Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Smarties

A catch of Sand Martins was the major objective for today. I’d been to the colony in the week and noted lots of martins around with upwards of 450 flying around at any one time. I was due to meet Andy at the quarry at 0630 but first I spent 45 minutes at Conder Green. 

A pair of Oystercatchers had hung around the near island all spring and summer without much luck. They probably lost the first brood of eggs/young to predators but today, quite late in the season, their perseverance paid off when they appeared with a single newly fledged chick of one or two days old. 


Two Kingfishers flew past at their usual breakneck speed but within ten minutes or so one of them (or perhaps a third?) appeared on the parapet of the outflow. The Kingfisher spent five minutes doing not a lot before it flew across to the far side of the water and out of sight.

Kingfishers eat their prey whole, which means that there are bits they can't digest, so they regurgitate any left over parts as a pellet. Not the prettiest sight, but an interesting part of their behaviour, partly captured in the pictures below, minus the pellet. 




I counted 5 Common Tern, 4 Little Grebe, 6 Common Sandpiper, 22 Lapwing, 20 Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret and 1 Reed Bunting. 

A few Swifts and hirundines fed over the pool and hedgerow - 14 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow and 8 Swift. 

At the quarry we caught 48 Sand Martins – 12 adults and 36 juveniles out of the approximately 450 martins around. The ratio of 1/3 adults/juveniles suggest a pretty good breeding season so far. A few of the juveniles were very fresh from the nest, others from first broods with less obviously sandy-edged body and flight feathers. 

Sand Martin

I tried to get some photos of the martins on the nearby wires but the morning sun was directly into the camera, so mixed results and far from perfect pictures. 

 Sand Martin

Sand Martin

Sand Martin

Sand Martin

Sand Martin

We stopped off at Gulf Lane and a look in the set-aside field and found 12 Tree Sparrow, 4 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Skylark and 1 Kestrel. 

A very productive morning. Birding, ringing and even a few pictures!

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Saturday Blog.



Linda said...

Beautiful photos, Phil! And I just love the reflections in your first one!

Stuart Price said...

Our Sand Martins never do that!

Great Kingfisher pics too.......

Prunella Pepperpot said...

More beautiful birds. Love your images of the kingfisher, such a magical bird. The oystercatcher looks as though its pulled its trousers up and having a dip. Just needs a hankie on its head! Saying that a beautiful capture Phil.
Have a wonderful Wednesday and weekend :)

David Gascoigne said...

I am rooting for the young Oystercatcher and hope it does not fall victim to predators now that it has hatched. Life is difficult during the first few days for these young birds. Good session with the Sand Martins, Phil.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, love the cute Oystercatcher chick. Your Sand Martin are pretty birds and I love your colorful kingfisher. Great photos and post. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

Lowcarb team member said...

Some very pretty looking birds here, and wonderful colours too.

My good wishes for the weekend, hope your weather is good.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, wonderful collection of birds and images. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

Rajesh said...

Very beautiful birds.

Patrycja P. said...

Photos of Kingfisher are fantastic!

A Colorful World said...

Oystercatcher chick--how cute!!! Love the sand marten shots too. Great post.

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Excellent! I've never seen an oystercatcher chick. What a special treat for us. And the behaviors of birds is always so very interesting....wishing we had those beautiful kingfishers in OUR part of the world. I'd watch for the pellets any day! :o)

Even with the sun to your lens, the martin photos are superior Phil...I favor the 2nd one from the beginning in that series.

Thanks for linking in at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Very nice series of photos .. greetings

Lea said...

Amazing how colorful the Kingfisher is!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) I hope the little Oyster Catcher chick does well, they are so vulnerable at that stage in their lives. Lovely shots of the Sand Martins on the wire, in spite of the sun, and of the beautiful Kingfisher of course. I keep looking for them on our rivers but so far I have not been lucky enough to see them.
Best Regards.

Stewart M said...

This may be a record - but I have seen all of these birds this week! Although I only managed 1 Sand Martin!

Alpine Chough and Nutcracker today!

Cheers - Stewart M - Grindelwald, Switzerland

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A few pictures for sure! And a great day besides. So envious of your beautiful Kingfisher. Not only is he more colorful than ours, but also he poses beautifully as ours do not (but i expect that is because of the skills of the one photographer as compared to the other). Lovely day -- thanks for sharing it all.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Love all your photos but my favorite is the three of the kingfisher

Goutami News said...

Lovely birds.Have a nice day.

Bill Nicholls said...

Beautiful birds Phil, love the kingfisher & sand martin. I'm Kite flying this week

Handmade in Israel said...

That kingfisher is simply beautiful!

Samyuktha Jayaprakash said...


Daniela said...

I'm here for thanking you for the lovely comment you left on ~ My little old world ~ I sincerely appreciate it, and I've found such amazing, stunning shots of such charming birds, I so love your blog !

Here you've a new follower, new friend of mine !

Wishing you a most lovely remainder of your week

XOXO Daniela

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