Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Golden Times

There are more pictures from the hill country today. Birding is more than a little quiet and the weather so perfect that I took to the upland roads with camera at the ready. 

Noticeable today was the reduction in numbers of waders with many already gone for the coast, mainly Lapwings, Redshanks and Curlews but to a lesser extent Oystercatchers. In fact I struggled to get pictures of Curlew and Redshank and managed just one Lapwing. Despite that a number of Snipe continued to both sing and display and to show themselves on dry stone walls and fences. 


Like me, the Oystercatcher below was searching the skies for the Golden Plover singing unseen. I didn’t see the plover but the unmistakeable melody rung out loud and clear across the open fell. 


Maybe the Oystercatcher didn’t recognise the song as the Golden Plover is now extremely rare in Bowland. Amazingly, and to the eternal shame of the United Kingdom, the Golden Plover is still classed as legitimate “quarry” for shooting from September 1st to January 31st except in the Isle of Man where it has full protection. 

Golden Plover -courtesy of luontoportti.com

There are still lots of wagtails around, both Pied and Grey varieties, and of course many dozens of Meadow Pipits which now include fresh juveniles. 

Pied Wagtail

Meadow Pipit

I did see a Cuckoo today as it dashed over the tree tops “cuckooing” as it went and then calling continuously on a circuit of the hillside and back to the start. 

It’s amazing what Photoshop can do. One minute there’s a barbed wire fence; the next minute the fence has gone! 

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Snipe


There are a couple of things to notice in these Snipe pictures, things that aren’t too apparent with the often poor views of this secretive species; the upper part of a bill has a subtle node end and is also marginally longer than the lower half of the bill. Note also the very long toes, an adaptation for wading birds which spreads the bird's weight over a large surface area and thus facilitates walking on soft surfaces where such species both breed and feed. The marsh loving Snipe is a prime example. 

Common Snipe


Wader foot

Apart from the everyday hazards faced by all birds the upland environment presents a particular danger to waders which breed in amongst the sheep - wool. The loose wool that lies on the ground is a special hazard to chicks that can quickly accumulate large amounts of the tough wool around their feet and legs. It sometimes leads to the loss of toes or feet and can also cause entanglement in fences or other everyday objects.  The bottom Oystercatcher has several strands of sheep wool around both legs and may haave lost part of a toe.



There's more sun tomorrow and then the weather is going downhill once more. Oh well, never mind there's always something to do and it's been good to see so much sun.

Linking today to Anni's Blog, Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.co.uk/


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, awesome collection of birds. I love the Lapwing, Oystercatchers and the Snipe. I would love to see the Golden Plover. Great photos. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Wow, great shots of the birds. Glad you shared them, I haven't seen any of these in person.

Les Fous du Cap said...

Très belle série ;-)
Céline & Philippe

Gordon said...

Brilliant, interesting and informative post, accompanied by wonderful photos. and now we can add magician to your many talents, LOL.
all the best, Gordon.

Stuart Price said...

Wow that snipe must have been pretty close............

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Would never have thought of wool being a hazard that way .... in our areas it is monofilament fishing line...which is even worse because the sheep can't know better but the fisher persons certainly should. Lovely portraits of your sightings and I wish I could hear that song! (Will have to search for video/audio when I have a better internet connection)

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wonderful photos. I especially like the Pipit.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Lovely shots of all the birds, but I especially like your excellent captures of the meadow pipit, the oystercatcher, and snipe. Interesting info too about the Snipe, and shameful info indeed, about the beautiful golden plover.

Patrycja P. said...

I love your waders, amazing shots! I'd love to see them (with this Oystercather...). Beautiful photos of Snipe! Greetings!

The Hairy Birder said...

I passed you Tuesday morning in the Trough Phil, but didn't realise it was you until I had gone past! So apologies for not stopping!

David Gascoigne said...

Kudos to the Isle of Man for their enlightened attitude towards shooting Golden Plovers. Itt seems to me to be incredible that any jurisdiction permits shooting of migrant shorebirds but I am dumbfounded and dismayed at many things as it relates to birds. In Ontario the government has announced a legal hunt of Mourning Doves at certain times of the year. I guess the hunting lobby is still pretty powerful. Great Oystercatcher shots, Phil, a striking bird indeed. Enjoy your dinner!

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness, birds galore - brilliant.
The Golden Plover is a very striking looking bird, wonderful colours. I didn't know about the difference in attitude that the Isle of Man has to the mainland ...

All the best Jan

Rajesh said...

I am sure you had a great time photographing these birds.

Lea said...

A great group of birds!
My favorite is the first Meadow Pipit photo
Have a wonderful week-end!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil ! Awesome collection of birds and photos. I am so against hunting of any kind, especially what is considered a rare bird. I am glad they have protection on the Isle of Man. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

sandyland said...

all super- same goes with fishing filament here sadly -why they leave it lying around I'll never know .I realize sem gets cut in water sometimes but still..

Stewart M said...

Those snipe pictures are remarkable - was it asleep!?

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

A Colorful World said...

Hi Phil...Awesome golden plover, and all the bird shots! Especially love seeing the snipes, though. They re always a treat.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Love that cute Pipit and the photo with the old rusty barbed wire is my favorite. Thanks for always giving us so much information. I learn something new every week!

Mary Cromer said...

Everyone of these birds is outstanding and your image shares are grand but the lighting and colours of the Golden Plover is magnificent Phil...bravo. Happy weekend~

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