Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saturday Sport

Saturday morning began bright and clear with a forecast of no rain. It looked spot on for birding in the hills. 

I set off over the flat roads of my local patch all the time driving north and east, a direction that took me into the hills above Garstang where our common waders breed. Hopefully I would be able to practice a bit more with the new Sigma lens. The Canon 400mm lens has gone for repair and it will be three weeks or more before I hear the news, good or bad. 

There are lots of pictures today and not much text. Highlights today were 2 Cuckoos calling from the fell sides, dozens of Meadow Pipits with a few feeding young, a colour ringed Redshank, and then a Curlew chick to ring.  Read on and don’t forget to “click the pics”. 

The journey to Garstang and beyond takes me firstly over the flat moss roads of Out Rawcliffe and then another 5/10 miles to the edge of the Bowland Hills. Soon after sunrise the silence broke to the sounds of Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Curlews, Lapwings and Snipe. Pipits and wagtails were everywhere as a Reed Bunting or two made for a little variety. 

Rawcliffe Moss, Lancashire

Bowland road, Lancashire

In the roadside trees Willow Warblers sang softly while Siskins pinged, Lesser Redpolls chattered and Chaffinches cheeped. Mistle Thrush proved plentiful if shy with small family parties almost everywhere I stopped. 

Dry stone walls and fence posts are ideal places from which to display and take a look at what the neighbours are up to. They’re also handy for the advance spotting of predators and folk with lenses poking from car windows. 


Meadow Pipit

Bowland road, Lancashire

Three or four Snipe “drummed through the sky and called from vantage points but none came close enough for a decent photo. I’m fairly impressed with the Sigma lens but with it being a both zoom and a bulkier item than the Canon it does take a second or two more to get into position.  The lens has very good "bokeh", (the quality of out-of-focus or “blurry” parts of the image), as can be seen here. With birds there’s rarely a moment to lose before deciding on the best way to shoot and hoping the bird doesn’t fly off. The long reach of the Sigma 600mm is nice to have but it probably makes me try for pictures that I would not have attempted with the Canon's fixed 400mm.





Meadow Pipit
There’s a lot of background “noise” in the picture below but it was shot in bright sun at eighty yards or so. There’s a different Redshank below that, one colour ringed on the right leg. Through the colour combinations I will find out where and when this bird was first ringed but it seems unlikely it was ringed up here in the hills. The coastline of the UK seems a better bet. 




Bowland road, Lancashire

Pied Wagtail

From nowhere two Curlew chicks suddenly ran across the road ahead, a guiding adult overhead. They made for the longer grass on the other side of the road. I intercepted one chick as the other vanished as if by magic. There’s no point in looking for wader chicks in dense, long grass so I quickly ringed the one I had, placed it in the grass and let the adult call it away to safety. "Never go out without a box of rings and pliers" is the motto.

Curlew chick
Bowland, Lancashire

Meadow Pipit



 Bowland, Lancashire

That's all for today folks. Hope you enjoyed the trip through the hills.

Linking today with  World Bird Wednesday.


Jenn Jilks said...

I so enjoyed your trip!!!!

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful post and I have never seen a Curlew chick so that was wonderful Phil

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Oh my goodness, my goodness. I'm sure glad you invited me to tag along on this road trip to the hill country. Not only the wonderful birds, but the on earth can you get distracted with birds when you have views out the car windows like this countryside!!?

The mist, the green, the light of day wow. I am in awe.

Okay, so now I have another question that arises with your ringing the curlew. Ready? Once you're done ringing, and release you have a record chart available with you at all times? To record, sex/species/where/when/ etc. etc.? Such a cute chick.

♥ Anni ♥ said...

...Phil...thanks for taking time to come back and explain it all to me. I would LOVE to do this myself. But, I'm sure I'd have to be trained on how to handle them to ring them. I'd no doubt squish them in error.

Linda said...

What a lovely series, Phil! Thank you so much for sharing your journeys, I love your posts.

David Gascoigne said...

It's a great set of images, Phil. I chuckled at the thought of you dashing out of the car to grab that errant youngster to install his/her bling!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Very much enjoyed the trip Phil -- thanks for being our guide. Loved all the wonderful portraits -- tThe curlew chick is too sweet for words. And the Redshank seems proud to show off his ID bracelet.

Patrycja P. said...

What a gorgeus photos! That place is so beautiful, with all these waders.... Wow.


Charlene N.K. said...

What an amazing bird collection! Love them all!

carol l mckenna said...

Lovely array of bird photos ~ hard to pick a favorite ~ all delightful ~ ^_^

Liz said...

A wonderful series of birds and landscapes!

NC Sue said...

Marvelous photos as always, Phil. I wish we had lapwings here.
Thank you for sharing at

Lady Fi said...

Amazing and gorgeous!

Gordon said...

Great set of pics Phil love the Redshank with the bling, is there any way you can follow that up ?. Never seen a Curlew chick, brilliant, and the Sigma is doing well, in the right hands of course.
All the best Gordon.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Just following the road. Great pics of the birds too.

Stuart Price said...

Makes me feel a bit homesick. And didn't know Curlew chicks looked so cute either..........

Chris Rohrer said...

Looks like a nice day. Finally saw my first wagtail in January, or February?, this year. Not Pied, the White-tailed species but it was really interesting to observe. They act like a bobbing Spotted Sandpiper, American Pipit with some other bird characteristics. Interesting. Now I will know how to look for them and WHERE to look for them. Not sure how easy it is to get a pic of a Snipe because here they can be tricky! Nice! Have a great week!

Lowcarb team member said...

We were around Bowland a couple of years back now ... absolutely loved it.
You've shared some very nice photographs of both views and birds here Phil, great post.

All the best Jan

Mary Cromer said...

Loved all of the beautiful birds and the many species shown, stunning beauty, and what beauty of landscape surrounds your local patch as you call it. Amazing, glorious beauty in every share. Having these delightfully charming images gives me even greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds your birding ventures. Wonderful post saturated in beauty. I especially love the scene with the sheep~

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