Saturday, July 8, 2017

Early Birding

Most people would settle for seeing a Barn Owl. I saw four this morning, all different birds as they were at widely spaced localities. While Barn Owls can breed in any month of the year they do mostly favour the summer months around here. All four were headed back to farm buildings and I watched two of them carry food through open ended barns and into the darkness beyond. 

I have no doubt that there are a number of young Barn Owls soon to emerge into the Fylde countryside. Needless to say, I am not about to divulge the whereabouts of breeding sites of an owl that has Special Legal Protection under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act.  At this time of year only those people with the necessary paperwork should be anywhere near a Barn Owl.  

Barn Owl

Soon after first light I stopped at Braides Farm to see a very young Kestrel sat on top of a pole. It was a very young bird, so young that it was still downy and its flight feathers not fully formed. 


There was little else to see so early in the morning so I journeyed my way north and towards Conder Green. 

All seemed quiet since the Avocets departed some days ago. It appears that between the three or four nesting attempts, none were totally successful with not a one fully fledged youngster. A disastrous year for ground nesting birds here with local birders concluding that Carrion Crows, American Mink, Red Fox and large gulls conspired to relieve nesting Avocet, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Mallard and goodness knows what else of eggs and/or chicks. 

Wisely the Common Terns chose to nest on a floating platform, out of harm’s way and some yards into the centre of the pool; a good result for them as they now have three fully flying youngsters. 

Common Terns

Common Tern

Apart from the terns there’s little to report. A count of 30+ Swift feeding over the hedgerow is nowadays quite notable for a declining species that once flew in their hundreds over local fields. Swifts were so numerous that intercepting and then ringing dozens of them in a single ringing session in the 1980s is now but a distant memory. 

In the creeks waders and wildfowl- 20 Lapwing, 6 Common Sandpiper, 18 Redshank, 12 Oystercatcher, 6 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Curlew and 2 Little Egret. I noted a few passerines and hirundines by way of 8 Goldfinch, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Blackcap. When I looked at a Goldfinch photo on the PC, I could see it had a ring on the right leg. But not enough detail to read the one letter and six numbers. 

On the way back home I stopped at Gulf Lane to weigh up the set-aside field where we hope to start ringing on 1st August. The field is looking superb with already a good mix of birds feeding on the multitude of insects and more butterflies than I have seen all year, plus 10 Tree Sparrow, 4 Linnet, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Whitethroat and a number of Swallows hawking low over the still burgeoning growth. 

Set-aside at Cockerham July



 Please lookin in soon for more early birding with Another Bird Blog.

Linking to World Bird Wednesday and Anni's Birding Blog.



Linda said...

What a beautiful series, Phil! My friend and I meet once a week for coffee and, when the weather is nice, we sit in a park for a while. We did this last week. We were being serenaded by a bird...I think it was a male cardinal. It was a lovely experience. Thank you so much for sharing.

Stevie Evans said...

always a joy to see - we've had Barnies with young out far earlier than usual in Durham.

David Gascoigne said...

Four Barn Owls in one morning, huh? In my entire life I have seen seven - four in Arizona, two in California and one in South Africa. I envy you the regularity with which you see this species, Phil.

Margaret Adamson said...

Yes I wouldbe very fortunate if I saw 1 Barn Olwl. You have been spoiled. Great post

Stuart Price said...

I didn't even know Common Terns could swim!

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Wow, wow, wow!!!
I so agree with not divulging a nesting owl. And I'm happy to read that they are a protected species in your country. They're so beautiful. And to think they have some babies that will soon appear. Hope you can get photos of them for us.

I am not sure I've ever seen a 'floating' nest before. How clever they are!!!

Excellent this week Phil. And I too look forward to your ringing days that you'll show us....right?

As always, thanks so much for joining us with your expertise and wonderful photos this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'. It's always appreciated and a pleasure to witness first hand with your blog.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) I hear owls hooting, quite near sometimes, but have never had the pleasure of seeing one first hand. Thank you so much for
all the info about them, and your beautiful photos. I appreciate all of them, and I love your capture of the young Kestrel.:)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

i would settle for seeing ANY owl (besides the ground-dwelling, day-light loving burrowing ones we have in Florida; I do love them, but I really want to see the other kinds!)..... lovely portrait of the barn owl and the other birds too. Envious (as I know I've told you before) of your colorful goldfinch.

Patrycja P. said...

Great trip, Phil. I love these young Common Terns :).

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Another fab post filled with great shots and interesting info

Bill Nicholls said...

Great photos as always Phil, must post some of my bird ones I took in the garden

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Great collections of birds and photos. The Barn Owl is a favorite, I also love the Terns. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and the week ahead!

Felicia said...

love the little barn owl. so sweet.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Beautiful images of so many birds Phil. I rarely see barn owls. I'm more likely to see a kestrel. It's Griff's favourite pastime to chase the garden pigeons. They taunt him! Have a great week :)

June Caedmon said...

Sorry to hear of so many failed nesting attempts, Phil. That is disheartening. Such a sweet Kestral baby. I haven't seen my kestral since the summer heat hit. He may have a color place to summer. I'm hoping he's back soon!

A Colorful World said...

FOUR barn owls...I am dying with envy! And your lovely kestrel and wood pigeon. All so nice!

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh how wonderful to see four barn owls ...
Some super photographs here Phil.

All the best Jan

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