And the fieldfares too. Have a great week!

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