Sunday, May 28, 2017

Slowly Does It

As I drove slowly along Head Dyke Lane I heard a singing Chiffchaff and then saw a Kestrel watching over a field from an overhead line. At Gulf Lane the sitting Oystercatcher raised her head above the crop to see what the stopped vehicle was up to. She sounded a warning but the rapidly growing crop has already outpaced any tiny youngsters and I couldn’t see them. A pair of Skylarks circled and then dropped into the same area of the field and I made a mental note of the spot for another day. 

All I saw from the Braides Farm gateway was a single Roe Deer, 400 yards from me but just a few yards from the sea wall with not a tree in sight; a strange beginning to my journey of Cockerham to Conder Green. 

Roe Deer

There are still 3 pair of Avocets at Conder Pool and one pair have two youngsters that scurried along the water’s edge at their parents’ behest. 


Meanwhile the Oystercatchers with the roadside nest still play chicken with each car that passes by. It’s a weird routine they have; I watched them do the same thing over and over. The female stays on the nest for passing vehicles but if one slows or stops she walks off the nest, crosses the road to the edge of the creek, calls, and then waits until the male joins her. There’s a crow continually trying to rob the nest so one of the Oystercatchers is tasked with chasing off the villain. When all returns to normal, cars and crows, the female crosses the road again and sits back on the nest. If the “oyks” pull this one off they deserve a medal for perseverance. 

A second pair of Oystercatchers that nested to the left of the screen now has two tiny youngsters, with at a guess still three to five other pairs yet to hatch their young. 

Oystercatcher chick

Black-tailed Godwit numbered 120+ again feeding in the creek or the very far side of the pool. It’s late in May for so many lingering godwits when by rights they should be well north of here, especially since a good number are in adult-like plumage. Of course each day could see different birds passing through but who’s to know for sure? They are a colourful and welcome addition to the usual year round waders and I imagine a few non-breeders may actually spend the summer here. 

Black-tailed Godwits

On the pool and close by – 1 Little Grebe, 6 Tufted Duck, 8 Shelduck, 10 Redshank, 2 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Reed Warbler. 

Shelduck - male

 Shelduck - female

There was another Reed Warbler on the Jeremy Lane circuit where the roadside ditches are in great shape with their mix of bramble, nettle, scattered hawthorn bushes and fine stands of phragmites reed. 

On the leisurely circuit up to Cockersands and back I counted 10+ singing Sedge Warber, 8 Whitethroat, 8+ Skylark, 4 Reed Bunting and 1 Blackcap as i stopped here and there to take a closer look. 

Sedge Warbler

 Sedge Warbler

In the fields nearest to Cockersands where Lapwings and Skylarks were ploughed out by spring farming I noted at least three Lapwings sat in new nests. After the recent drought the earthis now almost bare and very dry. Let’s hope the Lapwings have better luck this time. 


For weeks I’ve tried to get half decent pictures of a Brown Hare.  Today the roadside growth partly hid the car as it slowly edged along the road allowing me to stop and turn off the engine. When soon another, taller vehicle came along the hare dashed off across the field into the distance. 

Brown Hare

Brown Hare

Those long and powerful hind legs allow a Brown Hare to run at up to 35mph - pretty useful if you don’t fancy being “jugged” or roasted.  On the other hand we all know the story of The Tortoise and the Hare, the best-known of Aesop's Fables where the hare loses a race through being over confident of its speed. 

Maybe there’s a lesson for some birders?  Slow down, you will both see and learn more by travelling at a nice steady pace, stopping and starting where necessary, instead of dashing around like a headless chicken and seeing bugger all.

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


Stuart Price said...

A nice selection of photos Phil. It must be great to have Avocets breeding there.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! looks like a great outing. I love the Lapwing. The oystercatcher chick is adorable. The Shelduck is pretty, great lighting. The godwits are another favorite. Great photos and post. Happy birding. Enjoy your day and new week!

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Once again, Phil, exceptional post. Great photos. From the deer to the Lapwing. [now I'm wondering, that Lapwing, I have never seen the colors so brilliant. Is it the light or is he in breeding plumage?]

The chicks are a lifetime thrill to see that you shared them with us. Lovin' it all here today.

Before I leave, I want to send along my thanks for linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin' to share this post with us!!

Linda said...

Beautiful series, Phil! I so enjoy your posts. Thank you so much for sharing.

Gordon said...

Great Post Phil, well written, and a great set of pics for good measure.
I've had some enjoyable time round that area myself, so could easily picture it all.
All the best, Gordon.

Stewart M said...

Nice post - making good time often means slowing down. I think its why I like sitting and waiting in the 'wild' for things to come to me.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Jeanne said...

Especially enjoyed seeing your shot of the lapwing. this is a bird I have never seen before. lovely bird

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Great shots - I love the feather on top of the head of the lapwing

David Gascoigne said...

I just checked the details on the photograph I mentioned above. The picture was taken on Havergate Island RSPB Nature Reserve in June 1988. You'd think I could have checked that first wouldn't you?

Phil Slade said...

Hi David. You are correct about the Avocet. It is now a widespread species, breeding south of here on the River Ribble, north at Leighton Moss and of course a few miles from here at Conder Green. I saw my first Lancashire one on 1st April 1983 on Pilling Marsh, a lone observer record. At the time because of its then rarity and also because of the date of April 1st, a number of people doubted the record. “Was it a Shelduck? asked one.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I swear I can hear the sedge warbler singing in that one picture! Yep, I use the Tortoise and the Hare analogy a lot in my mind... we slow down more and more. Love all the birds and the hare pictures, which couldn't be better.

Felicia said...

That brown hare is one fast rabbit and pretty too. I googled the song of the sedge warbler. they really put their all into their song.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Great shots, nice variety.

Lea said...

Great photos!
Wonderful birds, and great photos of the Hare, too!

A Colorful World said...

Your posts are like a moment in time with Thoreau or Potter! Lovely scenes (except for what the poor oystercatchers have to put up with! They indeed persevere....and the chick is adorable!) Thank you for this lovely "start of day."

Mary Cromer said...

The Sedge Warbler is brilliant, how sweet!! The little Oystercatcher chick too adorable, and those amazing Brown Hares take the show for me. I could look at those Brown Hares every post and never tire of them. Kind of like when you share the Stoats, I really enjoy seeing them too. Take good care~

Lowcarb team member said...

What a wonderful and varied selection of photographs.

All the best Jan

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