Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Trundle

Swallows were everywhere this morning. I saw them in each place I stopped or noted twos and threes heading north all morning and ended up with 80+ in my notebook. Despite or perhaps because of  the unexceptional overnight conditions new Wheatears and maybe a few Willow Warblers had also found their way north.

I’d started off on the coastal circuit at Conder Green with just the usual species and a few new waders: 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Teal, 14 Shelduck, 14 Oystercatcher, 3 Little Egret, 2 Pied Wagtail. Two pairs of Tufted Duck is looking quite promising, especially since there seems to be a lack of competition for nesting spots around the pool margins this year. 

Tufted Duck

I didn’t catch up with any Avocets again and I’m wondering if the intermittent sightings in recent weeks involve a number of birds moving through rather than the supposed same pair. Interestingly, the species’ numbers at have built in the last few weeks at their stronghold of Leighton Moss some 30 miles away. 

The Cockersands area proved fruitful in numbers; especially so when a Linnet flock numbered 80+, alternating between feeding in the Lighthouse Cottage fields and the shore. In the set-aside field was a pair of Reed Bunting and a few only Meadow Pipit. From here and on the route to the “other” end of Cockersands I counted in excess of 120 (potentially 60 pairs of Lapwings) in the many fields. After a mild, wet winter the fields look very suitable for Lapwing success this year with the proviso that farming activity and predators can and usually do take a huge toll of Lapwing nests. Many seem to be still in display mode but one or two are definitely sitting on eggs. There are pairs of Redshank dotted here and there, also Oystercatchers, a pair of Greylags and the lone drake Shoveler of recent weeks whose partner either “did a runner” or is holed up nearby. 


Also along the route to the caravan park, two or three pairs of Skylark with a good deal of “chasing” in evidence. I saw a couple of Brown Hares too and unusually by now, perhaps because of the cold un-April like weather, I’ve seen none of their customary chasing around the fields nor witnessed any boxing matches. 

Brown Hare

At the caravan park end of the stretch: 3 Willow Warblers in song, a Wheatear along the shore and also a handful of Greenfinches and Linnets searching the tideline. 


At Hillam Lane approximately 200 Sand Martin in the colony in repair and reconstruct mode and yet to settle into their nest holes. A drive to the marsh found 1 Buzzard, 70+ White Wagtail, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 5 Wheatear, 1 Grey Heron and a good number of Swallows heading over or flying around both farms. 

Sand Martins

There was time for a brief visit to Fluke Hall, if only to count the mutt walkers and move some of their bags of dog poo. Why be so tidy as to pick up their doggy-do and then throw the said plastic bag on the ground to be run over and squashed by the next vehicle to pass that way? Mindless, selfish idiots. 

I also “picked up” 6 Wheatear here as they fed across the ploughed field. There was a Buzzard nearby and at least two each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff. “Best” bird came by way of a single loudly calling Siskin passing overhead and into the tree tops. 

Looks like Wednesday may be OK for ringing and if Andy made it back from over the border. If so read about it here soon.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday and World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Sounds like you had a nice outing with some great sightings. I would be thrilled to see the Lapwing, it is a beautiful bird. The Skylark is pretty too. Love the hare. Happy birding!

Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

Linda said...

Beautiful series, Phil! And they all look as if they are posing for your photo shoot. :)

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photo's Phil, it sounds and looks as if you did have a very good outing.

All the best Jan

Findlay Wilde said...

Don't you just love Spring migration. You never know what might pop up next.

A Colorful World said...

Such wonderful captures! Love the wheatear!

Lea said...

Lovely Lapwing!

Stuart Price said...

I wish it were possible to return those bags of dogs**t directly to the owners...............

David Gascoigne said...

When you contemplate the hazards that ground-nesting birds like Lapwings face it's little wonder that their numbers are declining. In times past they would only have had to deal with natural predation but now given the mechanical farming techniques that threaten their nesting success it's a wonder any of them are able to raise young. I note that you will shortly be winging off once again to a Mediterranean sun spot. It will be tough to leave Andy and the ringing behind I know, but I am sure you will suck up and handle it with aplomb!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, stopping back to say thank you for linking up your post. I love all the birds and your photos are great. Those Sand Martins are sweet! Have a happy weekend!

Mary Cromer said...

Those darling Sand Martins, how sweet they are and your Wheatear....I am learning to love them. Of course I always enjoy the Lapwings and in your writing mentioned seeing lots of Swallows. I love them and so far have not seen our first one near where they always are. The Meadowlarks are just beginning to sing and so maybe the Swallows will be here very soon. Have a great weekend~

Rajesh said...

You are very lucky to see so many birds.

Jeanne said...

Great shots of these lovely birds Phil, and how lucky you are to see such variety!

June Caedmon said...

Great captures, Phil. That Wheatear is a sweet little thing!

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Another beautiful series :-) You have a "great eye"

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